Frodo and friends from ‘The Lord of the Rings’

Dumbledore may be the gay wizard of the moment, but any "Lord of the Rings" fan knows that Ian McKellen’s Gandalf is the real O.G. (original gay, that is) wizard.
And if McKellen himself has anything to say about it, then he’ll return to the role in the upcoming two planned film versions of J.R.R. Tolkien’s "The Hobbit."

"Rings" trilogy director Peter Jackson will executive produce the "Hobbit" series, and both he and McKellen are eager to see the beloved Brit put that robe back on.

McKellen has yet to ink any deals — in fact, there have been no official casting decisions made. But with McKellen having been Oscar-nominated for the role, anyone else grabbing Gandalf’s staff would just be wrong.

Beals and Kline, with subtitles
"The L Word" may be ending after its upcoming 2009 season, but Jennifer Beals has been using the show’s career-rejuvenating effects to do interesting non-TV work — like movies in French.

The soon-to-be-erstwhile Bette Porter will star with Kevin Kline and Sandrine Bonnaire in "Joueuse (Queen to Play)" from director Caroline Bottaro, based on Bertina Henrich’s novel "The Chess Player."

Gallic star Bonnaire plays a hotel maid fascinated by a chess-playing couple (Beals and French actor Francis Renaud).

She then enlists the help of Kline to mentor her in the art of the game.

Kline’s role will be entirely in French, which has already prompted amusing quotes from producer Michel Feller, such as, “[Kline] speaks good French, better than John Malkovich.”

Bilingual audiences can judge for themselves when the film reaches theaters, most likely in 2009.

Simon Doonan’s ‘Nasty’ sitcom
His day job is designing the eye-popping windows at upscale department store Barneys.

But Simon Doonan, in addition to popping up on shows like "America’s Next Top Model," has also authored several books, including the memoir "Nasty," which detailed his working-class upbringing in England.

And now the New York-based Doonan will see his life come to the small screen on the BBC sitcom "Beautiful People."

Doonan is interested in playing his own grandmother, and is reportedly hoping that Linda Hunt will play him.

It’s not a farfetched wish: the actress famously won an Oscar in 1983 for her portrayal of a male Chinese-Australian little person in "The Year of Living Dangerously," so playing the 5-foot-4-inch Doonan wouldn’t be much of a stretch, so to speak.

And as always with UK programming like this, start petitioning BBC America now with your requests that the show air on this side of the pond.

‘Young People’ coming soon
Want people to pay attention to your indie film?

Then title it "Young People Fucking" and just sit back.

But this isn’t porn. It’s a Canadian comedy that could have been titled "Four Couples and a Threeway," with five separate but thematically intertwined stories about five different sexual encounters all taking place in the course of one night.

Its young cast features up-and-comer Callum Blue ("Dead Like Me," "The Tudors") as a playboy with a past.

The debut feature from Martin Gero has already come under fire in Canada thanks to religious protesters angry that the film received a government tax break.

Look for indie distributor ThinkFilm to release the movie in an art-house theater near — or maybe not so near — you in the coming year, regardless of whatever conservative anti-sex backlash awaits.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 4, 2008.

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