Yesterday, I posted the portion of James Franco’s candid interview with Playboy that covered his experience hosting this year’s Academy Awards.
The following section of the same interview is about his gay roles and those gay rumors:
PLAYBOY: Asking a movie heartthrob to wear drag on the Oscars could be seen as something done for cheap laughs. But you’ve never shied away from playing gay or bisexual characters, in James Dean, Milk, Howl. Speculation about your sexuality has followed you for a long time. How did that start?
FRANCO: I had a close friend in school, and there were rumors that we were gay. Those rumors were started by—who knows?—people who were jealous, people who had been picked on, girls who had been picked on. So they started these rumors. I like it now that people said I was gay. It’s kind of cool.
PLAYBOY: What was it like for you in 2008 when Page Six of the New York Post ran a blind item about a hunky closeted gay actor who got nicknamed the Gay Rapist? You were among the actors most often guessed by Gawker readers.
FRANCO: That was the first time I experienced anything like that. It started when we got this call from two rag magazines that said, “This guy called and said he’s been dating James Franco for six months and just broke up with him because James beat him up, and he’s filed a police report.” My lawyer said, “Run that and we will sue because there has been no police report filed.” They didn’t run the stories. My lawyer looked up the Facebook page of the guy I’d supposedly been dating, and it turned out he’s actually a young lawyer himself. Anyway, I think his Facebook page mentioned me as his “dream date” or something. Well, if I’d been dating him for six months, why was I his dream date?
PLAYBOY: Did you know this guy?
FRANCO: No. When my lawyer called and asked about it , the guy freaked out and said, “Oh yeah, I heard about that too. So weird. I don’t know James.” It stopped the story. Then Gawker picked that up and did this “Gay Rapist” story that was so fucking offensive because I have friends who have been raped. They did a very classy online reader’s poll asking which actor who had a big movie out that summer had beaten up and raped his boyfriend and then paid him off so it wouldn’t go to court. The poll had me, Will Smith, Christian Bale and maybe Tom Cruise or some others, and the readers voted for me. Because it was just an innocent poll, they could report this.
PLAYBOY: Could you and your attorneys do anything?
FRANCO: My lawyer called them and said that it was completely untrue and to take it down. They said, “Well, we’re just reporting what the New York Post told us. If James wants to make a comment on our blog, we’re happy to report it.” It was a choice. Either let this thing build and become bigger and bigger, or just let it go and let them be the petty scumbags that they are. It was a shame that at the same time I became involved in this completely false and offensive story, I was in Milk, a movie I felt strongly about. Some more great rumors will be coming up.
PLAYBOY: What do you mean?
FRANCO: I have a film coming up that I directed about the poet Hart Crane, and I give a blow job in that movie.
PLAYBOY: After playing movie icon James Dean, a male prostitute in the 2002 movie Sonny, Harvey Milk’s activist lover in Milk, Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in Howl—let alone the exploration of masculinity in your book Palo Alto and the homoerotic imagery in your short movie The Feast of Stephen—is it fair to say you have a fascination with gay or bisexual characters?
FRANCO: “Straight” and “gay” are fairly recent phenomena. One of the things the great book Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture and the Making of the Gay World, 1890–1940 is about is the way those labels have changed behavior. Between World War I and World War II, straight guys could have sex with other guys and still be perceived as straight as long as they acted masculine. Whether you were considered a “fairy” or a “queer” back then wasn’t based on sexual acts so much as outward behavior. Into the 1950s, 1960s and so on, the straight and gay thing came up based on your sexual partner. Because of those labels, you do it once and you’re gay, so you get fewer guys who are kind of in the middle zone. It sounds as though I’m advocating for an ambiguous zone or something, but I’m just interested in the way perception changes behavior.
When you already have an Oscar, a special Grammy and several Emmys and Tonys, what other honors are there for an iconic entertainer like Liza Minnelli?
How about being made an officer in France’s prestigious Legion of Honour!
On Monday, a visibly moved Liza received the red-ribboned medal from the French Culture Minister, Frederic Mitterrand, at a ceremony in Paris.
“We love you because you make our lives better,” Mitterrand told the great star.”A glance in your eyes is enough to make one imagine Broadway in golden letters sparkling in your eyes, your beautiful eyes.”
Liza, the star of such films as Cabaret, The Sterile Cuckoo and New York, New York, said: “What I am really, really so honoured about, is to be a part of France, to be a part of the city and the country of my dreams. Thank you for watching me, thank you for caring about me.”
Hollywood royalty Liza is the daughter of Judy Garland and of Vincente Minnelli was directed the classic film An American in Paris.
Last night at Outfest, the romantic comedy eCupid and this handsome actor, Houston Rhines, was one of the very appealing leads.
I’ll have a post about the movie later today but first want to shine a spotlight on Houston who is as talented as he is good looking and my hunch is he’s on the verge of a very big career. He’s a 31-year-old who has done plenty of modeling and landed guest spots on How I Met Your Mother, Scrubs, Criminal Minds and Castle.
Houston mentioned the Castle guest spot to me after I told him after the screening that he reminds me of Nathan Fillion who stars in that ABC hit. He gets that a lot!
There are not a lot of people who can successfully host a major awards show. Neil Patrick Harris is a genius at it and Jimmy Fallon, Hugh Jackman and Sean Hayes have also been big hits in recent years.
But the pairing of James Franco and Anne Hathaway to host this year’s Oscars was, at times, painful to watch. While Hathaway gamely got through the night with smiles, enthusiasm and endless dress changes, Franco just seemed disinterested after a certain point.
In a new interview with Playboy, he talks about the experience and much more. Here is a portion of the interview:
PLAYBOY: Some might question how seriously you took co-hosting the Oscars show with Anne Hathaway.
FRANCO: When they asked me to do it, I laughed and said, “How am I going to get out of this?” I had one of the best acting experiences working with [director] Danny Boyle on 127 Hours, and we made something great. The studio was making a push for my best actor nomination, and people had been talking about it. At the time I thought no one had won an Oscar the year they hosted the show—I learned later that David Niven had, about 50 years ago—and I thought my hosting the show would cut down my chances, take some of the pressure off and say to people, or at least to myself, “You’re not going to worry about this.” I had done a bit for the Oscars before with Seth Rogen that was a big hit. I felt confident I could do it. I mean, what are the host’s responsibilities? You have an opening monologue, maybe a bit or two in the middle of the show, and then the rest is just reading names. They knew I could rehearse only on weekends because of school, but how much do you have to rehearse? They told me they knew I wasn’t Chris Rock and that they had designed the show around me.
PLAYBOY: How did it go so wrong?
FRANCO: It’s hard to talk about because it’s like assigning blame—not a fun thing to do. For three or four weeks we shot the promos and the little film that played in the opening. In the last week, when we really started focusing on the script for the live show and did a run-through, I said to the producer, “I don’t know why you hired me, because you haven’t given me anything. I just don’t think this stuff’s going to be good.”
PLAYBOY: Many knocked you for appearing blasé, bored, out of it, having little chemistry with Anne Hathaway.
FRANCO: After the show everybody was so happy, and Bruce Cohen, the show’s producer, hugged me and said, “Steven Spielberg just told me it was the best Oscars ever!” As far as having low energy or seeming as though I wasn’t into it or was too cool for it, I thought, Okay, Anne is going the enthusiastic route. I’ve been trained as an actor to respond to circumstances, to the people I’m working with, and not to force anything. So I thought I would be the straight man and she could be the other, and that’s how I was trying to do those lines. I felt kind of trapped in that material. I felt, This is not my boat. I’m just a passenger, but I’m going down and there’s no way out.
PLAYBOY: Why did you tweet during the show?
FRANCO: As a way to say, “Whatever you’re seeing and hearing, those are other people’s words. I’m lifting the curtain and you can see a little bit of what’s going on.” It was cutting-edge. No host has ever done that—given you that kind of alternative glimpse. I was trying to do the best job I could. I didn’t try to sabotage the show. I didn’t get high. I went to the rehearsals I said I was going to. I played the lines as I thought they should be played.
PLAYBOY:Bruce Vilanch was presumably one of many writers for the Oscars show who thought having you don Marilyn Monroe drag was a good idea.
FRANCO: I was so pissed about that I was deliberately going to fall onstage and hopefully my dress would fall off or something—they couldn’t blame that on me; I was in high heels. The plan had been that I was going to sing as Cher and then Cher was going to come out onstage; that got axed when Cher and the song from Burlesque weren’t nominated. I told them, “Look, this is the thing people are going to talk about, the images they will take away from the show.” I mean, think about it—Anne Hathaway sang a song about Hugh Jackman, who not only wasn’t nominated, I don’t think he even had a movie out last year. So whatever. I just didn’t want to fight anymore, even when they said, “You’ll come out as Marilyn Monroe. It’ll be funny.” Me in drag is not funny. Me in drag as Cher trying to sing like her is a thing. That didn’t happen, so then I just didn’t want to argue anymore. I was going with their program; I wanted to do the material they gave me, not be one of the many cooks doing the writing. There were a lot of cooks who shouldn’t have been cooking but were allowed to. There were some cooks my manager tried to bring in, like Judd Apatow, who wrote some very funny stuff that wasn’t used.
TOMORROW: More from the Playboy interview focusing on speculation about Franco’s sexuality.
The first four days of Outfest have been filled with excellent films, interesting Q & A’s, fun parties … and some really hot men! As your faithful blogger, I feel it is my responsibility to interact with as many as possible including Cheyenne Jackson who I bumped into in the lobby of the DGA Saturday afternoon before the screening of the film The Green in which he stars. When I began to explain to him about the blog, he smiled and said, “I’ve seen it, I know all about it.” And Cheyenne, I know all about you – you are a stupendously talented performer who makes us all proud.
The photos above and below are two of the ridiculously handsome leading men from the movie August which screened on Sunday night. I chatted them up at the film’s pre-screening reception where the free booze was flowing and anticipation for this sexy romantic drama was high. Adrian Gonzalez (above) and I had met last month at the Outfest preview party and he could not have been nicer and more grateful for my coverage of the film. This was the first time I’d met Murray Bartlett (below) and was shocked to hear his Australian accent since there is not a trace of it in the film! Murray told me he flew in last week to enjoy several days of the festival and was having a terrific time. He thanked me for featuring him as a Greg In Hollywood Morning Man last month!
Can a series about a former couple who continue to live together after the husband comes out of the closet find an audience?
The answer is a resounding yes, according to TV Land which is trumpeting the growing numbers for its new original sitcom Happily Divorced starring Fran Drescher.
In addition to Drescher, who for years starred as TV’s The Nanny, the cast includes John Michael Higgins, Rita Moreno, and Tichina Arnold.
According to the Nielsen ratings, Happily Divorced is attracting 2.3 million total viewers – posting triple digit gains over the network’s primetime average. In week four of the season, the series scored its best ratings yet in key demographics of viewers 25-54.
The show airs on Wednesday nights at 10:30pm ET/PT immediately following new episodes of Hot in Cleveland. It follows Los Angeles florist Fran (Drescher) whose 18-year marriage ends suddenly when her husband (Higgins) announces he’s gay. And if that weren’t enough, he can’t afford to move out. They figured out how to be “Happily Divorced,” but her being single and his being gay, while living under one roof, is a whole other story.
Happily Divorced is based on what happened in real life to Drescher and her ex-husband Peter Marc Jacobson with whom she produced The Nanny. They are also producers of the new sitcom.
Tab Hunter, who celebrates his 80th birthday today, made a big splash in movies with the starring role in Damn Yankees. A few years later, he turned to television with The Tab Hunter Show which lasted one year on NBC then moved to Europe to star in a series of spaghetti Westerns.
After fading from view in the 70s, Tab made a comeback in the early 80s in a series of movies including Grease 2 and most significantly, the films Polyester and Lust in the Dust.
When I met and chatted with Tab at last year’s TCM Classic Film Festival, I wondered if life had changed for him much since the publication of his autobiography Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star a few years back.
In the book, he not only shared details of his Hollywood hey-day, he also publicly confirmed that he is gay.
“I wrote is because I didn’t want some schmuck writing about me after I was dead and gone,” he said. “I figured get it from the horse’s mouth and not from horse’s ass after I’m no longer here so that’s exactly why I wrote it.”
Tab was closeted during his career as were other stars of his generation (Rock Hudson, Richard Chamberlain etc) and I wondered what he thought of some of these younger actors who are coming out such as Neil Patrick Harris, John Barrowman, Luke Macfarlane etc).
He said: “That’s up to the individual. I never talk about those things. The only thing that’s important is the work and growing as a human being from A to Z. Your growth mentally, physically and spiritually. Those are the three most important things on this journey of life.”
His advice to younger actors, gay or straight: “Put your nose to the grindstone. Ego’s a killer, remember that.”
Tab told me his life is good these days: “I live in Santa Barbara and I write and I work in my garden. I’ve got my dogs and my horse and I’ve got some nice friends. I’m doing all right for an old man.”
Longtime BFFs Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters hosted the 13th annual BROADWAY BARKS! in NYC over the weekend and since they are two of my favorite stars, had to do a post.
The event is a star-studded dog and cat adopt-a-thon benefiting New York City animal shelters and adoption agencies.
We know that Bernadette is a certified Broadway legend with two Tonys and lead roles in scores of classic musicals, seven-time Emmy winner Mary received a special Tony for starring in Whose Life is it Anyway? and also starred in the hit musical Sweet Sue.
Joining Mary (looking nicely recovered from recent brain surgery) and Bernadette was Priscilla Queen of the Desert star Nick Adams – a longtime Greg In Hollywood fave – and recent Tony Award winner John Benjamin Hickey who is currently on Broadway in the play The Normal Heart and plays Laura Linney’s brother on Showtime’s The Big C.
A decade ago, the romantic comedy All Over the Guy screened at Outfest before it was released in theaters. It has enjoyed a long after-life on DVD and cable.
On Saturday night, the film had a 10th anniversary screening at Outfest and except for a scene where you hear the AOL dial-up sound, the movie holds up very well.
“It’s really awesome to come back,” writer-producer-star Dan Bucatinsky told the crowd before the movie began. “So many cast members came back and it really touches me. It really is a coming together of everyone who made this film.”
Sitting together in a single row inside DGA Theater 2 were director Julie Davis and leads Bucatinsky, Richard Ruccolo, Sasha Alexander and Adam Goldberg and supporting players Andrea Martin, Joanna Kerns and Lisa Kudrow who sat with Lily Tomlin who was on hand to show her support.
Also joining Bucatinsky at the screening was his husband, filmmaker Dan Roos who was an executive producer on the film.
“I was so young!” the still youthful-looking Bucatinsky said after the movie ended.
Cracked Goldberg: “You were full of hope back then.”
Alexander said that in the 10 years since the movie first came out in theaters, “so many people have come up to say they love this movie because of these characters. … It’s still relevant.”
Ruccolo (pictured, left), who had just come off the ABC sitcom Two Guys A Girl and a Pizza Place when he made the movie, said its success gave him the kind of loyal fan base he didn’t have before. Recalling the scene in the comedy Soapdish where Sally Field’s soap opera star character would go to the mall to be recognized whenever she was feeling down. “Me going to a gay club was kind of like that – I just worked that into the ground for a couple of years.”
For Ruccolo, the fast pace of the movie made on a shoestring budget was “a quick lesson in moving quickly and efficiently.”
Director Davis fretted that the movie had far too many close-ups but explained it was necessary “to avoid showing sets because there were no sets!”
Bucatinsky confessed to cringing at times during the screening because he believes, in retrospect, that as a screenwriter he was trying too hard to be funny: “It was like, ‘Shut the fuck up!’”
He also shared how the film helped him to be publicly gay: “I really think I believed I was going to make this movie and not discuss my sexuality with the press. … In a weird way, the movie was a coming out for me.”
The film Longhorns has been so popular at the Outfest film festival that THREE screenings of the film have been scheduled. I was at the first one – completely sold out – on Friday night and found the film funny and sweet.
But the movie would not have succeeded at the level that it does if not for the charming performance by lead Jacob Newton who makes his feature film debut in the movie.
Yeah, he’s cute but what really makes Jacob most appealing is that certain something that makes someone a standout, a star. I predict big things in his future!
Jacob is a native of Louisville, KY. He was a theater major at the University of Louisville and was immediately cast in the first Mainstage Production of the season, Alan Ayckbourn’sWoman in Mind.
During this time Jacob was also hired for numerous stage play productions outside the University including Dial M for Murder, The Sound of Music, and Dangerous Liaisons, as well as The Great American Sex Play with the Actors Theatre of Louisville.
Once he made his way to Los Angeles, he appeared in numerous short films and plays including Everything Is Real which he also wrote and produced along with Jeff Fukuhara.
Provided with a DVD screener, I saw the documentary We Were Here and sat in stunned silence for some time after it was over trying to process all I had seen. I then invited a friend over a few days later to watch it with me again and was even more moved.
But Saturday afternoon was the first time I’d seen the movie with an audience and it was an experience I’ll never forget. You could hear a pin drop inside the DGA Theatre during much of the screening except for occasional laughter and tears.
Produced and directed by David Weissman, it is the first documentary to take a deep and reflective look back at the arrival and impact of AIDS in San Francisco and explores how the city’s inhabitants were affected by, and how they responded to, that calamitous epidemic.
Weissman, the film’s editor and co-director Bill Weber and two of the seven people who are the voices of the documentary got one of the longest standing ovations that I can remember in more than a decade of attending Outfest.
“When I started making this movie and I didn’t know if anyone would want to see it and it’s been really gratifying to get the response,” Weissman told us. “One of the things I knew in assembling this was that in order for people to watch, they’d have to fall in love with the people on the screen and I think I made really good choices.”
Two of the interview subjects were at the screening: Eileen Glutzer was a nurse with many gay friends who helped to administer clinical trials of several AIDS drugs and and Ed Wolf who worked with AIDS patients back then and who has developed HIV-related curriculum and trainings for a large number of national and international organizations and institutions.
“It’s such an honor to be in this movie,” Ed told the audience Saturday. “I represent thousands of people. I get to be in this documentary and tell my story but there are so many other people.”
It was 30 years ago last month that the first case of AIDS was officially diagnosed in San Francisco where at one time, an estimated 50 percent of the gay male population was HIV-positive. There were not the life-saving treatments that there are today – only death. Young people who were born after the crisis need to imagine what it would be like if 25-50 percent of their Facebook friends died in a very short period of time.
This movie is a reminder of this horrific time and the footage and photos we see from that time are devastating. We see just rows and rows of obituaries of beautiful men, many so young, who died from AIDS before they even knew how to prevent getting infected.
So as you watch, you grieve for that time, for the people who never got to live out their lives. But you also learn about the heroes during this time, the people who stepped up during the height of the epidemic to help people die with dignity, to lobby politicians, to fight for research and treatment, and to build up institutions and strength in the LGBT community that continues today.
Eileen Glutzer says in the film that when her mother asked her why she was working with AIDS patients, she said she didn’t choose it – it chose her.
“What’s really important to me and this film is to not forget, to not forget anyone,” she said at the screening. “This film helps keep their memories alive and that’s been very important to me.”
Check out the trailer:
The film will have a run at The ArcLight in Hollywood in September. Visit its homepage for more information. Also, go to the film’s Facebook page to join the conversation.
I’ve been going to Outfest for more than a decade and blogging about it for five. I still forget how hard it is to write about all that you saw and did before you have to get back to the festival for another round of movies and events. It is exhausting in a wonderful kind of way.
On Saturday, I actually missed the Boys Shorts for the first time ever because I was out late Friday at screenings of Longhorns and a shorts program called Shots in the Dark. But I did make the early afternoon screening of The Wise Kids which I think will win a few awards here and at other festivals.
I’m pictured above with writer-director-star Stephen Cone (to my right) and star Tyler Ross (left) before the screening of this superb coming of age Southern drama set in a Baptist church community in Charleston, South Carolina. Three friends are contemplating the stage in their lives between high school and college.
The movie never claims to have all the answers as we follow the struggles of the devout Laura, openly gay Tim and preacher’s daughter Brea who is having a deep crisis of faith. Other compelling characters are the closeted choir director Austin and his frustrated wife, Tim’s supportive dad, and the non-believing woman who grudgingly accompanies her grandmother to church each week.
Although the movie has flawed characters, they are treated with love and respect. Laura is horrified to learn Tim is gay and prays herself to sleep asking the Lord to help him change. Austin is a closeted gay man married to a lovely woman and they are trying to survive as a couple despite this. Austin’s struggle and anguish is in deep contrast to Tim who refuses to choose between loving God and being gay.
There’s a reason that no one comes off as a villain or a stereotype, Cone told us after the screening: “I was raised the son of a Southern Baptist minister and that’s the way I felt about these people. I was inspired by the kids I grew up with and the lonely souls you can spot in the church. I have great love for these people and an awareness of that private pain that is pushed to the back.”
Ross said of the film: “I’m actually from the South and was raised Baptist Christian so I had a lot of connection to this film.”
Molly Kunz, who played the preacher’s daughter summed up the film’s tone nicely: “Coming from a conservative background, you can understand and try to make them real people. It’s just so much of who they are and less about putting people into categories.”
I highly recommend you see The Wise Kids and will keep you posted on its distribution plans.
Once a year, I get an email from a reader in Spain named Rosa Maria Garcia reminding me that it is Gale Harold’s birthday and she includes a summary of what the actor has been doing lately professionally.
I hope Gale, who turns 42 today, realizes what loyalty he inspires!
Queer as Folk brought Gale legions of loyal fans who have followed him through his subsequent TV roles including the lead role of Special Agent Graham Kelton in the short-lived FOX series Vanished, guest spots on Deadwood, The Unit, and Grey’s Anatomy on which he played a paramedic and white supremacist with a swastika tattooed on his abdomen, who is injured in an ambulance crash.
Gale joined the cast of Desperate Housewives on the fourth season finale May 18, 2008 as Susan’s love interest Jackson but his run was interrupted by a serious motorcycle accident. He returned to the show after he recovered then later his character was written out.
Next up for Gale was a role as a law professor in the CW series Hellcats which was not renewed for a second season. Instead, Gale will appear in another CW series called The Secret Circle.
Maria points out that Gale has three movies in the can: Rehab, Low Fidelity and Fertile Ground and has been doing theater including Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays with Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Like a Dog in Space at the Young Playwrights Festival.
Happy birthday to this wonderful actor and thanks again for the reminder Maria!
Okay, the real story is about the future King and Queen of England coming to visit Los Angeles this weekend. But I can’t help it if I’m more interested in David Beckham and how well he cleans up! William and Kate (aka The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) chatted with Beckham at a private champagne reception held on the lawns of the British Consul-General’s residence.
Beckham attended solo since wife Victoria is expecting to give birth soon. “Victoria really wanted to come but she is just so tired at the moment. She sent you both lots of love,” he told Prince William.
“Don’t be silly, send her all our love and tell her good luck with it all,” William graciously replied.
The royal couple later attended a star-studded BAFTA dinner with the likes of Barbra Streisand, Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Lopez.
Whether he’s doing a stand-up routine, mixing it up with the ladies on The View or in character as Suzuki St. Pierre on Ugly Betty, Alec Mapa is one of the funniest men on the planet.
Alec, who turns 45 today, has starred on Broadway in M Butterfly, been a regular on the sitcoms Half & Half and Some of My Best Friends, and had recurring roles on Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives. He’s also been in the films Connie & Carla, You Don’t Mess Around With the Zohan, Tru Loved and has a hilarious cameo in the new film Going Down in LA-LA Land as a really bitchy and tipsy version of … Alec Mapa!
You know you’re famous when you play yourself in a movie like Cher in Stuck on You and Neil Patrick Harris in the Harold & Kumar flicks.
Dinah Shore sure was someone people liked having in their living rooms.
She was upbeat, charming, classy and a wonderful singer who was a big radio and recording star in the 40s and 50s who went on to become one of the greatest television personalities of all time. Dinah hosted The Dinah Shore Show for NBC for more than a decade and became known for singing her signature song See the USA in Your Chevrolet as well as duets with famous guests like these: Frank Sinatra, Pearl Bailey and Peggy Lee, among many others.
From 1970 through 1980, Dinah hosted two daytime programs, Dinah’s Place (1970–1974) on NBC and Dinah! (later Dinah and Friends) in syndication from 1974 through 1980 and a third cable program from 1989–1992.
The first time I ever laid eyes on the dreamy Jon-Erik Hexum. It was in the 1983 television movie The Making of a Male Model opposite Joan Collins.
The Dynasty diva played a successful modeling agent who meets the young and handsome ranch hand Tyler Burnett (Hexum) in Nevada while attending an outdoor shoot. She notices his good looks and invites him to move to New York and start working as a male model.
Hexum had already starred in the TV series Voyagers! which lasted one season. But I had never watched it so this movie was my introduction to him. By 1984, he had landed the lead in another series: CBS’s Cover Up opposite Jennifer O’Neill. Hexum played a former Marine Special Forces Operative working undercover as a male model.
Sadly, the young actor was killed on the set of the show after completing just seven episodes. He was playing with a gun loaded with blanks and shot himself in the right temple. He was declared dead six days after the accident.
Andre Agassi, an eight-time Grand Slam champion and an Olympic gold medalist, was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday in Newport, R.I.
It’s a well-deserved honor for a naturally talented player who came onto the scene in 1986 with long hair and flashy clothes and whose commercial motto was “Image is everything.”
Agassi finally earned respect when he won Wimbledon in 1992 – his first major crown. That was followed by victories at the US Open in 1994 and the Australian Open in 1995. He also won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1996 and was ranked number one in the world for 101 weeks.
But during his marriage to actress Brooke Shields, he lost motivation and by late 1997 he had plummeted to No. 141 in the rankings. He was back on top by 1999 winning the French Open to complete the career grand slam as well as a second US Open.
“Rock bottom’s an interesting place. I moved in and spent some time there,” Agassi said during his acceptance speech. “Going from 141 in the world back to No. 1 was not an accomplishment; it was the reflection of an accomplishment. It was a symptom of good choices.”
He would add Australian Open titles to his resume in 2000, 2001 and 2003 and reach his final grand slam final – at the age of 35 – at the 2005 US Open where he lost to Roger Federer. He retired the next year with a total of 60 tournament titles.
“I fell in love with tennis far too late in my life,” he admitted to the crowd. “But the reason I have everything I hold dear is because tennis has loved me back. If we’re lucky in life, we get a few moments where we don’t have to wonder if we made our parents proud. I want to thank tennis for giving me those moments.”
Agassi’s ceremony came seven years after his wife, Steffi Graf, was inducted into the Hall of Fame. She is the winner of 22 grand slam titles – the second most in history.
Sprinkling his comments with gratitude for fellow Hall of Famers Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe and “the woman who still takes my breath away every day,Stefanie Graf,” Agassi also recounted a meeting with Nelson Mandela in which the former South African president told him, “You must live carefully.”
“I didn’t always live carefully. I didn’t always pay tennis the respect it deserved,” Agassi admitted. “I didn’t know myself, and I didn’t realize that my troubles were of my own making.”
At the end of his speech, he turned to his own children and the others in the crowd and told them to look at the nurses and teachers “win their own, personal Grand Slams.”
“They know already what it took me decades to find out: To shine in secret, and to give when there’s no one applauding,” he said. “It’s not to late to be inspired. It’s not too late to change. It’s not too late.”
In the 80s, Kelly McGillis was one of the biggest movie stars in the world starring opposite Tom Cruise in Top Gun, Harrison Ford in Witness, Jodie Foster in The Accused and Timothy Hutton in Made in Heaven.
But she disappeared from the scene for several years before re-emerging in 2009 in a big way by acknowledging that she is a lesbian.
What a wonderful addition to the LGBT community!
She said in an interview that year that she decided it was finally time to go public: “Most of the time in my life I’ve just said “I don’t care to answer that” or “That’s none of your business” or “That really isn’t germane to what we’re discussing.” And I just decided to step up and live in my truth. That’s it.”
Matthew Ludwinski and Allison Lane have a Will & Grace type relationship in the comedy-drama Going Down in LA-LA Land which screens at Outfest tonight at 9:45 p.m. at DGA 1.
The film about a struggling young actor trying to make it in L.A. was written and directed by Casper Andreas, who also has a supporting role in it. Ludwinski plays Adam, who comes from New York to live with his loyal and funny friend, Candy [a hilarious Lane], who wants to be a star even more than he does.
We see Adam struggle with some terrible jobs, and as he gets more and more desperate for cash, he is tempted by some career options he’d never want to put on his résumé. Along the way, he also finds time for romance. The film largely rests on the capable shoulders of Ludwinski—who is in every scene—and Lane, who share a wonderful chemistry that is both funny and touching.
I really enjoyed the movie which also includes cameos from some familiar faces: Alec Mapa as a bitchy version of himself, Bruce Vilanch as a porn director and Judy Tenuta as Alex’s evil nemesis.
Chatted up Ludwinski and Lane at the Outfest opening night party on Thursday.
“We had chemistry from the start, it was almost like he was my little brother – the little gay brother that I always wanted that I never had,” Allison told me. “Candy is such an incredible character. I had so much fun playing her. When else do you get to play a dominatrix then dress up in a French maid outfit and crawl out of a coffin. It’s a fantastic role, it’s a lot of fun.”
Added Matthew: “We get a lot of feedback on it, people really love our relationship. That is so important to the movie. We just loved each other so much, could not get enough of each other. She steals the movie.”
The movie was shot in 19 days in and around Los Angeles. While it has its dark moments, the actor said that overall, “it’s a feel-good movie. You can’t stop laughing from beginning to end. I think anyone who has ever pursued acting or moved to LA will really relate to this movie.”