T.R. Knight, Elton John, Glee, 'Toast'
T.R. Knight heads back To TV
It’s been about two years since Grey’s Anatomy star T.R. Knight quit that show amidst conflict with fellow actor Isaiah Washington. And he’s kept busy in the theater world in the meantime, including taking a starring role in the 2010 Broadway show A Life In The Theatre opposite Patrick Stewart. But Hollywood called again, so now he’s coming back to work in front of the cameras on an upcoming episode of Law & Order: SVU. The episode in question – currently in production – finds Knight playing a suspected serial rapist, so that’s an interesting out-of-the-box step for the actor, a role worlds away from the nice-guy character he portrayed on Grey’s. Maybe he can parlay it into meaty villain roles and become the next Joan Collins. There’s no airdate for the SVU episode just yet, so keep a close watch on your DVR.
Elton John’s ditches gnomes for trolls
Elton John’s movie producing arm, Rocket Pictures, scored a solid hit with this spring’s Gnomeo & Juliet, an animated reworking of Romeo and Juliet featuring talking, singing garden gnomes. Filled to the brim with John’s classic hit singles, the film made almost $200 million worldwide. And because it’s a short leap from gnomes to trolls, that’s where Rocket’s going next. Will Gallows and the Snake-Bellied Troll, a live-action/CGI-animated feature based on the first in a series of kid-aimed books by author Derek Keilty, is already in production with Gnomeo’s writer/director Kelly Asbury. The story combines elements of Wild West cowboy adventure and, well, trolls from a fantasy universe. There’s no voice cast set up just yet, but it’s safe to expect that John will contribute in some way to the film’s score. No gay troll jokes please.
Glee’s Jonathan Groff and True Blood’s Rutina Wesley join The Submission
When a gay white male playwright poses as an African-American female in order to pen a story about an alcoholic black mother, only to be discovered in that lie, the consequences aren’t going to be the stuff of fluffy musical theater. So when the non-musical drama The Submission opens Off Broadway this fall, audiences can expect to see a side of Jonathan Groff (_Spring Awakening_/_Glee_) they might not have experienced before. The Tony nominee will be joined by True Blood star Rutina Wesley (as a woman who becomes involved in Groff’s hoax) as well as by Eddie Kaye Thomas (_American Pie_) as Groff’s boyfriend, with directing duties handled by Tony winner Walter Bobbie (_Venus In Fur_/_Chicago_) So if you’re planning a New York theater trip this fall, put it at the top of your to-see list; serious drama – especially serious drama about touchy issues like race – never sticks around as long as the ones with catchy songs and cat costumes.
Coming soon: a Weekend of Toast
Pity the gay-themed indie film. Usually relegated to a limited release for an equally limited audience in the urban arthouse movie market, it can be tough to find a box-office foothold when Hollywood stuffs multiplexes with 3,000 prints of the new Adam Sandler movie. But two autumn releases might have more life up their sleeve than the usual suspects. September sees the release of the critically acclaimed U.K. film Weekend, from director Andrew Haigh. It’s been winning film festival awards all year and gathering praise from both audiences and critics, a rarity for low-budget romantic dramas with gay subject matter. And another Brit import, Toast, already aired on BBC1 but getting an October theatrical release stateside, is a nostalgic dramedy about the boyhood of best-selling gay food writer Nigel Slater. Starring Freddie Highmore (_ Neverland_) and Helena Bonham Carter (_The King’s Speech_) and penned by Billy Elliot screenwriter Lee Hall, Toast has _Elliot_-style crowd-pleaser written all over it and the credentials to score with Oscar voters, too. Now all it has to do is leave a good taste in audiences’ mouths.