Deep Inside Hollywood: Wanda Sykes

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Wanda Sykes is wearing a black suit jacket with a white shirt under it. The words Deep Inside Hollywood are on the right with a deep purple background
Deep Inside Hollywood: Wanda Sykes (Photo by KathClick and image created by Ed Hahn)

Wanda Sykes makes the leap from comedy to drama

The filmmaker’s name is Tamika Miller, a writing and directing veteran of episodic TV and commercials. She’s already got one indie feature, the critically well-regarded Honor Student, under her belt, and now she’s in pre-production on her next feature she’s writing and directing, Undercard. A boxing drama, it’s got its lead in Emmy-winning comedian Wanda Sykes, who’ll be taking on her first dramatic role.

She’ll star as a boxing coach who abandoned her own son, returning years later to coach him in the ring. It’s all still in its early stages, so there’s no other casting news yet, but this is a great step for Sykes, who’ll no doubt join a long history of actors who began in comedy (Jim Carrey, Emma Thompson, countless others) and won acclaim for their dramatic talents. More on this one as it develops.

Lilly Wachowski climbs “Trash Mountain”

She hasn’t directed a feature film since 2015’s Jupiter Ascending, but now Lilly Wachowski has signed on to direct Trash Mountain. Until now, she’s worked with sister Lana Wachowski on films like The Matrix, but this will be Wachowski’s first solo directorial project. Co-written by up-and-comer Ruby Caster alongside comic actor/screenwriter Caleb Hearon (writer for the adult animated series Human Resources), it’s the story of a Chicago man in his 20s (Hearon) who must return to rural Missouri to deal with the death of his obsessive hoarder father.

No other details are known besides the producer-power of Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, who also happened to direct Hearon in a small role in Jurassic World Dominion. And if you’re asking what will a Wachowski bring to a smaller-scale story set in a recognizable reality after decades of fantastical cinematic world-building, we suggest you go watch Bound and get your mind blown.

Ayo Edebiri has a lot of jobs right now

Not so long ago, Ayo Edebiri was working overtime to get noticed as a performer, as a co-star of the acclaimed FX series The Bear, and as co-lead of the wild queer 2023 film Bottoms. Now she’s currently in art house theaters in the indie drama The Sweet East, was recently a host of Saturday Night Live, and will soon be seen in not one but three more feature films in various stages of production.

She’s got roles in Omni Loop, a sci-fi comedy co-starring Mary-Louise Parker; the A24 horror film Opus alongside Juliette Lewis, John Malkovich, and Amber Midthunder (Prey); and was recently cast in Ella McCay, the latest from Broadcast News and Terms of Endearment director James L. Brooks. It stars Emma Mackey (Sex Education) as a young, newly elected Governor, and Edebiri rounds out a cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Kumail Nanjiani, Rebecca Hall, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Albert Brooks. Edebiri has officially moved on from working overtime to make a name for herself to just working overtime full stop.

“Bewitched” wants to recreate the magic

Real talk: they’ve tried to make Bewitched remakes happen before and failed. The classic sitcom that aired from 1964 to 1972, about a suburban witch and her hapless mortal husband, is the stuff of LGBT-TV legend. Its very premise echoed ideas about the closet, and in front of the camera, it boasted supporting roles filled by a collection of lesbian and gay actors who imbued their characters with a very between-the-lines brand of self-conscious queerness.

Spinoffs and adaptations in other countries followed through the years, including a disastrous 2005 film starring Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman, and direct references to it are embedded in popular series like WandaVision. Now, another take is brewing. Writer-producer Judalina Neira (The Boys, Daisy Jones and the Six) is developing a new series – title unknown – that promises to be an “irreverent, hour-long reimagining.” We’re guessing from that description something along the lines of Riverdale: dark and for grown-ups. And this could be exactly what’s needed to make the magic happen all over again. Watch this space for updates.

Romeo San Vicente is always Team Endora