There are only so many loony B-movies an Academy Award-winning actor can willingly be in before the idea of satire raises its sarcastic little head. And so it has, in the form of the upcoming Lionsgate action-comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, starring the Ghost Rider* himself, Nicolas Cage, and Neil Patrick Harris. Cage will play a fictionalized version of himself, and Harris his agent, in a story involving the actor facing financial trouble and taking a million-dollar payday to attend a fan’s birthday party, only to find himself in the center of a ridiculous world-saving action scenario, the kind that tends to spring up in Cage films like Con Air. Tiffany Haddish co-stars, as does Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian) and Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe). We are expecting a lot of fan service from this one, aka Cage needs to switch faces with someone and turn into a motorcycle riding skeleton who is also on fire. It is not too much to ask.
He’s one of the stars of Pose, he’s a recording artist and musical-theater veteran and exuberant fashion titan, and now Billy Porter will add filmmaker to his resume. He’ll be directing the upcoming high school coming-of-age feature called What If? The rom-com involves a teenager named Khal who posts about his crush on a transgender classmate named Kelsa, and with the internet cheering them on, the pair embark on a senior year romance. Lesbian super-producer Christine Vachon is behind the project in a new deal her Killer Films struck with MGM. There’s no cast yet, but you’ll know more when we do. For now it’s pleasing enough that this project is moving forward and pushing open the boundaries of mainstream film, addressing the historical imbalance with more trans/POC stories.
Up-and-comer Jake Choi might not be a household name yet, but the young queer actor and activist (he received a Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award in 2019) co-starred in the film The Sun Is Also a Star and the sitcom Single Parents. And now he’ll be joining the cast of the ABC sitcom American Housewife. He’ll play a recently divorced man who becomes friends with main character Katie (Katy Mixon) and another new character played by Holly Robinson Peete. Now, Housewife has had queer characters as a matter of course – notably a lesbian character played by former show regular Carly Hughes, who left recently after alleging a toxic, discriminatory set environment – but we don’t know the orientation of Choi’s character at the moment, so that will be a surprise when the show returns in January from a brief winter hiatus.
The internet built celebrities out of YouTube content creators, and it has also begun doing the same with podcasters. As the idea of scripted podcasts continues to evolve – kids, they used to call them “radio shows” and there were characters and stories and your great grandparents loved them – more and more queer content is coming out of that movement, too. Witness Tampon Rock, an LGBTQ musical-comedy podcast rolling out as we speak. Created by comedy writers Alysia Brown, Sarah Aument and Sophie Dinicol, TR follows two lesbian characters on their respective romantic and musical adventures in Oakland (they’re in a band called G.O.A.L., or The Greatest of All Lesbians, which is a perfect band name you must admit). The serialized story chronicles the rise of the band as the members fall in and out of love, and will feature original music throughout. Yes, it’s ambitious, and that’s nothing less than what we should expect from goal-oriented queers, so break out the headphones and listen.