The Toronto International Film Festival got an in-depth look at the world of Montero Hill, aka Lil Nas X, with the Grammy Award-winning rapper, singer and songwriter’s documentary, “Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero.” Shot over the course of his first tour, the cameras follow him in a diaristic portrait as he navigates the business, the music, the fans, his family, and his place in the history of queer Black artists. Directed by Carlos López Estrada (“Blindspotting,” “Raya and the Last Dragon”) and Zac Manuel (the Sundance Film Festival Jury Award Winner – Best Non-Fiction Film: “Time, Alone”). Since scoring the longest-running No. 1 single in Billboard Hot 100 history in 2019 with “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X has come out as queer and lived it all out loud despite opposition from anti-LGBTQ forces in the culture and within the music industry. And with scores of other pop artists working the documentary angle during the course of their career trajectories, this film is a welcome addition to the canon of queer artists telling their own stories in their own way. We’re not sure where this film will land after the festival — theaters or streaming or both — but keep your eyes and ears open.
Ariana DeBose has a lot going on
Welcome to your Ariana DeBose career achievement checklist. The Academy Award-winning queer powerhouse has, let’s say, some (OK, a lot of) projects in the pipeline. Last year we reported that she’d be taking on an unspecified role in the upcoming Marvel film, “Kraven the Hunter,” but now we know that she’s playing the priest Calypso, opposite Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Kraven, and that the film is slated for a late summer 2024 theatrical bow. She’s also still involved in the Blumhouse horror “House of Spoils,” opposite queer former “Euphoria” star Barbie Ferreira (but still no drop date for that one). And while you’re waiting, she’ll voice the lead role of Princess Asha in the coming-soon Disney animated feature “Wish;” she co-stars in the Chris Pine-directed “Chinatown”-esque water heist mystery-comedy “Poolman” that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival; she’s in the sci-fi thriller “I.S.S.” from filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite, which just got picked up for distribution by the indie Bleeker Street; and finally she’s been cast opposite both Henry Cavill and Dua Lipa in the Matthew Vaughn-directed spy action thriller “Argylle.” Like we said, she’s busy.
‘Saltburn’ is promising a little class warfare
Emerald Fennell, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter and director of the incendiary drama “Promising Young Woman,” is back to turn your Thanksgiving upside down with “Saltburn.” It’s her second feature – where she’s once again handling writing and directing – and it’s the second time working with producer Margot Robbie (third if you count Fennell’s onscreen cameo as pregnant Midge in “Barbie”) on a mystery set at a very rich, very British “Downton Abbey”-style country home. Starring Academy Award-nominated Irish actor Barry Keoghan (heartbreaking in “The Banshees of Inisherin”) and “Euphoria” star Jacob Elordi (soon to be seen as Elvis Presley in Sofia Coppola’s film “Priscilla”), the story involves Keoghan’s character becoming infatuated with Elordi, a charming young aristocrat, and subsequently winding up at his family’s immense estate, Saltburn. Co-starring Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant and Carey Mulligan, we’re told it’s about desire and intrigue and the inscrutable behavior of the extremely wealthy. Taking its bow in October at the British Film Institute Film Festival, it opens Nov. 24 in the U.S., just in time to see it with your own dysfunctional family.
Luke Macfarlane is going to kiss a man on The Hallmark Channel
Luke Macfarlane occupies a unique space in the entertainment world, one where his work in comedy projects like the Seth Rogen/Rose Byrne sitcom “Platonic” and the film “Bros” overlaps with his status as a go-to leading man in the world of Hallmark Channel romantic dramas for heterosexuals. And now the gay actor will get to take his “Bros” queer career cred and finally play a gay character in the Hallmark world. In “Notes of Autumn,” Macfarlane stars as the love interest of gay actor Peter Porte, himself a Hallmark regular who usually plays heterosexual. There are some straight people in the mix, too, of course, with Ashley Williams and Marcus Rosner (also members of the… should we call it the HCU at this point?) as the not-gay characters. It is also a 100% certainty that everyone will kiss their respective meant-to-be person at the end because there may now be LGBTQ+ representation on this greeting card planet but there is never going to be an unhappy ending. It all gets cozy and smoochy on today.
Romeo San Vicente cares enough to send a meaningful text.