James Brown may have to move over it might very well be Alan Cumming who’s the hardest-working man in show business.
He’s on stage. He’s in films. He’s at the fragrance counter. He pops up on “The L Word.” And now he’s directing his first feature film since 2001’s “The Anniversary Party.”
The film in question, a black comedy called “Suffering Man’s Charity,” stars Cumming as an eccentric music teacher who takes in a younger writer he’s physically attracted to (David Boreanaz of “Angel”) in order to “help” him.
Boreanaz’s character begins dating a woman, jealousy rears its head and a fight with Cumming causes his accidental death.
What happens next is a supernatural romp into literary plagiarism, vengeful spirits and gay desire for a really hot ghost.
In post-production now and co-starring Jane Lynch, Karen Black, Carrie Fisher, Anne Heche and Henry Thomas, “Suffering” haunts screens sometime later this year or next.
Marlee Matlin signs on to “‘L Word’
She successfully took on William Hurt in “Children of a Lesser God” and walked away with the first Oscar ever awarded to a deaf actress.
Now Marlee Matlin is about to walk away with Jennifer Beals’ heart on episodes of next season’s “The L Word.”
Matlin has joined the cast of the steamy lesbian soap as a “fiery artist” who captures the attention of Beals’ art-world big-shot character. (Translation: they’re going to get it on in a major way.)
The evolving cast roster has kept the Showtime series a fresh, ratings-friendly presence, and so the addition of Matlin will be sure to continue that streak.
Meanwhile, it will be interesting to watch the otherwise self-absorbed characters take a crash course in American Sign Language.
Rosie’s views hit “‘The View’
Not long ago, Rosie O’Donnell was simply a guest on ABC’s female-centric talk show, “The View,” and she got into a verbal battle with her hosts mostly Star Jones over the Iraq war and her own anti-Bush political opinions.
It was a moment of brilliantly (f)uncomfortable television, and clearly someone high up the ladder at “The View” took notice.
Now O’Donnell, having successfully shed her role as the “Queen of Nice,” can get real when she joins “The View” as a host this September, replacing the departing Meredith Vieira. It should be quite a rambunctious group now that Joy Behar and Jones have taken to bickering on air.
Will Rosie tip the balance, or will she be a peacemaker? The only way to find out is to watch.
Barbara Bain gets “‘Trapped’ at Here
Barbara Bain has had a long career in front of the camera. She starred on “Mission: Impossible” in the 1960s, “Space: 1999” in the ’70s and even “The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island,” to name but three.
And the 75-year-old, three-time Emmy-winning actress’ latest credit is “Trapped” for Here, the gay cable network.
The TV movie stars Alexandra Paul (“Baywatch”), Nicolas Turturro (“NYPD Blue”) and Dennis Christopher (“Breaking Away”).
Bain appears as the mastermind behind the kidnapping of a lesbian Internet security expert (Paul) and her 16-year-old daughter, which makes her one of the bad guys who will inevitably get what’s coming to her by movie’s end.
But it’ll be fun to watch the veteran star in action again, no matter which side of decency she’s on.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 5, 2006.