Zellweger produces Lifetime’s ‘Living Proof’

Renee Zellweger

Renee Zellweger’s working relationship with her gay "Chicago" producers, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, is back in action.

The A-list star will join the successful team as an executive producer of the Lifetime original movie "Living Proof." The film, based on the book by NBC medical correspondent Robert Bazell, will star Harry Connick Jr. as Dr. Denny Slamon.

Slamon is the UCLA physician that developed the breast cancer drug Herceptin 2, and worked against time and sometimes medical-world bureaucracy to keep clinical trials on track.

The film will shoot in New Orleans and air in October as part of Lifetime’s annual "Stop Breast Cancer for Life" awareness programming campaign.

Producer Zellweger will not appear in "Proof," but will star with Connick in the upcoming movie "Chilled in Miami."

‘The Color Purple’ refuses to fade
Leave it to Oprah to one-up the competition.

While "Hairspray" began life as a movie with music, became a Broadway musical and finally returned to the big screen, "The Color Purple" is set to experience a "fourth" incarnation.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning, lesbian-themed novel by Alice Walker turned into an Oscar-nominated Steven Spielberg movie and wound up on Broadway — produced by Winfrey — as a musical. And now it’s on track to return to the screen starring the stage’s most beloved "Celie," Fantasia Barrino.

The film is on hold while Barrino works on her next CD of original music, so no due date yet.

And while she’ll be the fourth "American Idol" veteran to star in a movie musical (who can forget "From Justin To Kelly"?), if Fantasia’s Broadway reviews are any indicator, she may well be the next one to win an Academy Award.

A ‘Desert Hearts’ valentine
These kids today, they just don’t know.

Time was, there simply weren’t movies where queer characters didn’t die, go crazy, or return to opposite-sex relationships before the final credits.

And that’s why 1985’s "Desert Hearts," a lesbian drama where the romance was hot and happy, was so groundbreaking.

Fans — and there are many, including rebellious critic Camille Paglia — will now have more cause to celebrate with the release of "Desert Hearts Mon Amour," a documentary about the wide-reaching impact and influence of the film.

Featuring director Donna Deitch, stars Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau, as well as people like Michelle Clunie from "Queer as Folk" and Daniela Shea from "The L Word," the movie is still in production. But keep an eye out for its arrival on the queer film-fest circuit before too long.

Dawn Denbo: Detective
After ferociously tearing up the insular circle of gal pals on "The L Word" last season as the mean-spirited Dawn Denbo, it was only a matter of time before someone with the power to make a development deal took notice of lesbian actor Elizabeth Keener and her darkly funny work.

And that’s what happened at the Here cable network, where the sister of Oscar-nominated Catherine Keener is poised to star in her own series.

Keener will play a lesbian FBI agent sent on an undercover assignment in a small town — where she’ll have to deal with the case, the town’s strange citizenry and her own personal life — in what’s being called (since it’s still untitled) a cross between "Silence of the Lambs" and "Twin Peaks." Probably minus all that coffee and cherry pie.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 9, 2008.

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