Lee: Film not meant as social commentary
His work on “Brokeback Mountain”‘ won best director honors for Ang Lee making him the first Asian winner of the prize as well as best musical score and best adapted screenplay March 5 at the Academy Awards. But the film lost the best-picture award to “Crash,”‘ despite having racked up several other major film awards.
The upset prompted speculation that the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wasn’t prepared to hand its top prize to a movie about gays.
But Lee said he never intended the movie to be a social statement about gays.
“”‘For me, “‘Brokeback’ isn’t rebellious at all. It’s a very ordinary movie,” Lee said at a press conference for Chinese media held in Los Angeles earlier this week. “People call it groundbreaking or what not. It puts a lot of pressure on me. But I didn’t feel this way when I was making the movie.”
The press conference aired Wednesday on Hong Kong television
“This is the way gays are. It’s just that they have been distorted. When two people are in love and are scared, that’s the way they are,” he said.
A not so “‘Itty Bitty’ lesbian movie
Power Up, the nonprofit group that supports lesbians in the entertainment industry, is producing a feature comedy, “The Itty Bitty Titty Committee,” with a team of lesbians on both sides of the camera.
The story revolves around a teenage girl (Melonie Diaz from “Lords of Dogtown”) who undergoes a life-changing transformation when she leaves behind her all-American girl image and joins a radical feminist group called yes The Itty Bitty Titty Committee.
The movie will be directed by lesbian filmmaker Jamie Babbit (“But I’m a Cheerleader”) and will feature out actors Guinevere Turner (“Go Fish”), Jane Lynch (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin”), and Tammy Lynn Michaels.
Lesbian favorite Clea DuVall (“Carnivale”) and former “thirtysomething” star-turned-director Melanie Mayron will also appear. Look for the full-figured film in 2007.
Rapp reels in role
Anthony Rapp is leaving “Rent” behind him.
Since the film adaptation of the hit musical arrived in theaters and his memoir, “Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical “‘Rent,’” hit bookstores, the openly gay actor has been riding a career high of visibility. But his latest project is song-free a three-person-cast dramatic feature called “‘Scaring the Fish.’
Directed by Todd Miller and adapted from the stage play of the same name, the plot concerns two office workers arriving at a secluded mountain lake to take part in a company fishing trip. When only one other person shows up, paranoia, job anxiety and suspicion lead to confrontations among the three men.
In post-production now, the film is due in theaters sometime within the next 525,600 minutes.
JT LeRoy’s “‘Deceitful’ story
The film version of JT LeRoy’s collection of short stories, “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things,” is just hitting theaters.
But something else hit the fan recently when it was discovered and exposed that author LeRoy a young, sexually abused, HIV-positive, transgendered former prostitute doesn’t really exist, but is, in fact, a 40-year-old woman named Laura Albert.
And now Albert’s astonishing literary hoax will be a film all its own.
The Weinstein Company will produce the feature. Jesse Peretz (“The Chateau”) is set to direct, and a script is in the works.
No casting news yet, but how about Winona Ryder a former confidante of “LeRoy” who was fooled by the hoax herself as Albert?
Travolta and Latifah sing out
It’s not chills he’ll have multiplying, but rather chins, as John Travolta steps into the plus-sized frocks and dancing pumps of Edna Turnblad for the film version of the musical “Hairspray.”
The singing actor actively lobbied for the part of the loving mother made famous by both Divine and Harvey Fierstein, and he’ll put on a fat suit for gay director Adam Shankman’s film adaptation.
Meanwhile, Queen Latifah has also joined the cast as Motormouth Maybelle.
The movie is in pre-production, and a casting search is on to find a “fresh face” to play the lead of Tracy Turnblad. Ricki Lake and Marissa Jaret Winokur each took star-making turns as the jubilant dancing Baltimore teenager, and now it’s a new young girl’s chance to be chosen.
Then the beat can go on.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, March 10, 2006.