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?