Deep Inside Queer Hollywood

By Romeo San Vicente

Photo: Toronto Film Festival (Elliot Page)

‘A Simple Favor 2’ ramps up the queerness

“A Simple Favor” came out of nowhere in 2018, a black comedy crime thriller starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively and Henry Golding serving fashion and ferocious plot twists. Did you love it? Yes, you did. And you’ll be pleased to know that director Paul Feig has a sequel in the works and that this second time around boasts more queer actors in the cast. Andrew Rannells will reprise his role from the earlier film, and joining the LGBTQ+  roster is Alex Newell — “Glee” alum, co-star of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” and first non-binary actor to win a Tony Award in an acting category (for “Shucked”) — and Kelly McCormack, known to fans of “Letterkenny” and “A League of Their Own.” As for the plot, well, that’s under wraps. You can’t very well deliver a crime thriller if all the thriller-ish parts are known in advance. And if you somehow missed its predecessor, drop what you’re doing right now and go experience entertainment.

LOS ANGELES – FEB 06: Ariana DeBose Ariana DeBose arrives for The Way Back World Premiere on February 06, 2020 in West Hollywood, CA

‘With Love’ unites Ariana DeBose and Ke Huy Quan

Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”) and Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All At Once”), both Oscar winners, are teaming up for a movie. It’s called “With Love” and in spite of that rom-com-style title it’s an action movie, to be directed by veteran stunt pro Jonathan Eusebio, making his feature debut in the captain’s chair. This will also be Ke Huy Quan’s first starring role since his Academy Award win, and the only other listed cast member at this moment is Daniel Wu, who co-stars on the Disney+ series “American Born Chinese.” Plot, you ask? Don’t ask, they’re not telling. Its distributor is Universal, which normally wouldn’t matter, but it’s a studio that’s taking the lead these days among the majors for aiming films at mainstream audiences who’re interested in more than the latest Marvel/DC event. That’s encouraging. Filming right now in Canada, look for this not-romantic(?) action movie with “love” in its title for a release date near Valentine’s Day 2025.

The documentary that will teach you about Peaches

If the expression “the teaches of Peaches” means nothing to you then you missed the everywhere-at-once “electroclash” anthem of the early 2000s called “F—The Pain Away” from queer legend Peaches. The Canadian artist also known as Merrill Nisker has been making sexy, rough-around-the-edges body music for over 20 years now and that means it’s time for a little mid-career retrospective in the form a documentary called “Teaches of Peaches.” It dropped at the Berlinale Film Festival in February and covers the artist on the road for 2022’s “Teaches of Peaches Anniversary Tour” and will make for a good primer if you’ve been out of the loop for the past couple decades. Directed by Philipp Fussenegger and Judy Landkammer (and featuring an appearance from Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson), be on the lookout for this one to make the film festival rounds before making noise at an arthouse theater near you.

Elliot Page returns to the big screen this summer

We were waiting for this moment: Elliot Page is back and ready for his close-up again. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him at the multiplex — after coming out as transgender in 2020, The “Umbrella Academy” star hasn’t starred in a narrative feature — but that all changes with “Close to You,” a film from writer-director Dominic Savage. The story concerns a young trans man returning to his hometown for a family event, his father’s birthday, and drama ensues as he deals with unresolved issues. “Sound of Metal” actor Hillary Baack co-stars in an unspecified role alongside a mostly Canadian supporting cast. Greenwich Entertainment releases the film in the U.S. August 16. Our calendars are marked. Welcome back, Elliot.

Romeo San Vicente has only just begun…

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