Pictured Ian McKellen
McKellen Commits Himself to Asylum
Ian McKellen, aka Gandalf the Gay, will soon be making his return to smaller-scale projects—ones that don't involve hundreds of extras and even hundreds more special-effect personnel. His latest film, Asylum—directed by David Mackenzie (the forthcoming Young Adam) and based on a novel by Spider author Patrick McGrath—wrapped principal photography in Dublin last October. McKellen plays a psychiatrist employed by a hospital for the criminally insane. Natasha Richardson co-stars as a woman who falls in love with one of his patients (fellow Lord of the Rings alum Martin Csokas), a sculptor who just happens to have murdered his own wife. Romeo's guessing it all goes sour after their first date, and that Sir Ian won't have any wizard powers to help Natasha out once she's in too deep. Look for the movie later this year.
Cumming Shares Garfield's Litterbox
Alan Cumming sure does wind up in his share of kid's movies: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, all three Spy Kids movies, Eyes Wide Shut ... Now the impish 'omnisexual' actor is part of the voice cast for the new film based on everyone's favorite lasagna-loving orange tabby, Garfield. Garfield: The Movie due to be released June 25, features Cumming as fellow feline Persnikitty (how euphemistic is that name?), while Debra Messing lends her meow to Garfield's girlfriend, Arlene. The live-action/CGI feature involves Garfield—voiced by Bill Murray—rescuing his dog-nemesis, Odie, from a kidnapping animal trainer. And as long as Mike Myers is nowhere near this movie in that striped hat cracking racy flatulence jokes, there's hope that it really will be enjoyable family fare.
Showtime Lights Up Reefer Madness
Leave it to Showtime to go where others won't. The network is producing an original film version of the off-Broadway musical Reefer Madness, reuniting the stage version's creative trio of queer playwright Dan Studney, co-writer Kevin Murphy, and director Andy Fickman.
The R-rated rock musical is a parody of the 1936 movie that offered a hysterical overestimation of the dangerous effects of smoking marijuana—taking the consequences as far as cannibalism (not particularly shocking in light of the success of Sweeney Todd) and animal abuse. The anything-goes cable channel stepped in because the show's raciness would have been diluted by network TV. The production will shoot in Vancouver and air in late 2005.
Reality TV Gets Gayer
What hath Queer Eye wrought? It seems like the success of that show has turned reality TV into a breeding ground for gay-curious breeders. Coming soon to a small screen near you: Fox's Playing It Straight, a dating show in which a gal named Jackie, stationed at the Sizzling Saddles dude ranch in Elko, Nev., has to pick from a round-up of men, many of whom do not play for her team. Will she find a boy who likes girls or a dude into dudes? Meanwhile, will the dudes of UPN's Awfully Pretty be able to pass for girls? That's the goal as a group of straight men are transformed into women by their wives and girlfriends, then forced to live that way. First one to leave the toilet seat up is kicked out. No word yet on air dates for Pretty; Straight starts in March. Yee-haw!