Deep Inside Hollywood: Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox wearing a black dress
Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox gets a Clean Slate

Legendary TV creator Norman Lear, who’ll be 99 years old this July, has a new project in the works with Amazon’s IMDbTV, a new premium free streaming service. The comedy is called Clean Slate, and it’ll star Laverne Cox and veteran comedian George Wallace.

Created by Cox, Wallace, and screenwriter Dan Ewen (Playing with Fire), it’s the story of a car wash owner (Wallace) with an estranged relationship with his adult transgender daughter (Cox). As the family members reunite after 17 years apart, Dad has to learn how to be the ally his daughter needs. Not only will we be watching, but we’re excited to see Lear, after decades of groundbreaking progressive television, working with Cox, who’ll be the next person in what we hope is a long line of transgender artists creating a new generation of TV.

The RuPaul Universe expands with Queen of the Universe

RuPaul has a new ViacomCBS show called Queen of the Universe. Yes, it’s drag-based, because of course, it is. But there’ll be no lip-syncing for one’s life. The queens in the competition will have to use their mouths for something more than reading each other to filth and throwing shade, because like American Idol and The Voice, this is a singing contest.

RuPaul’s Drag Race production company, World of Wonder, is behind the show, where queens from all over the world will compete to see who gets their own Kelly Clarkson “Moment Like This” moment. Obviously, they’ll have to serve sickening looks while doing so, but musical chops will matter more. One catch: you’ll have to sign up to Paramount’s new streaming service, Paramount+, to decide who can really sing and who should just keep moving their lips to Whitney Houston’s greatest hits. Get ready to borrow a friend’s password, Children.

Gillian Anderson steps into Eleanor Roosevelt’s shoes

Eleanor Roosevelt was First Lady from 1933 to 1945, during her husband Franklin D. Roosevelt’s long tenure as President of the United States, and she was an outspoken advocate for civil rights in a time when that was considered controversial. Okay, it still is.  History also points to her as being bisexual, as she had an intimate relationship with journalist Lorena Hickock, their surviving love letters stating it as plainly as possible.

So it’s appropriate that bisexual icon Gillian Anderson will play this important American citizen in an anthology series for Showtime with the working title The First Lady. Created by Aaron Cooley and directed by Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier (Bird Box), the project is executive produced by Viola Davis—who’ll also work in front of the camera playing Michelle Obama—and will co-star Michelle Pfeiffer as Betty Ford. The projected air date for this one is later in 2021, and after the knockout Mrs. America treated us to historically important women played by some of our favorite actresses, we’ll be happily devouring this one, too. In fact, bring back Rose Byrne from Mrs. America. She can be Melania.

Amazon sets Pete Buttigieg’s documentary.

In 2012, a Republican named Fred Karger was the first openly gay presidential candidate. He didn’t get far then, but he did help set the stage for Democrat Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who launched a more viable candidacy in 2016. That historic run for the nomination led to a high-profile career as the current U.S. Transportation Secretary, and will now be the subject of Mayor Pete, a documentary for Amazon, from filmmaker Jesse Moss.

Moss co-directed (along with Amanda McBaine, who’s co-producing here) the acclaimed doc Boys State. The film will focus on Buttigieg’s rise from mayor into the ranks of the Democratic Party, his campaign successes and losses, and a look into his home life with his husband Chasten. It’s another step forward, for sure, one of the ways political history gets built, and we’ll be looking forward not only to the film but to a Harris/Buttigieg ticket one day soon.

Romeo San Vicente’s political aspirations mostly involve binge-watching Madam Secretary.