Queer singer-actor Janelle Monáe, who recently came out as non-binary, has a new role coming to a streaming platform near you. They’ll portray legendary performer Josephine Baker for a series produced by A24. Baker was the African-American singer-dancer-actress who left the U.S. for Paris in the 1920s and became a celebrated performer. And not incidentally, during World War II, she used her fame to become a document-smuggling spy for the Allies and the French resistance against the Nazis. The project starring Monáe is called “De La Resistance” and will focus specifically on those war years. Oh yes, and Baker was queer, too, having had relationships with author Colette and artist Frida Kahlo. Now that’s an icon. No word yet on when the series drops or on which platform, but keep your spying eyes open for it.
‘Physical’ lunges into Season 2 with ‘Looking’ star Murray Bartlett
“Physical,” the Apple TV+ series starring Rose Byrne, is readying its second season, and it drops on June 3. If you missed the first season – we get it, there’s too much TV these days – because you believed it was all campy outfits and Jazzercise, then you missed out on a shockingly resonant story of a woman who battles troubles both personal and public on her way to building a fitness empire in the early 1980s. The second season seems to promise more obstacles for Byrne’s character as she meets a fitness coach played by Murray Bartlett. Bartlett was the Mustache Daddy in “Looking” who opened a jerk chicken business. After that he was the Mustache Daddy in “The White Lotus” who… uh… well, let’s just say he did some things and then some things were done to him (we so dislike spoilers, especially the kind of spoilers one finds in “The White Lotus”). Created by Annie Weisman, “Physical” is a vintage-set wellness journey that is decidedly unwell, which kind of makes it about our current moment, something great television aims for. Put on the opposite of workout gear and binge it before June.
Felicity Jones and ‘Bridgerton’ star Jonathan Bailey sign on for ‘Maria’
Queer actor Jonathan Bailey is a fan favorite on the hit Shonda Rhimes series “Bridgerton,” and he’s about to take a minor holiday from Shondaland to take a role in a comedy called “Maria” with Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”). Simon Amstell (“Benjamin,” “Carnage”) wrote the script and will direct, with Jason Isaacs attached to co-star, and production is scheduled for this fall. Jones stars as a young woman dealing with a boyfriend (Bailey) she’s not sure about, an indifferent father (Isaacs), and a hot new stepbrother who keeps turning her attention away from that boyfriend. Hot stepbrother hasn’t been cast yet, but that might change by the time the project hits the buyer’s market at the Cannes Film Festival. Look for this one sometime in 2023, and, in the meantime, root for Bailey’s rising profile to hook him up with a gay role sometime soon. Not a demand, merely a request.
It’s another Celine Dion movie!
It’s a scientific fact that everyone loves Celine Dion (and if it’s not then it should be). Her repeated Las Vegas residencies pack in audiences and she’s currently on her first world tour in years. She was the subject of a delightfully goofy concert documentary called “Celine: Through The Eyes of the World.” There’s another official documentary currently in the works. And the French film “Aline” was just released to U.S. theaters (call it not-exactly-a-biopic but do call it bonkers, because it is). And as if all that weren’t enough, Celine will act in the upcoming rom-com “It’s All Coming Back to Me.” Written and directed by James C. Strouse (“The Incredible Jessica James”), it’s about a woman (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) whose partner dies in an accident and who deals with grief by texting his old phone number. The man on the other end of that number (“Outlander” star Sam Heughan) begins texting back, and somehow Celine Dion shows up as herself to guide these two lonely people on the path to love. “Looking” star Russell Tovey figures in all this, too, and we trust that it will all make more sense when it opens in February 2023. And if it doesn’t make sense then we don’t care. Go Celine!
Romeo San Vicente is near, far, and wherever you are.