“Pose” is gone, so long live the careers of its luminous cast of trans women. That’s the collection of Pride Month wishes we sent out to the universe, and already one of those wishes has come true: Mother Blanca Evangelista, aka Mj Rodriguez, has a new series ordered at Apple TV+ that will co-star Maya Rudolph. The untitled comedy (sometimes known as “Loot”) from Emmy-winning creators Alan Yang (“Master of None”) and Matt Hubbard (“30 Rock”) follows Rudolph’s character as her husband leaves her 87 billion dollars. Rodriguez will play the executive director of the non-profit funded by her obscenely rich boss. That’s all we know, but we’re in. And until we get to lay eyes on it ourselves, we’ll be content with Rodriguez’s debut summer single, the Earth Wind & Fire-ish “Something to Say.” Oh, did you forget she sang on “Pose?” Well, catch up, because she can do this.
‘Ailey’ dances into theaters this summer
A towering figure in the world of dance, the legendary black choreographer Alvin Ailey formed the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and blazed a trail through contemporary dance before his death from AIDS in 1989. Now a fitting film tribute, the documentary “Ailey” from director Jamila Wignot, will see its post-Sundance Film Festival arrival this summer from Neon Releasing. Built around a treasure trove of archival footage, much of it featuring Ailey’s own words, as well as interviews with colleagues, the doc covers Ailey’s life and career, from the lack of opportunities for work due to racist practices in the dance world, to the formation of the AAADT and the fight to break down barriers for Black dancers and Black choreography. This immersive look at the man behind the legacy comes to theaters July 23 and deserves to be seen on the biggest possible screen.
‘John Wick 4’ gets a vital dose of Rina Sawayama
If your 2020 pandemic listening habits involved relying entirely on the disco-dominated albums from Dua Lipa and Kylie Minogue to get you through it, then you slept on queer Japanese-British pop star Rina Sawayama and her critically acclaimed full-length debut, “Sawayama.” You have time – such as right now – to correct this lifestyle error, and when you fully absorb her witty, stylish, assertively feminist music, you’ll be even more pleased to learn that your new favorite wickedly talented artist who writes love songs to women is joining the cast of “John Wick: Chapter 4.” And if you’ve also still not caught up on the thrillingly violent “John Wick” series – it’s about a man named John Wick (Keanu Reeves) who’s very angry that bad guys killed his dog – then you have time to fix that, as well. We don’t know who Sawayama will be playing, but we hear it’s a major supporting role, and her casting announcement hit just before the inclusion of martial arts superstar Donnie Yen to the cast. There hasn’t been a dud in the “John Wick” series and our excitement for this next installment just grew by a hundred percent.
‘Pray Away’ to focus on the persistent harm of Ex-Gay movement
Exodus International has been dead and gone for eight years now – in other circumstances we’d say RIP but this deserves more of an LOL – and if you don’t know what they were, well, you actually do. Exodus was an umbrella organization of affiliated ex-gay “ministries” that sought to put queer people back in the closet by any means necessary. And now a new documentary coming to Netflix, “Pray Away,” the debut of filmmaker Kristine Stolakis, will explore the history of the group and the ongoing legacy of its oppressive, destructive mission. Exodus was formed in the 1970s by five queer men who formed a Bible study to support each other in their mutual decision not to form romantic relationships with other men. What grew from that was a monster of an organization that was seen as the only hope for Evangelical adults fighting their identity and as a punishment of choice for straight parents who wanted to erase the queerness from their kids. What changed? The leaders of the organization fell away one by one, realizing it had all been a colossal, dehumanizing mistake. So while many ex-gay groups still exist, this story, at least, has a happy-ish ending. Watch “Pray Away” when it drops this August.
Jameela Jamil is a Marvel
Jameela Jamil won viewers hearts on “The Good Place” and the queer actress has proven to be a charming, warm host of the ballroom competition series “Legendary.” So it was time she got to stretch her villain muscles, and she’ll get that shot on Marvel’s “She-Hulk” TV series for Disney+. Jamil will play the wicked Titania opposite “Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany as the titular She-Hulk. For those not in the loop of Hulk Family Origins, Bruce Banner’s (Mark Ruffalo, reprising his role from the films) cousin Jennifer gets a blood transfusion from Banner and boom — now she’s big and green and angry when life goes sideways. The character of Titania is super tall and super strong. Strong enough, apparently, to make life difficult for She-Hulk. Also joining the new series will be Tim Roth as villainous character The Abomination, as well as Ginger Gonzaga (“The Morning After”) and Renee Elise Goldsberry (“Hamilton”). The series, led by writer Jessica Gao (“Rick and Morty”), is among a seeming countless number of Marvel-based projects dropping on Disney+ in the next few years and it should arrive to sate your comic bookish appetites sometime in 2022.
Todd Haynes and Julianne Moore strike again. This time with Natalie Portman.
When queer director Todd Haynes works with Julianne Moore, special things happen. Together they’ve delivered acclaimed films like “Safe,” “Far from Heaven” and “I’m Not There.” Now it’s time for another. Haynes will direct Moore in “May December,” from a script by Samy Burch and story by Burch and Alex Mechanik, in which Moore plays an older woman who embarked on a tabloid romance with a man 23 years her junior. Twenty years pass, and as the twins produced by their marriage graduate high school and a film about their headline-making story goes into production, a younger actress — played by Natalie Portman — arrives to research Moore’s character, setting off a chain of family-fraying feelings. Full casting hasn’t happened just yet, and this one won’t begin production until early 2022, so you can always watch Haynes’ “Carol” again for the dozenth time while you wait. We will.
Romeo San Vicente used to be the hot young May. Now he’s the hot older December.