By Romeo San Vicente
A documentary feature on Chelsea Manning, whose journey as a transgender military service member reached its public moment at the same time she was handed a 35-year prison sentence for revealing state secrets, is on its way later this year. The film is called XY Chelsea, it’s from filmmaker Tim Travers Hawkins, and it follows Manning as she leaves prison and moves forward with her life. Her sentence commuted by President Obama, she then steps into a new role as a trans rights activist and as a somewhat controversial media figure with firsthand experience with what happens when individual conscience comes into conflict with national security and government policy. Showtime will release the film theatrically and then across the network’s various streaming platforms, then you can hear it all from her in her own words.
Alan Cumming updates
Death to Instinct at CBS A lesson in TV development: things change, sometimes for the better. Back in 2016 Alan Cumming had a new series set up at CBS called Dr. Death, based on an upcoming book by James Patterson. But now the show, in which Cumming portrays an eccentric, crime-solving genius, is called Instinct, and his character is gay and married. At recent press events Cumming praised CBS for the step forward with the character, a seasoned CIA veteran who now teaches and writes but gets drawn back into detective work when a serial killer needs catching. Last time we covered this project we were hoping for a Murder, She Wrote situation, and that desire has not changed. Go forth and conquer murders queerly, please, Mr. Cumming. We’ll accept a touch less coziness in exchange for the pleasure.
Now there’s going to be a The Fosters extended television universe
All good things come to an end and it’s the same with The Fosters. The series that broke network TV ground with its depiction of a close-knit family with two lesbian moms will wrap up soon with a three-episode finale, the way any narratively responsible family drama should. But wait, that three show arc will be the set up for a spinoff series that will follow the young adult lives of sisters Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) and Callie (Maia Mitchell). Creators Peter Paige, Bradley Bredeweg and Joanna Johnson will place the sisters in Los Angeles, pursuing grown-up lives and careers, while still keeping them in touch with the Foster family. In other words, you know your mom(s) never let you stray too far away without at least a weekly Skype call, so cameo drop-ins can be expected.
Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds is a Believer
Hetero ally Dan Reynolds of the band Imagine Dragons is about to stir up a hornet’s nest in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is Mormon himself, and he’s also the lead figure in a documentary called Believer, directed by Don Argott ( DeLorean, The Art of The Steal). The film will follow Reynolds as he investigates the abuse of LGBTQ people in the church and the rise in Utah teen suicide over the past decade. The film is produced by Live Nation Productions, and premieres at the Sundance Film Festival this month, with an HBO air date to follow this summer. It’s impossible to predict if this could spark a cultural shift in the notoriously anti-queer sect, but it’s good to know Reynolds is on the side of justice and decency for queer kids from a place inside the church.