Lee Daniels eyes Bradley Cooper
What movie will Lee Daniels (Precious) make next? It seems like he has a new potential project every few weeks. Will it be Selma like we keep hearing? The Butler? That remake of Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria? Well, the answer is maybe “none of the above” if The Paperboy happens. Based on Pete Dexter’s 1995 novel, it’s a crime thriller about two brothers pulled into the investigation of a rural sheriff’s murder and it’s set to star I Am Number Four’s hot young thing Alex Pettyfer. Word is that Daniels is already reading actors for roles and has made offers to both Bradley Cooper to play Pettyfer’s older brother and to Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara. Of course, what Precious fans want to know is if there’s a part for Gabourey Sidibe in all this, because given the fleeting nature of deals and shelved projects, literally anything can still happen at this point. So stay tuned for further speculation.
Griffin’s Gleeful Tea Party
It wouldn’t be a proper week of entertainment news if the Glee PR machine didn’t have some kind of announcement. And this week’s flash is the addition of a new right-wing character to the cast. A Tea Party-loving, homeschooling, Sarah Palin type. Played by Kathy Griffin. Now, contrast that casting announcement with creator Ryan Murphy’s stated intention to make this character part of the show’s inclusive vibe. Does anyone think it’s possible to have it both ways? Will it ride the outside edge of insulting, like the way Ashley Fink’s character Lauren Zizes gets to be powerful and the butt of fat jokes? Will the show simply abandon the character and her story lines when the next sensational musical guest star comes along? Can politically outspoken Kathy Griffin play a sympathetic right-winger without smirking? And, more to the point, how long before Sarah Palin takes to the Internet with a video explaining how offended she is?
Tilda’s Thai debut?
That tiny sound you just barely heard was the collective swoon and sigh of art film fans who very much want the following project to hurry up and become real: hyper-acclaimed gay Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, whose latest film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and is currently in a handful of U.S. arthouse cinemas, is working on his next film, Mekong Hotel. And it looks like it might star Queen of Everything Cool, Tilda Swinton. What’s it about? The director says it will “address the relationship between man and water, the catastrophic flooding which is blamed on Chinese dams and diseases spread by industrial-scale pig farming.” Of course, if that’s the case then expect those themes to be dealt with obliquely; Weerasethakul is infamous for plotlines that feel baffling right down to the closing credits. But who cares, really, because if Swinton winds up taking part it’ll get the visionary director seen by even more sets of confused eyes. And in the movie business that’s how you win.
Lesbian directors are all right
Everything’s coming up deals for two lesbian directors. One of them is hot off an Oscar-nominated success story. The other one brushed up against Academy Award acclaim a few years ago. And both of them have high profile projects lined up. Lisa Cholodenko, whose The Kids Are All Right is the movie to beat in the Best Actress race, is taking on the film adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s novel The Abstinence Teacher. In the same vein as Perrotta’s earlier stories, Election and Little Children, it will mine anxiety in suburbia when a New Jersey sex education teacher has to battle local conservative forces that would seek to silence her curriculum. Meanwhile, tough-minded Boys Don’t Cry filmmaker Kimberly Peirce has set up The Knife at Universal, a true crime drama about an L.A. gang member-turned-FBI-informant whose life is in constant danger. No casts or start dates for either of these projects, but details are sure to come soon enough.