When Michelle Williams attended last year’s Academy Awards as a best actress nominee for My Week With Marilyn, her ‘date’ for the evening was her former Dawson’s Creek co-star Busy Phillips.
In fact, Phillips was seen with Williams so much throughout awards season that some began speculating about whether or not the two women were more than friends.
‘I get why people would say that about us,‘ Phillips tells The Advocate. ‘It does seem plausible. It’s like Oprah (Winfrey) and Gayle (King) or Dolly Parton and her best friend.’
‘I believe sexuality is fluid, and women can have a deep love and affection for other women,’ she adds. ‘My friendship with Michelle has stood the test of time, and we’ve been together through many different versions of our lives. I love her as deeply as I love almost anyone. But we don’t do it.’
Phillips, one of the stars of the TNT sitcom Cougar Town, elaborates on the closeness of female friendships.‘As a straight, married woman, I will tell you that some of my girlfriends and I have occasionally had conversations about what would happen if we just left our husbands and raised our children in some sort of communal environment. I don’t know what we’d do about sex, but we’d figure it out. We could definitely make out.’
Love celebrating our out and proud stars and Rex Lee is one of them.
The talented actor turns 44 today and I hope he is celebrating in a fun way.
After a long run on HBO’s Entourage, Rex has segued to another hit: ABC’s Suburgatory.
He plays high school teacher Mr. Wolfe who came out in the middle of the cafeteria in dramatic fashion last season and who is in a relationship with the school’s Chef Allen.
Love the show and love Rex in it.
When we chatted last summer, Rex told me he was happy to see his character in a relationship: ‘I think it’s awesome because it’s not easy for anybody to be in a relationship – I’m speaking from years of being single when I say that – I feel like way in the past there was a tradition of gay characters hating the fact that they were gay and killing themselves or having problems with their personality. Or they were always the killer or whatever. So I think any time you see healthy gay people in healthy relationships, it’s a good thing.’
This is pretty big news for Bette Midler fans: The divine one will perform on Broadway for the first time in more than 30 years in a play about the Hollywood superagent Sue Mengers.
The play is called I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers and is written by John Logan and will be directed by Joe Mantello. It is scheduled to open on April 24 at a Shubert theater still to be determined.
Mengers had a client roster that included Barbra Streisand, Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway and Michael Caine.
The playwright tells the NY Times: “(Midler’s) a proper stage animal. In a one-person show in particular, you need someone who can hold an audience, who connects with an audience in a really deeply visceral way, and that’s Bette through and through.”
Midler, the Grammy and Emmy-Award winning star of The Rose, Beaches, For the Boys and The First Wives Club, began her Broadway career as an understudy and replacement cast member in the original production of Fiddler on the Roof.
She has since appeared in limited-run productions and concert tours like Bette! Divine Madness, which ended its Broadway run in 1980, and won a special Tony Award in 1974. Ms. Midler was also a producer of the recent Broadway musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Here’s a synopsis of the episode: Bryan (Andrew Rannells) and David (Justin Bartha) discuss their future and how big they want to grow their family.
The conversation leads them back to Expanding Families where Gary (guest-star Michael Hitchcock) reveals that he wants a family of his own but he can’t seem to find the right guy. Bryan and David play matchmakers and set him up with Bryan’s ex-boyfriend and legendary party boy Monty (Bomer), but their plan leads to more than they bargained for when Monty asks Goldie (Georgia King) to be his surrogate.
Okay fans of my favorite twins, Larry Lane and Gary Lane, this dynamic duo are going to be on television a couple of times this week talking about their wonderful documentary Hollywood to Dollywood.
Tomorrow (Monday), they will be on Marie on the Hallmark Channel. Yes, Marie Osmond has had a daytime talk show since the fall and I’ve watched it a few times. She’s a charmer as are Gary and Larry. But don’t expect to hear much about them being gay. I’m told the focus is on following the dream, about Dolly Parton and how she allowed them to use her music to the film.
But on Thursday, January 10, they will discuss their sexuality and more on The Jeff Probst Show which airs on NBC (2 p.m. in LA). Probst is really showing himself to be terrific interviewer who is not afraid of LGBT topics and I hope everyone will check out his show. He talks to the Lane men about being gay in North Carolina, what Dolly has meant to them, and about feeling accepted by her.
Now 85, Belafonte was dubbed the “King of Calypso” for popularizing the Caribbean musical style with an international audience in the 1950s. He is perhaps best known for singing The Banana Boat Song with its signature lyric “Day-O.”
But Belafonte’s career has also included the stage and screen starring in such films as Island in the Sun, Carmen Jones, Odds Against Tomorrow, Uptown Saturday Night, White Man’s Burden and Bobby.
He won a Tony Award for Broadway revue John Murray Anderson’s Almanac, won an Emmy for his TV special Tonight with Belafonte, won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, is the recipient the Kennedy Center Honors and was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Throughout his career he has also been a vocal advocate for civil rights and humanitarian causes.
Diane Keaton is one of the rare actresses who, well into her 60s, continues to get lead roles in major films.
We got to know her in the 70s through a string of Woody Allen movies (including Oscar winning role in Annie Hall), the Godfather I and II and Looking for Mr. Goodbar. The 80s brought more big movies like her Oscar-nominated performance in Reds, the hit comedy Baby Boom and the dramas Shoot the Moon and Mrs. Soffel. In the 90s, she was in the hit comedy Father of the Bride and its sequel and the blockbuster smash The First Wives Club, an Oscar nominated performance in the drama Marvin’s Room and one of my personal faves Manhattan Murder Mystery.
Another Oscar nomination came for 2003′s Something’s Gotta Give and some of her more recent films include The Family Stone, Because I Said So, Mad Money and Morning Glory.
Here is just a sampling of Keaton moments from some of those great films:
Serena Williams, who has clearly been the best female tennis player on the planet for the past six months, could finally reclaim the number one ranking if she wins the Australian Open later this month.
Serena got her 2013 season off to a great start earlier today by capturing her 47th career title with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the Brisbane International final.
Serena, currently ranked third, has won 35 of her past 36 matches, including titles at Wimbledon, the Olympics, the U.S. Open, the season-ending WTA championships and now the first event of 2013.
She is a strong favorite to win the Australian Open for a sixth time. If she does, the 31-year-old will become the oldest woman to ever hold the top spot on the WTA tour. Chris Evert set the mark in November 1985, aged 30 years, 11 months and three days.
Serena would also win her 16th grand slam titles which would put her two behind Evert and Martina Navratilova (18) and six behind Steffi Graf (22). The all-time grand slam leader is Margaret Court (24). But 11 of Court’s victories came at the Australian Open before it was on par with the other three slams.
Editor’s Note: Matthew McConaughey was one of the first Morning Men featured on this site, way back on March 30, 2009 – well before Magic Mike and his many other successes this year that have helped to establish him as a solid character actor and not just a handsome hunk.
So here is Matthew McConaughey, an actor you have surely seen either on screen or in one of the gazillion paparazzi photos taken of him as he jogs around town shirtless or is surfing in Malibu. He’s a guy who seems to live his life to the fullest.
But Matthew’s movie career has its ebbs and flows. For every hit like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch and A Time to Kill, there are truly awful bombs like Surfer, Dude (seriously one of the worst movies I have ever seen) and Fool’s Gold (almost as bad as Surfer, Dude).
My favorite McConaughey movie ever is Sahara, an adventure that was fun and energetic and thoroughly entertaining.
He’s got his next gig lined up. Variety reports that he will star as a low-level criminal defense attorney, Mickey Haller, in the thriller ‘The Lincoln Lawyer. In the film, his character represents a wealthy client who is connected to a murder case that he once handled.
But before that, his latest film, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, has him starring alongside leading lady Jennifer Garner and is set to his theaters May 1.
If you’ve got two proven box office stars (Michael Douglas and Matt Damon) set to star and a production budget of just $5 million, it would seem like one of Hollywood’s major studios would have said yes to making Behind the Candelabra which tells the story of Liberace and his young lover Scott Thorson.
But at the TV Critics Association winter press tour today, director Steven Soderbergh said he was turned down by every single studio before HBO agreed to make the film.
‘They said it was too gay,’ Soderbergh told us. ‘This is after Brokeback Mountain by the way. I was stunned. It made no sense to any of us. Nobody would make it, went to everybody in town.’
‘I’m really glad we ended up at HBO because I think ultimately more people will see it and that’s all we care about, Soderbergh added.
The director, whose most recent film was the summer box office hit Magic Mike, told me that being on premium cable also resulted in more creative freedom.
‘There just would have been more anxiety (at the studios,’ he said. ‘To HBO, the whole thing looked like a slam dunk whereas the studios were going, ‘We don’t know how to sell it.’
Soderbergh won the Academy Award for directing Traffic. His other films include ErinBrockovich, Ocean’s 13, Haywire, Out of Sight and Sex, Lies and Videotape, among others.
So I spent the day in Pasadena at the TV Critics Association’s annual winter press tour. One of the networks doing presentations was HBO and one of their upcoming movies is Behind the Candelabra.
I was sitting up near the front and they began to play scenes from the movie and I spotted Michael Douglas and Matt Damon quietly enter the ballroom then stand there watching along with the rest of us.
I’d look up at the screen, see Michael and Matt up there as Liberace and his much-younger lover Scott Thorson, then look back down at the real-life Douglas and Damon. This was especially surreal when a scene came on in which Matt emerged from a swimming pool wearing a speedo, walks over to Michael who is on lying poolside and straddles him – then he kisses him.
Damon didn’t flinch while watching the scene and I was so impressed later on during the panel (with Douglas, director Steven Soderbergh and producer Jerry Weinteraub) with how he handled a question from a journalist who asked if he considered the film to be a comedy.
The actor said a quick and definitive ‘No.’
‘Look, there were aspects of their relationship that were absurd,’ he said. ‘But to me, it just pointed our that there are aspects of all of our lives that are absurd but it’s not absurd to us because they’re our lives.’
Damon made clear that he believes the film is a drama that should be taken seriously. It is based on the Thorson’s book of the same name which recounts his tempestuous six-year romantic relationship with Liberace which ended bitterly. Thorson sued the entertainer for ‘palimony’ which was settled out of court the year before Liberace died from AIDS in 1987.
‘It’s really rare to even see a script this good. It was so complex,’ Damon said. ‘Their relationship, (screenwriter) Richard LaGravense so got. This dynamic. Whether it was the actual dynamic or not I completely believed what he’d written. What it felt like was if this was a relationship between a man and a woman, you’d feel at moments like, ‘This is too intimate, maybe I shouldn’t be here.’ But it’s between a man and a man and I’ve never seen that in a movie before.’
Despite the differences in their ages, Damon did not believe the younger man was using Liberace.
‘I think his love was genuine but I think it was complicated,’ he said. ‘He was somebody who was a foster kid and was looking for a family and (Liberace) gave that to him. They had profound love for each other and it ended badly but there were a lot of wonderful moments and a lot of ups and downs – a lot of things that everybody goes through in long-term relationships.’
The part called for flashy costumes and big hair, but Damon says he and Douglas ‘took it very seriously.’
‘These were people’s lives and we wanted to get it right,’ he said. ‘We just worked really hard on it and we were extremely happy to do it because we know how rare something like this is.’
It’s official: the film version of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart will begin production later this year and will air on HBO in 2014.
The announcement was made here in Pasadena where I am attending the TV Critics Association’s annual winter press tour.
HBO has confirmed some of what has previously been reported: Ryan Murphy (Glee, The New Normal, American Horror Story) and the cast will be led by Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo and Matt Bomer.
The film tells the story on the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s. It looks at the nation’s sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fought to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city in denial.
Roberts stars as a paraplegic physician who treats several of the earlier victims of the disease, Ruffalo will play a gay man who witnesses the disease begin to take the lives of many in his community and Bomer plays a reporter in the film who becomes the lover of Ruffalo’s character.
‘We are so proud to be involved with this monumental project,’ HBO programming president Michael Lombardo said in a statement Friday. ‘Ryan has assembled an extraordinary cast to bring Larry Kramer’s landmark theatrical achievement to the screen for the first time, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to bring this important film to HBO.’
Murphy previously directed Roberts in the feature film Eat Pray Love.
Kramer wrote the screenplay based on his largely autobiographical Tony Award-winning play. Kramer is not only a writer, he also is a well-known activist who helped fund the Gay Men’s Health Crisis and (GMHC) and AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) at the height of the epidemic.
Sorry Koala, but the tennis stud is just a tad cuter than you – okay, a lot cuter. He’s just dreamy. Tommy Haas is 34 but he’s playing like a much younger man as he continues to compete amazingly well on the tennis tour. The players are Down Under preparing the the Australian Open which begins later this month.
Sometimes, I get to interview someone on a red carpet who I am so in awe of that I have to fight to control myself and not get all crazy fan on them.
That was certainly the case last month when I met Tony winner Betty Buckley at the Trevor Live! event in Hollywood.
She is one of the great divas of the stage (Cats, Sunset Boulevard, Song and Dance) who will star in a revival of Dear World on the London stage this year.
Miss Buckley is also known for her television roles on ABC’s Eight is Enough and HBO’s Oz as well as the feature films Carrie, Frantic and Tender Mercies.
While I liked her on Eight is Enough as Abby Bradford, it was an appearance on The Tonight Show in the early 80s where I, for the first time really, witnessed the magic of Betty Buckley’s singing. She sang Over You from Tender Mercies and Memory from Cats and I was just floored. (Here is a LINK to that performance)
So when we met on the red carpet, I told her about how she blew me away that night then I managed to get a few questions out:
Q. Nobody sings like you. How did you develop your own style? Does it just come out of you?
A. I’ve worked and studied at it, I studied with a great teacher in New York for many years named Joan Lader. Before that I studied with a great man named Paul Gavert. It takes a lot of work. But I think we kind of discovered I had this voice when I was around 11 and I’ve been performing professionally since I was 15. Q. The gay community loves you, we love our big Broadway divas. Do you mind being called a diva?
A. It’s a job description, it’s not who we are. But if they want to think that, that’s fine with me. Q. Is performing for you just as much fun as it’s ever been?
A. Always. Q. Are you at a place where you can write your own ticket, do whatever you want to do?
A. Well, not exactly. It’s not quite that easy. I’m more like a working girl. I think every actress-singer, if you tell the truth about it, it’s keeping yourself ready for when the opportunities strike.’
Here is Miss Buckley performing As if We Never Said Goodbye from Sunset Boulevard:
Steven Pasquale is the star of NBC’s new drama Do No Harm which premieres this month.
I certainly plan to check it out since I’ve been a fan of this actor after watching him for many seasons as Sean Garrity on the FX series Rescue Me.
Steven has a background on the stage and was in the original Seattle production of the acclaimed musical The Light in the Piazza. His commitment to Rescue Me prevented him from going with the show to Broadway.
“That was the most heartbreaking thing that I’ve ever experienced professionally,’ he once said in an interview.
Other stage work includes the role of Sheriff Joe Sutter in the musical The Spitfire Grill, the lead role of Chris in the 1998 American tour of Miss Saigon and a role in the 2002 in the New York production of A Man of No Importance.
He made his television debut on the HBO series Six Feet Under playing a love interest for the character of David (Michael C. Hall).
Tammy Baldwin made history Thursday by becoming the first openly gay person to be sworn into the US Senate.
Baldwin, who had represented Wisconsin in the US House of Representatives for seven terms, defeated Republican Tommy Thompson in the November election. She replaces retired Democrat Herb Kohl in the Senate.
The lawmaker has gotten used to making history in this regard starting with becoming the first lesbian elected to the Wisconsin Assembly then the first non-incumbent gay person elected to the US House of Representatives.