Mo’Nique to star in film for ‘Noah’s Arc’ creator Patrik-Ian Polk

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Patrick-Ian Polk

Academy Award winners and career heat: they go together like peanut butter and jelly. Unless you’re Mo’Nique, of course. Then you hang back and chill until something you really want to do comes along.

It took awhile but she’ll make her next big-screen appearance in the new indie from gay filmmaker Patrik-Ian Polk (Noah’s Arc) titled Blackbird.  She’ll co-star alongside Isaiah Washington and executive produce the film, which is based on Larry Duplechan’s novel about a black teenage boy (newcomer Julian Walker) coming out as gay in the South and dealing with divorcing parents and a sister who disappears. Due for a 2014 release after finishing production in Mississippi, look for this one to find its way to an arthouse (or VOD platform) near you sooner rather than later.

In other news: Remember that Richard Pryor movie that was supposed to happen with Eddie Murphy and director Bill Condon (Dreamgirls, The Fifth Estate)? It’s not happening anymore. That’s Hollywood. Oh, wait, now it might be happening again, just not with either of those guys. But the director may still be gay. Now talks with Lee Daniels (The Butler) have begun and, while Murphy is still being considered for the role, so are younger actors like Marlon Wayans and Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station, the upcoming That Awkward Moment). Though Pryor died in his 60s, the biopic will cover the groundbreaking comic during his 30s, which would make a Wayans or Jordan choice more appropriate. And no matter what happens, don’t hold your breath for this one. It’ll probably happen eventually. 

The Ten Commandments: who doesn’t love those tips for living? All that shalt not murdering and avoiding covetousness and quitting doing it with your neighbor’s wife — they’re very popular. And now they’re going to be a miniseries from The Weinstein Company on WGN America. The 10-part scripted series will employ a variety of filmmakers to tackle each golden rule, people like Michael Cera, Jim Sheridan (Dream House) and Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street). Acclaimed gay directors Lee Daniels and Gus Van Sant (Milk) are also on board, putting their own contemporary (and maybe queer?) spin on the material. There’s no casting news yet but it could turn into a major ensemble event if everything comes together. One problem, though: If they include the one about graven images, doesn’t that make turning it into a film sort of automatically sinful? Oh well, can’t win them all, can you?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Pink Martini’s gay bandleader Thomas Lauderdale commits to Sunday’s outdoor show rain or shine

Before Sunday’s concert at Annette Strauss Park, Pink Martini’s gay bandleader Thomas Lauderdale discussed just why the eclectic jazz outfit as been so productive lately. With four releases in the last three years, the band has churned out material faster than in their early days.

Lauderdale also says that with Dallas’ random weather lately, Pink Martini is set to deliver on Sunday whether there’s a crowd or not proving the band’s commitment to spread its distinct sound that delves into foreign lands and classic movies.

Read my conversation with Lauderdale after the jump. Pink Martini performs at Annette Strauss Square at the Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora St. 8 p.m. $45–$65. ATTPAC.org.

—  Rich Lopez

‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’ targets the gay community … even though its Mormon creator favors anti-gay author

Two things — well, three really — about the new Twilight Saga entry, Eclipse. First, my review will be in the paper this week, so look for it. That’s kinda the third thing.

Second, when perusing the press site for the film, I came upon these two photos. Look carefully at Taylor; now look at Robert; they are actually the same picture, taken from a scene from the film. The only difference — other than the fact that, once you look closely, you can see how it was Photoshopped — is that in one, the girl is missing. Now, she’s in the scene in the movie. So the question is, why was she removed from the photo?

And the answer, according to one person in my office, is clearly: To appeal to the gay community.

Certainly it is convenient for the studio to streamline all the beefcake in one two-shot and omit the woman — which, when I think about it, is probably the only reason most girls go to see these films. (Who likes Bella, anyway?) But I think gay guys want it all conveniently tied up without female distractions, too. And the producers know it.

They also seem to know it insofar as the two directors in competition to helm the adaptations of the last book in the series were gays Gus Van Sant and Bill Condon (Condon got it). But deep down, it’s hard not to feel exploited by the creator.

Which brings us to point No. 3: The author of the books, Stephenie Meyer, is a devout Mormon who had never written so much as a letter to the editor before she became fabulously wealthy with her Twilight series. Some have analyzed the books through the prism of the LDS church, noting the virginal heroine and Edward’s insistence on marriage are conservative religious principals. Meyer has denied it.

What she hasn’t denied is being a fan of Mormon sci-fi author Orson Scott Card. Card is a virulently anti-gay bigot (which, if you saw the documentary 8: The Mormon Proposition, is par for the course for that cult). Last year, he joined the board of the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage and has said no one can claim to be gay and a Mormon.

Now, I see these movies for free as part of my job (plus I have a well-documented crush on Taylor Lautner). But it makes you wonder: Does Meyer agree with Card’s view on homosexuality? Does she have as much contempt for her gay fans as Card seems to?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Who will direct the next 'Twilight' movie? Why not me?

Lautner

Many film series keep their tone, and their success, by hiring the same directors for multiple installments. It makes sense: The directors know the process, know the actors, know the plot and characters. It is efficient. Spielberg has helmed all four Indiana Jones movies; Terence Young did three of the first four Bond films; Chris Columbus launched the first two installments in the Harry Potter series, and now David Yates is finishing up the last four.

Not Twilight.

Four movies — five if they end of breaking the final film into a two-parter — and four different directors, it’s looking like: Catherine Hardwicke, Chris Weitz, David Slade (for the upcoming Eclipse) and … well, that’s the question. None of the prior three can be called “acclaimed hitmakers” … at least not at the same time. Hardwicke made the indie Thirteen; Weitz directed About a Boy… but also The Golden Compass (a film series that never was, nor should be); Slade’s best known film is about vampires in the arctic.

Worst yet, none of them are gay.

See, Twilight needs to be directed by a gay man. Personally, I think the films are MISERABLE, AWFUL affairs, but I watch them because of *sigh* Taylor Lautner. My preoccupation with him is no secret. But don’t translate that into appreciation for these movies.

Well, maybe the producers are finally on to something. Word has it that two gay male directors — both of whom have actual Oscar cred — have been approached for the final film (or films): Gus Van Sant (Oscar nominee for Milk and Good Will Hunting) and Bill Condon (director of Dreamgirls, Oscar winner for writing Gods & Monsters). Also in the mix is honorary gay man Sofia Coppola who (gag!) also has an Oscar.

This is a good start. But it’s not necessary. Since the movies are shitty anyway, why spend that kind of dough on A-listers? You haven’t so far. Give it to me. I haven’t read the books, meaning I haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid. I know what’s wrong with the movies, so I’ll steer clear. I know how to make Taylor Lautner *sigh* look hot. And I’ll work cheap … like, if you let me share a trailer with one of the now-18-or-over stars who shall remain nameless (and shirtless). Why go classy now?

I’m sure I can work something out with my boss. You have my number.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones