Deep Inside Hollywood: Carol Burnett and Kristen Wiig are serving ‘Mrs. American Pie’

Carol Burnett. (Photo credit: KathClick

It has been 44 years since comedy legend Carol Burnett, whose comedy-variety program “The Carol Burnett Show” ran from 1967 to 1978, has been a series regular. Now she’s back in the Apple TV+ comedy “Mrs. American Pie” alongside Kristen Wiig. The upcoming series, created by gay screenwriter Abe Sylvia (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”), is based on novelist Juliet McDaniel’s “Mr. & Mrs. American Pie,” and will be co-executive produced by Sylvia, Laura Dern (who may also co-star) and “The Help” filmmaker Tate Taylor (who’ll direct). Set in the 1970s, the 10-episode series will focus on Wiig’s character launching a desperate attempt to break into Palm Beach high society, with Burnett starring as the queen bee of this exclusive social circle. Rounding out the cast will be Allison Janney, Leslie Bibb, Josh Lucas and Ricky Martin. With this much queerness in the mix, it seems like it should drop during next year’s Pride month.

Rebel Wilson comes out to her first dramatic role

Congratulations to Rebel Wilson, who has come out as queer — no thanks to The Sydney Morning Herald, the paper that that gave her an ultimatum before trying to out her — and is currently part of a project that’s unlike anything she’s done before. The comic actor, a bright spot in the “Pitch Perfect” films, has taken on her first non-comedic role in the upcoming release “The Almond and the Seahorse.” The film comes from Welsh BAFTA winner Celyn Jones, who co-wrote with Kaite O’Reilly (adapted from her stage play) and who co-directs with cinematographer Tom Stern (Oscar-nominated for the 2008 Clint Eastwood film, “Changeling”). Wilson and Jones star as a couple who have to reset their life course after a traumatic brain injury, and the consequences that has on their relationships with friends and family. There are some acclaimed co-stars here, too, with Charlotte Gainsbourg (“Nymphomaniac”) and Danish actress Trine Dyrholm (“Nico, 1988”) part of the supporting cast. The film is set for release later this summer.

‘Heartstopper’ co-star Yasmin Finney joins new ‘Doctor Who’

Yasmin Finney, one of the breakout stars of the much-loved Netflix queer teen romance “Heartstopper,” has a new job in the Whoniverse. The 18-year-old trans actress will be playing Rose on the latest iteration of the very-long-running sci-fi series “Doctor Who.” (Rose is Doctor Who’s traveling companion, for the uninitiated.) She’ll join “Sex Education” star Ncuti Gatwa, who’ll be the 14th Doctor, as well as the first Black actor cast in the role. It’s all shooting now, under the creative helm of “Queer as Folk” creator Russell T. Davies, and is set to drop sometime in 2023, the year that marks the show’s 60th anniversary. Don’t know a Dalek from a Tardis? The good news is it’s not out of the question to just drop into a new series and let the show explain itself to you. But if you’re feeling ambitious, you have a whole year to catch up on 60 years of television before it arrives. You can do it!

‘Loving Highsmith’ is coming to remind you that you love Highsmith

She had to lead a closeted life for quite a while, but few 20th-century novelists did more to push queerness into the culture than Patricia Highsmith. “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” “Strangers on a Train” and “The Price of Salt” (written under the name “Claire Morgan” and adapted as the Todd Haynes film “Carol”) have all left indelible marks on fiction, so it was high time for a documentary about the woman who created them all. Zeitgeist Films, in association with Kino Lorber, has acquired the North American rights to Eva Vitija’s documentary, “Loving Highsmith.” Based on Highsmith’s personal writings — including newly published diaries and notebooks — as well as accounts provided by her family and people who surrounded her, “Loving Highsmith” explores the writer’s career and her relationship to her own lesbian identity, one that was often difficult to navigate in a time when coming out was often a career-sabotaging act. There’s no release date yet, but it’s safe to assume it’ll land at your local arthouse cinema sometime before 2023.

LOS ANGELES – JUN 6: Jodie Foster at the AFI Honors Denzel Washington at the Dolby Theater on June 6, 2019 in Los Angeles, CA

Jodie Foster joins ‘True Detective’

She’s directed films and lots of episodes of television, but until now Jodie Foster the actor has been known as a movie star, never a series lead. That all changes with the next season of “True Detective” when Foster takes on her first major TV role. The new season, titled “True Detective: Night Country,” will be set in Ennis, Alaska, where at some times of the year there is 24 hours of darkness. The double Oscar winner will play detective Liz Danvers, investigating the disappearance of six people operating an Arctic research station. Call us weird but this sounds exactly like our kind of brooding — yet also somehow cozy? — winter mystery. And obviously, we’ll follow Jodie wherever she may go. Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”) is the executive producer of this one, and filmmaker Issa Lopez is working on the script and is also scheduled to direct. No dates have been announced, and Foster is the only cast member on board so far, so we’ll be keeping watch for more information.

Aunjanue Ellis meets Elmore Leonard

On the occasion of the recent Pride-themed issue of “Variety,” Hollywood vet Aunjanue Ellis, an Academy Award nominee for “King Richard,” came out as queer. And here we thought we couldn’t love her more after her scene-stealing performance in that film. Now the bisexual actress (read the interview, it’s wonderful) has a high-profile job in the works. She’ll be co-starring in the currently untitled project based on the Elmore Leonard novel, “City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit,” opposite Timothy Olyphant. Olyphant will be reprising his “Justified” role, Raylan Givens, in a Detroit-set story that follows the hunt for justice for a maniacal murderer. Rounding out the cast are Boyd Holbrook (“Logan”), Marin Ireland (“Sneaky Pete”), Adelaide Clemens (“Under the Banner of Heaven”) and Vondie Curtis-Hall (“Chicago Hope”). Meanwhile, as we reported earlier, Ellis is also co-starring in the new Lee Daniels film, “Demon House,” alongside Mo’Nique, Octavia Spencer and Glenn Close. Let’s just call 2022 the Year of Aunjanue.

Amazon hosts ‘The Deviant’s War’

Amazon Studios and Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment are developing some queer history in the form of a limited series based on historian Eric Cervini’s book “The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. The United States of America.” Tony-winning playwright Matthew López (“The Inheritance”) is working on the script for the series based on the story of Frank Kameny, a Department of Defense astronomer in the 1950s. Kameny was fired for being gay at the height of what was known as the “Lavender Scare,” and he sued the federal government. Then he co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C., to further protest the persecution of queer. The project is in its early stages, and since the book also covers queer liberation’s connections to the Black Civil Rights movement and the New Left, the cast of characters – and its attendant casting process – ought to be something worth looking out for. 

Romeo San Vicente wages deviant peace.

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