Sarah Jessica Parker thinks “‘Smart’
Anyone unfamiliar with the modern phenomenon that is gay male worship of Sarah Jessica Parker need only check out the queer blogs’ frenzied chatter about the impending “Sex and the City” movie or the squealing, tear-filled reception the actor received when she popped in unexpectedly as guest judge on Bravo’s “Project Runway.”

It’s safe to say that her comings and goings are must-see media events for lots of gay guys. And her fans will have more reasons to squeal when she stars in another upcoming feature, “Smart People.”

Due to premiere at January’s Sundance Film Festival, the film stars Dennis Quaid as a widowed professor who finds new love with Parker and reunites with an adopted brother, played by Thomas Haden Church (“Sideways”). Ellen Page (“Juno”) co-stars as Quaid’s daughter.
Smart Parker fans won’t have long to wait for the 2008 release.

Dan Butler moves to “‘Chronic Town’
Dan Butler was always a welcome sight on episodes of “Frasier.”

The gay actor came out professionally back in the 1990s when it was still an iffy career move. That he played it super-straight as “Bulldog” on that show was an even cooler move.

Since “Frasier,” the actor’s been seen in guest spots on other shows (“House,” “Monk”), but will renegotiate his image in the dark indie comedy “Chronic Town.”

Reported to be a character study (with a title appropriated from an R.E.M. album) about a lonely cab driver in Fairbanks, Alaska, the film features Butler in a supporting role as a character named Blow Job. What this all means, exactly, is anyone’s guess, but it certainly can’t make a guy’s life easy to have that name on his driver’s license.

The film debuts at Sundance in January with a theatrical release to follow.

Bruce La Bruce sees “‘Dead People’
Look up “iconoclast” in the dictionary and you might just find a photo of bad-boy Canadian director Bruce La Bruce.
Coming along at the time of the rise of the so-called “New Queer Cinema” in the early 1990s, La Bruce was considered an outsider even from that movement.

His hilarious and deliberately raw, profane films (“Super 8 1⁄2,” “Hustler White,” “Raspberry Reich”) guaranteed him notoriety and gave film geeks plenty to discuss, but also placed him squarely outside the mainstream.

That’s a place he seems to revel in as he moves back and forth between art films and gay pornography, often overlapping the two genres.

The evidence? His latest project, “Otto: Up With Dead People,” is about a gay zombie roaming the land of the living in search of love.

No word on how explicitly sexual this one will be, but “very” seems a likely possibility.

“‘Shades’ of Rex Lee
As Lloyd, Jeremy Piven’s assistant on “Entourage,” gay actor Rex Lee has carved out a hilarious niche for himself.
His character stuck around and gained a higher profile thanks to Lee’s wicked comic timing and popularity with fans.

Soon, though, he’ll jump from the small to the big screen, appearing in the independent feature “Shades of Ray.”
A seriocomic romance, “Shades” stars “Chuck” main man Zachary Levi as Ray, a mixed-race, American-born son of a Pakistani father and Caucasian mother. As his parents separate and his father moves in with him, Ray must deal with his own romantic and racial issues.

Sounds heartfelt and sincere, but we’re guessing that Lee’s job will be to pop up from time to time with just the right punch line for an awkward moment. As HBO audiences know, he’s an expert at that.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 21, 2007.

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