Amandla Stenberg enters the ‘Star Wars’ universe in ‘The Acolyte’
Among the new generation of LGBTQ+ Hollywood, Amandla Stenberg stands out. They’ve already made their mark on films like “The Hate U Give” and this summer’s “Bodies Bodies Bodies,” and used their platform for activism, but now the queer actor will make the leap into space. Stenberg will play the lead role in the upcoming “Star Wars” television series, “The Acolyte.” Filmmaker Leslye Headland (“Sleeping with Other People”), who also co-created the Netflix hit “Russian Doll,” will be showrunner and the first queer woman in that position on a “Star Wars” project. There’s very little information at the moment, but “Acolyte” will take place hundreds of years before the events seen in the 1999 film “Star Wars, Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace,” and involve those wicked Siths making trouble. Production begins this year, so look for Stenberg to light saber the heck out of some galactic villains in 2023.
Trace Lysette and Patricia Clarkson hit Venice International Film Festival with ‘Monica’
The Venice International Film Festival will host the world premiere of “Monica,” the latest film from Italian writer-director Andrea Pallaoro. Pallaoro shares screenwriting credit with frequent collaborator Orlando Tirado and the film stars transgender actress Trace Lysette (“Transparent”) in the title role, her first lead in a feature. “Monica” is the story of a woman returning home after years away, in order to care for her sick mother (Patricia Clarkson), and in the process she confronts the world she left behind and reconnects with the rest of her family as they deal with the fallout of rejection and the possibilities of forgiveness. Co-starring Emily Browning (“American Gods”), Joshua Close (“Fargo”) and Adriana Barraza (“Babel”), expect to see it making appearances at more festivals and then a screen near you later this year.
Sarah Paulson is giving you ‘Dust’
Sarah Paulson, the hardest working lesbian in Hollywood, has a couple of high-profile projects coming our lucky way. She’s already signed on to play author Glennon Doyle in the filmed adaptation of her most recent memoir, “Untamed.” A coming out story and meditation on contemporary female empowerment, the TV project comes from J.J. Abrams’ production company. Doyle reached out to Paulson personally to request that she play her and Paulson agreed. And just announced, Paulson will step into the lead role in the Searchlight Pictures’ thriller “Dust.” It’s about a woman who has to protect her family from increasingly violent dust storms (!), which seem to be connected to threatening events in her own past. Both are currently in production, so 2023 is looking like the year of even more SP.
The homophobes might not be ready for season 2 of ‘Chucky’
If you’re queer, it’s the law that you love Chucky, the murderous doll that first appeared in the 1988 film “Child’s Play” – look, people make up arbitrary laws all the time, it’s our turn – and the killer toy’s gay creator, Don Mancini, is determined to bring even more queer representation to the second season of the hit Syfy series “Chucky.” Coming up, gay teen Jake (Zackary Arthur) and his boyfriend Devon (Björgvin Arnarson) continue to run afoul of the tiny serial killer; Chucky’s bride Tiffany (Jennifer Tilly) and their nonbinary child Glen/Glenda (Lachlan Watson) are in the mix; and the cast is expanding to include Jennifer Tilly’s sister Meg, as well as “Showgirls”/“Bound” legend Gina Gershon. Plots are more or less under wraps, but there will be mayhem, murder and irreverent comedy, because without those things it wouldn’t be the wonderful world of Chucky. Your October just got amazing. Bring your own Halloween candy.
Romeo San Vicente is already stocking up on full-size candy bars that will not be shared.
Photo by KathClick