Celebrity Watch

Posted on 13 Jul 2006 at 3:44pm

“‘Dead Man’s Chest’ sets record at box office


Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp is a cash cow for Disney. “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” raked in a record $132 million in its first three days. The sequel to the 2003 original, which also starred Depp, sailed past the previous all-time best debut, 2002′s “Spider-Man,” which took in $114.8 million in its first weekend.

But “Dead Man’s Chest” also did nearly three times the business of its predecessor, “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” which took in $46.6 million over opening weekend.

Meanwhile, “The Devil Wears Prada” came in with $15.6 million over the weekend. Meryl’s still going strong.

And while American audiences lined up to seek “Pirates,” Chinese movie fans will have to scramble to get, as it were, pirated DVDs. Chinese censors banned the movie. Apparently they couldn’t handle the scenes of cannibalism. What, don’t they work for the Chinese government?

Schneider makes it “‘Big’

Hyperactive funnyman Rob Schneider gets the benefit of the doubt about his latest project, “Deuce Bigelow: European Gigolo,” but it’s a bit of a challenge. In any event, the “Saturday Night Live” grad plans to make his directorial debut with the comedy “Big Stan.”

The premise is that 98-pound weakling Schneider is a con man who’s headed to the pokey. He hires a mysterious martial-arts guru to teach him self-defense so he can fend off inmates with sodomy on their minds.

No, really, that’s the plot. The cast includes David Carradine, who underwent similar training on TV’s “Kung Fu” (without the homosexual panic). “Big Stan” is set for 2007, so we’ll have to wait until then to see if Schneider becomes man-bait behind bars or not.

McClanahan gets a “‘Life’

With “Golden Girls” reruns still going strong on TV and DVD, the saucy Rue McClanahan remains a constant presence in many a gay life. Now she’s upping her queer cred with a lead role in “Ryan’s Life,” a new TV series for the all-gay-all-the-time cable network Here.

The show, which will debut next year, follows the adventures of teenager Ryan, who realizes he’s gay and starts pouring his heart out to his digital camera in a series of video diaries. McClanahan will play Ryan’s grandmother, and, in the words of the “Golden Girls” theme, “a pal and a confidant.”

The ever-busy McClanahan will also be burning up the big screen in the costume drama “The Other Boleyn Girl” opposite Natalie Portman and Eric Bana.

Who knew there was life after Bea Arthur?

Amanda Lepore’s reality

Amanda Lepore, New York City nightlife fixture and tourist photo-op target, has done a lot of living. But what is there left to do after you’ve worked with Patricia Field, been the muse to photographer David LaChapelle, had your face on Mont Blanc shopping bags, and ridden in a sparkling martini glass in the West Hollywood gay pride parade wearing nothing but pasties and a smile?

For transgender diva extraordinaire Lepore don’t ever call her a drag queen the next stop is her own reality show. Lepore has signed with Classic Entertainment Group to bring her life of glamour, celebrity, and hormones to the small screen on “Amanda Cross Country.” And the world is going to be a better place for it.

Indie filmmaker is “‘Sun Kissed’

A new romantic drama making the gay and lesbian film festival rounds is “Sun Kissed,” the latest feature from Patrick McGuinn, son of rocker Roger McGuinn, the founder of The Byrds.

“Sun Kissed” tells the story of a young would-be novelist (John Ort) who seduces the caretaker (Gregory Marcel) of his desert house, only to discover the caretaker has a past more secret and mysterious than his employer could have imagined.

McGuinn studied production at NYU and worked on PBS documentaries before branching out into independent film making. Look for the sexy “Sun Kissed” at a festival near you, with general theatrical distribution sure to follow soon.

Shimizu an official lesbian icon

After the announcement of her inclusion in POWER UP’s 2006 “Amazing Gay Women in Showbiz,” model and actress Jenny Shimizu is being honored yet again. The Philadelphia Film Society announced Shimizu will receive the Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival’s first Lesbian Icon Award.

Sure, we all know she snagged Angelina Jolie, but, truth is, Jenny was unapologetically out of the closet back in the mid-’90s when lesbianism wasn’t as glam as it is now, and she never used her sexuality as a gimmick.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, July 14, 2006.

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