Deep Inside Hollywood: Joaquin Phoenix

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Joaquin Phoenix wearing a black suit
Joaquin Phoenix at the "Joker" Premiere at the TCL Chinese Theater IMAX on September 28, 2019

Todd Haynes and Joaquin Phoenix aim for NC-17

Filmmaker Todd Haynes is no stranger to retro queer romance. His Cate Blanchett-starring Carol is already considered a classic of LGBTQ cinema, and Far from Heaven before that perfectly evoked the Douglas Sirk 1950s. And he recently announced an untitled project in the works with actor Joaquin Phoenix that will be a gay love story set in 1930s Los Angeles — an era Haynes explored in his HBO adaptation of Mildred Pierce.

The project has a script in development from Phoenix, Haynes, and acclaimed novelist-screenwriter Jon Raymond, a consistent collaborator with indie filmmaker Kelly Reichardt (Showing Up, First Cow). This one will take a while, as it’s not set to start shooting until at least early 2024. But the creators are already determined that it will be as adult and NC-17-rated as possible, and that’s a welcome bit of news for filmgoers who’re tired of timid arthouse films. More nudity now!

Somebody Somewhere refuses to go nowhere

It’s one of the best shows on TV right now, but it’s still flying below the radar with most people. And so the good TV news in the middle of the current writer’s strike is that HBO’s Somebody Somewhere, created by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen, is getting a third season. Inspired by comedian and singer Bridget Everett’s life, the small-town-Kansas-set series mines gentle, intelligent comedy from its unassuming setting.

It’s also very, very queer, with series regulars Jeff Hiller, Tim Bagley, and transgender comedian Murray Hill rounding out the ensemble and telling very specific rural LGBTQ stories. The episode run of the first two seasons has been short and sweet, making for a quick binge you’ll want to return to again, and it’s guaranteed to whet your appetite for the next batch, already in production.

The Wiz revival gets a cast… almost

A fact of life that never goes away is that anything related to The Wizard of Oz is automatically gay. We didn’t invent this rule; it’s just a rule that will always be a rule. So here comes The Wiz, returning to Broadway in a new revival. The Tony Award-winning all-Black iteration of The Wizard of Oz has given generations of theater kids an audition song (“Home”) to keep in their back pocket and an endearing movie version with its own linoleum company merch tie-in (Google it).

The new stage version will have fresh book material written by late-night talk show MVP Amber Ruffin and cool new cast featuring A Strange Loop star Kyle Ramar Freeman as the always queer-coded Cowardly Lion, Phillip Johnson Richardson from the Apple+ series Sharper as the Tin Man and former Voice contestant Avery Wilson as Scarecrow. As for Dorothy… no word yet. But we expect to be wowed by whoever plans to step into shoes created by original Broadway star Stephanie Mills. The pre-Broadway tour gets rolling this fall.

The Roaring Queer 20s lived at Eldorado

For Pride Month, Netflix delivers some queer history you might not have known about. A century ago, the Berlin nightclub Eldorado was a hub of the German city’s queer life, and people from across the LGBTQ spectrum gathered there alongside celebrities of the era like Marlene Dietrich and Charlie Chaplin. But as Adolf Hitler rose to power, oppression crept back in, and the club became an official target, closed by the Nazis in 1932.

In the decade to come, the city’s queer community was persecuted, imprisoned, and killed. A documentary covering the club and the era called Eldorado drops June 28 on the streaming service, combining interviews, archival footage, and reenactments of historical incidents. When you’re finished partying at the Pride parade, settle in and learn a little bit more about the troubled road earlier generations traveled. Learn from the past so it doesn’t happen again.

Romeo San Vicente is deeply invested in the pansexual dating show Love Allways.