Deep Inside Hollywood: Queen Latifah rising

Queen Latifah

Pride Month may be over but we’re going to keep on celebrating Queen Latifah, who recently went public about her partner Eboni Nichols in a BET Awards speech. She may have been getting the Lifetime Achievement Award that night, but don’t let that fool you into thinking she’s done. As of this moment, Latifah has a handful of projects in various stages of completion. Coming soon is “The Tiger Rising,” a drama about a young boy and the caged tiger he finds in the woods, and “Hustle,” a LeBron James-produced basketball drama with Adam Sandler and Robert Duvall from “We the Animals” director Jeremiah Zagar. Meanwhile, currently shooting is “End of the Road.” It’s a thriller from “Black-ish” director Millicent Shelton, co-starring Ludacris, in which Latifah has to protect her family and fight a mysterious killer while on a road trip through the New Mexico desert. Obviously that killer doesn’t stand a chance, especially if he hasn’t seen QL use a machine gun in “Set It Off.” All hail the Queen!

‘SNL’ star Bowen Yang goes full queer for ‘Pride and Prejudice’

Anyone who’s been to the queer resort community of Fire Island knows that romantic fireworks go off at any time there. But the Jane Austen kind? That’s the “Pride and Prejudice” premise of “Fire Island,” the latest film from gay director Andrew Ahm (last year’s critically acclaimed family drama “Driveways”). The modern romantic comedy will star “Saturday Night Live” star Bowen Yang and comic Joel Kim Booster (who also wrote the screenplay) as a pair of best friends who travel to the island for a week-long summer holiday with an eclectic group of friends. And then the queer Austenisms (headstrong protagonist, an aloof suitor concealing his adoration, a smattering of drunken gay nonsense) blast off full force. Shooting this summer on location, Searchlight will release the film as a Hulu Original and on Star through Disney+ internationally. You’ll be able to stream it on that obligatory one rainy vacation day.

‘Knives Out 2’ sharpens up with Janelle Monáe

Whodunnits, those murder mysteries where everyone’s a suspect, have been given a resuscitating breath in recent years with remakes of the classic Agatha Christie stab-o-rama “Murder on the Orient Express” and the upcoming “Death on the Nile.” But the box-office success of Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” was truly the fresh shot in the arm the genre needed to bring younger audiences into the sleuthing fold. “Knives Out 2,” then, was inevitable and we’re thrilled to report at least one queer suspect, Janelle Monáe, has been added to the cast of many possible murderers. We don’t know her role at all and probably won’t until we see the film — Johnson likes to keep secrets on these things — but we do know that chief detective Daniel Craig will return to unmask a new killer from an ever-growing group of actors, including Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr., Kathryn Hahn, Edward Norton and Dave Bautista. The mystery will unfold sometime in 2022. Until then there are a lot of episodes of “Murder, She Wrote” to keep you company.

Issa Rae and Jaboukie Young-White Form an all-queer ‘Gang’

“The Gang’s All Queer” sounds like it might be an overtly gay remake of the already pretty gay classic 1943 musical “The Gang’s All Here,” but it’s not. Based on the non-fiction book of the same name by criminologist Vanessa R. Panfil, which was an academic study of gay gang members, the latest project from gay comedy writer and correspondent for “The Daily Show,” Jaboukie Young-White, will adapt the book for a series he will also executive produce alongside “Insecure” creator Issa Rae. The story will follow a closeted 20-something in Chicago who drops out of college after the gang-related death of a friend, and who then looks for closure in a most dangerous way. No cast or start date yet, so it’ll probably hit HBO sometime in 2022. Meanwhile, comedy writers seem to have a knack for accessing the bleaker side of human experience, so this feels like a good fit for two accomplished comic creators, and when it does finally arrive we’ll be watching it as hungrily as we did “Mare of Easttown.”

Romeo San Vicente’s hot vax summer is well stocked with Otter Pops.

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