Celebrity Watch

Posted on 28 Dec 2006 at 6:08pm



Michelle Rodriguez to “‘Battle in Seattle’

Michelle Rodriguez may be a “Lost” girl these days, but she’s certainly finding her way into very interesting company.

Not only is Rodriguez currently dating her “BloodRayne” co-star, lesbian sex symbol Kristanna Loken, but she’s also starring opposite Charlize Theron, Woody Harrelson, Andre Benjamin, Susan Sarandon, Ray Liotta, Joshua Jackson, Channing Tatum and Martin Henderson in “The Battle in Seattle,” about the city’s 1999 protests during the World Trade Organization conference.

Directed by Stuart Townsend Theron’s paramour, who played the omnisexual vampire Lestat in “Queen of the Damned” the film hopes to recapture one of recent history’s most vivid examples of civil disobedience, which brought together radicals of varying stripes and agendas.

Look for “Battle” to ruffle the right-wing noise machine when it storms theaters later in 2007.

Wainwright unleashes inner diva

Queer Canadian troubadour Rufus Wainwright appears to be giving the late James Brown some serious competition for that “hardest-working man in show business” title.

Coming off his critically acclaimed recreation of Judy Garland’s legendary Carnegie Hall performance and his tour with the “Wainwright Family and Friends Christmas” show, Wainwright has been commissioned by New York’s Metropolitan Opera to create an original work.

With a busy ’06 behind him, the singer will cloister himself away to compose “Prima Donna,” a day in the life of an opera singer. Look for the character to have more than a passing resemblance to old-school divas like Maria Callas, Beverly Sills and Regine Crispin. No promises as to when the opera will make its debut, but early estimates predict a 2008 unveiling.

Tomlin travels “‘Bad Road’ to TV

Lily Tomlin, one of the funniest people on earth, is making her way back to TV in the latest pilot from “Designing Women” creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason.

The Dallas-set “12 Miles of Bad Road” takes a comic look at a wealthy matriarchy and real-estate empire, so expect the jewelry, shoulder pads and especially the hair to be crazily enormous. Tomlin stars as Amelia Shakespeare, and the HBO show’s very talented cast includes funny dynamo Leslie Jordan, comedy veteran Mary Kay Place and “Deadwood” alums Kim Dickens and Sean Bridgers.

If Bloodworth-Thomason can do for Texas realtors (a plum target for satire if there ever was one) what she did for Atlanta interior designers, look for “Bad Road” set to debut sometime before the end of 2007 to be cable’s newest hit.

Baz goes back to “‘Australia’

It can’t be easy creating a follow-up to the extravaganza that was “Moulin Rouge,” but Australian filmmaker Luhrmann is giving it his best shot. The director who refuses to call himself “straight,” even though he’s married to a woman has announced plans for an epic starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, titled simply “Australia.”

The film stars Kidman as a British aristocrat who moves to the continent in the 1930s and falls for a restless native, Jackman. Their romance has to endure the Japanese bombing of Darwin during World War II.

“Australia” starts shooting in March after many delays the film was originally going to star Russell Crowe as Kidman’s leading man, but after he dropped out, the production was stuck in limbo until Jackman came aboard.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, December 29, 2006.

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