Efron courted by two gay directors
If you missed this summer’s “Hairspray” or don’t have any children in your life to bombard you with “High School Musical” mania, then you probably still don’t know that Zac Efron is the hottest teen idol in America right now.
And he’s about to see his profile raised even past his niche demographic with three new projects. First, he’ll star in the screen-to-Broadway-to-screen-again musical version of “Footloose.”
After that, he’s being courted by two gay directors.
“Hairspray” helmer Adam Shankman wants to place Efron in “Seventeen,” a “Big”-like story of a 38-year-old man who becomes young again and goes to school with his own kids; and director Greg Berlanti is Zac-focused on his new feature “Bridge and Tunnel.”
With all this potential work on his plate, when will Efron find time to do “High School Musical 3?” Stay tuned.
“‘Titanic’ duo of Leo and Kate reunite on “‘Revolutionary Road’
It’s not like they’ve resisted the idea, but the “Titanic” duo of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet has yet to appear together again on screen. Until now.
Gay uber-producer Scott Rudin’s latest project, “Revolutionary Road,” based on Richard Yates’ novel, will reunite the pair as a mid-1950s married couple, struggling to raise their children, maintain their marriage and hold on to their sense of individuality against mid-century pressure to conform. (Think “squares” with beatnik souls.)
Co-starring unsinkable “Titanic” alum Kathy Bates and directed by Winslet’s husband, Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”), the film started shooting this summer. Look for a probable and Celine-Dion-song-free 2008 release.
Dolly takes “’9 to 5′ to Broadway
Although there are no firm production dates yet, Dolly Parton is moving full speed ahead on the Broadway musical version of her hit 1980 film, “9 to 5.”
The legendary country singer and gay icon is already hard at work writing songs for the show about three women struggling in an oppressive workplace, in which female employees make up most of the staff but don’t get to make the rules. Early readings steered by “Wicked” director Joe Mantello featured Allison Janney and Bebe Neuwirth in key roles, and Parton has told the press that she hopes to have the show ready for a Los Angeles workshop version in 2008 with an eye toward a 2009 Broadway opening. Can it be less than a smash with Dolly involved?
Pop stars team up for James Brown documentary
“Godfather of Soul” James Brown led an idiosyncratic and sometimes troubled life, and his death hasn’t diminished the public fascination with him.
Enter a new documentary, “Life on the Road with Mr. and Mrs. Brown,” featuring details about his controversial last marriage to Tomi Rae Hynie, in addition to the influence he’s had on the generations of musicians that have followed him.
Directed by Sheile Lussier and Camille Solari (who’ve previously worked together on something called “Hookers, Inc.”), the film boasts an impressive array of pop’s most successful names, assembled to speak about the hardest-working man in show business: Michael Jackson, Fergie, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, metal band Scorpions, and lesbian electro star Peaches round out the testimonials.
No word on whether this posthumous account will surface on big or small screens, but it’s sure to be funky.
‘Grey’s Anatomy’ actors appear in GLAAD public service ads
Four actors from “Grey’s Anatomy,” the ABC hit where Isaiah Washington was fired for anti-gay slurs, are featured in a new ad campaign preaching tolerance for gays and lesbians.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation on Tuesday, Sept. 4, released 25 new public service ads that it will encourage TV networks to air.
The ads feature celebrities talking about either the power of anti-gay words or the importance of accepting a gay or lesbian family member.
T.R. Knight, Sara Ramirez and Kate Walsh of “Grey’s Anatomy” all made ads. Alexandra Billings, a transgender actress who appeared in one episode of the medical drama, also participated. Washington wasn’t included, although he filmed a separate public service announcement for GLAAD that aired on ABC earlier this year. He was fired from the series after using an anti-gay slur backstage at the Golden Globe Awards in January while denying he had used the word earlier against Knight.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 7, 2007