300: The Battle of Artemisia, Cheyenne Jackson, Anna Paquin, Smurfs news
It’s abs ahoy for 300: The Battle of Artemisia
Remember when Sarah Silverman hosted the MTV Movie Awards and noted that the title 300 was the answer to the question, “How gay is this movie on a scale from one to ten?” Well, get ready for more sweaty Spartans and their digitally enhanced abs to grace the screen now that a sequel, 300: The Battle of Artemisia, has been set up at Warner Bros. Like its predecessor, this one’s based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller, although the name was changed from Xerxes since that title was no doubt judged too difficult to spell on Fandango. Xerxes was played by Rodrigo Santoro in 300 – although there’s no word yet as to whether or not he’ll reprise the role – and this sequel will chronicle that character’s rise to near god-like power. The studio was still nailing down a director at press time, so don’t expect The Battle of Artemisia to break out until 2013 at the earliest.
Everything’s gone Green for Cheyenne Jackson
Lest you think Cheyenne Jackson was going to spend his entire summer hiatus from 30 Rock waiting for the next crazy statement to come out of Tracy Morgan’s mouth, the Broadway star and Glee villain has a new indie drama making the gay film festival rounds during these hot months. The Green tells the story of a New York gay couple – schoolteacher Michael (Jason Butler Harner) and chef Daniel (Jackson) – who relocate to suburban Connecticut, only to discover how deeply the friendship and “tolerance” of their neighbors run when Michael is accused of inappropriate conduct with one of his students. With a strong supporting cast that include Julia Ormond (as Michael’s lesbian lawyer), Illeana Douglas, Karen Young, and Bill Sage, The Green seems poised to pick up a distribution deal following its run on the festival circuit, but you can take comfort in knowing that you’re cooler than other people if you see it at one of them first.
Patiently waiting for Anna Paquin
Anna Paquin’s career began with a bang when, for her first film role in the powerfully moving drama, The Piano, she became the second youngest person to receive an Academy Award. Now all grown up, the married, bisexual co-star of the steamy HBO series True Blood hasn’t lost her affinity for heavy-duty drama, it’s just that what might be her next great role has been sitting in the editing bay for over five years. It’s called Margaret and it’s a serious film from director Kenneth Lonergan (_You Can Count On Me_) about a teenager who believes she has been the cause of a fatal car accident and how her determination to find the truth causes damaging repercussions all around her. The film also stars Matt Damon and Mark Ruffalo and was due to be in theaters years ago, when Paquin was young enough to still play a teenager. Hopefully the final edits are coming soon and the currently tentative 2011 release date won’t roll into 2012.
Have no fear, Vanity Smurf is still here
Right around the corner lies The Smurfs, the 3D extravaganza that will finally transplant the little blue (and beloved-for-decades) cartoon creatures into the real human world, where they’ll find adventure as well as new friends in Neil Patrick Harris and Glee’s Jayma Mays. And gay adults with fond memories of the self-absorbed character of “Vanity Smurf” might be wondering what will become of that now-very-politically-incorrect little guy. See, Vanity was a male Smurf with a flower in his hat, narcissism in his soul and a distinctly gay aura. And while he’s listed in the cast – to be voiced by The Daily Show regular Jon Oliver – there’s no advance word on how the character’s old-fashioned, stereotypical personality traits will be dealt with in this latest Smurf tale. Safe bets are on the studio toning down the coded negatives, but to really find out how much you’ll just have to lay down your money put on those 3D glasses when August rolls around. Practice saying, “One for The Smurfs, please,” with a straight face if you need to.