Deep Inside Hollywood: Challengers

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Deep Inside Hollywood image with a photo of three people in a photo on the left side
Deep Inside Hollywood: Challengers (Photo by Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures. Image by Ed Hahn)

“Queer” gets the Luca Guadagnino treatment with Daniel Craig

Iconic Beat Generation author William S. Burroughs, whose novel Naked Lunch turned millions of young people into fans of experimental fiction, wrote a book called Queer in the early 1950s. Then it sat, waiting to be published, for 30-plus more years. And though Lunch got a film adaptation from David Cronenberg in the ’90s, Queer had to wait its turn once again.

Now Luca Guadagnino, whose horny tennis love triangle Challengers is going to make everyone who watches it bisexual, has taken the Burroughs short novel and cast Daniel Craig in the lead of an intergenerational romance. The former James Bond stars as a man in Mexico City in the 1940s who becomes infatuated with a younger man played by Love, Simon actor Drew Starkey. Co-starring British Academy Award nominee Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread), Wes Anderson regular Jason Schwartzman, and Henry Zaga (The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare), Queer is expected to hit international film festivals later this year for a probable 2025 theatrical release. Bring your Daddy.

“Emilia Perez” is the trans musical crime comedy you’ve been waiting for

Acclaimed French filmmaker Jacques Audiard — the man behind art house hits The Beat That My Heart Skipped, A Prophet, and the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or-winning Dheepan — is headed back to that same prestige fest this May with a new film, the musical crime-comedy Emilia Perez. It’s got some big names attached, stars like Selena Gomez, Zoe Saldaña, and Edgar Ramírez. But its lead, Spanish trans actress Karla Sofia Gascón, will be new to audiences who haven’t watched recent Spanish-language telenovelas, some of which she appeared in prior to her public transition.

Gascón stars in the title role as the leader of a drug cartel who begins gender transition, singing all the way, supported by pop star Gomez, with an original score of songs from French musician Camille Dalmais. Sound intriguing? Well, if you can’t make it over to France, it should wind up in North American art houses in the not-too-distant future.

“Outstanding: A Comedy Revolution” hits Netflix for Pride

Not so long ago, if you were a queer stand-up comic, you were more likely to be closeted than out and proud. But that was then, and today queer comedians are everywhere, no longer forced to keep quiet. Enter Outstanding: A Comedy Revolution, from writer-director Page Hurwitz, a documentary for Netflix that features a roster of comedy stars too long to list here but includes Tig Notaro, Wanda Sykes, Suzy Izzard, Lily Tomlin, Todd Glass, Sandra Bernhard, Fortune Feimster, Hannah Gadsby, Rosie O’Donnell, Margaret Cho, Bob the Drag Queen, Trixie Mattel, and Guy Branum to name a few handfuls.

The film charts the rise of LGBTQ+ visibility that went hand-in-hand with a gradually more open playing field in the world of comedy, where queer people have always existed but whose best punchlines were too often straightwashed. The doc drops on June 18, so you can celebrate Pride on your couch and laugh off that sunburn you got at the parade.

The Liza Minnelli documentary is coming to Tribeca

Liza Minnelli is a 78-year-old living legend and heir to the queer icon status earned by her mother, Judy Garland, as well as that of her father, Meet Me in St. Louis director Vincente Minnelli. Therefore, it’s well past time for the Academy Award-winning actress/singer/dancer/force of nature to get the documentary treatment she deserves, and it arrives in a package called LIZA: A Truly Terrific Absolutely True Story from filmmaker Bruce David Klein.

Spanning Minnelli’s long career and her connections to her family (sister Lorna Luft appears in the film) and show business mentors, the documentary features friends and admirers — some in archival footage — like Mia Farrow, Ben Vereen, Chita Rivera, and Joel Grey. It’s certain to turn up in theaters and streaming after its bow at the Tribeca Film Festival in June. And if you’re young and not quite sure why you know who she is, here’s your chance to see her light up the screen. After you’ve finished watching Cabaret, of course.

Romeo San Vicente wouldn’t be caught dead sitting alone in his room.