We’re back with this week’s entertainment news, and although there doesn’t seem to be a ton of it relative to other weeks, there are a couple bombshells.
Queer the Halls
— Elliot Page (@TheElliotPage) December 1, 2020
First up, Elliot Page!! The Oscar-nominated lead from Juno and other acclaimed films like Hard Candy, Whip-It, Inception, and Sony’s X-Men films came out as trans on Tuesday, announcing his pronouns (he/they) and new name via Twitter. He has received an outpouring of support from fans, as well as their friends, colleagues, and even Netflix’s official Twitter account. For at least a few hours that day, there was some respite from the overwhelming state of our world as queer people everywhere spread the good news. Page will continue to star as cis woman Vanya Hargreeves in Netflix’s superhero show Umbrella Academy, and the streaming platform has already begun to update his credits across all available titles. [Variety]
[cw: transphobia for the next paragraph]
As Elliot reminded us in their coming-out post, however, there’s still a ton of hostility toward trans people both online and in person, and there is still a ways to go before public spaces can be safe for everyone. In an Instagram video posted on Saturday, actress Laverne Cox shared that she and a friend were verbally and physically assaulted in a transphobic attack while walking in LA’s Griffith Park. She spoke about the past trauma the incident brought up for her and how she was dealing with the aftermath, and posted another video on Monday thanking fans for their support and discussing ways to combat the sort of violence that she and other trans people experience on a day-to-day basis. [CBS News]
In happier (happiest?) news, Hulu’s Happiest Season, broke premiere records on opening weekend with “the best viewership for any original film” on the platform and attracted many new subscribers. Director and cowriter Clea DuVall spoke with [Variety] about the film’s moment in the spotlight, queer affinity, and the reasoning behind the characters’ development.
As positive tests for COVID-19 spike again, many cities in the U.S. are being placed back under more stringent restrictions, and Los Angeles is one of them. But while the city is back to takeout/delivery only for restaurants as well as other restrictions, news about a coronavirus testing site shut down in order to accommodate the filming of a gender-swapped She’s All That remake spread quickly on Monday as residents were rightly outraged at the implication that decisionmakers were prioritizing entertainment profits over public health. After a local advocacy group for houseless folks shared the cancellation email online, the city’s mayor announced via Twitter that the tests had been rescheduled. [LA Times]
Black Panther actress Letitia Wright was also in hot water yesterday for tweeting out an hour-plus-long YouTube video featuring misinformation about the recently-developed COVID-19 vaccine, climate change denial, anti-Chinese sentiment, and transphobic comments from a London church leader. Fans expressed their disappointment and urged her to reconsider her sources of information, while fellow Marvel actor Don Cheadle at first defended her and, after watching the video, implied he would try to speak to her privately about the issue. [Variety]
Speaking of the MCU, Disney+’s new series centered on Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye has begun filming, and Renner and costar Hailee Steinfeld were spotted together in New York with a golden retriever (Lucky the Pizza Dog?). The dog, plus Steinfeld’s purple jumpsuit and the bow she was carrying, confirmed for fans that she will be playing Kate Bishop, a founding member of comics’ Young Avengers. Along with the two leads, [Variety] has confirmed six other actors who will appear in the series: Vera Farmiga, Florence Pugh, Fra Fee, Tony Dalton, Alaqua Cox, and Zahn McClarnon. The casting of Cox as Deaf Native American Maya Lopez (Echo) is especially exciting as she is also a Deaf woman and is from the Menominee Tribe in Wisconsin.
Diego Luna, who played Cassian Andor in the Star Wars prequel film Rogue One, has confirmed that the spinoff series based on his character is currently in production. Personally, I’m hoping he gets to touch some Hutts. [Games Radar]
The other big news of the week was Warner Bros.’s announcement that the company will be releasing all of its 2021 film slate on HBO Max for streaming the same day those films open in theaters. Each film will be available to stream for one month, and that includes highly-anticipated releases such as Wonder Woman 1984, Dune, In The Heights, and The Suicide Squad. Though I’m glad the studio is providing an incentive for people to stay home, this may have further implications for the industry and cinemas in the future. [IndieWire]
— NX (@NXOnNetflix) December 3, 2020
Legendary is rebooting 1984’s The Toxic Avenger, and it will star Peter Dinklage with Macon Blair at the helm. Dinklage will play an underdog superhero who, after being pushed into a vat of toxic waste, begins to fight corruption and greed in order to save the people he loves. [Variety]
Surprising no one, Quibi is officially dead. Apparently, the app will have to be manually deleted off users’ phones but no one is able to sign in or access content anymore. Who knew that asking people to stream shows exclusively on their phones wouldn’t be profitable in the long run? (Everyone lol, it was everyone.) [Variety]
Hugh Keays-Byrne, an unsung hero of Aussie cinema, has passed away at age 73. I'm continually floored that he played Toecutter, the central antagonist of 1979's MAD MAX *and* Immortan Joe, the central antagonist 2015's MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. Thanks for all the entertainment, sir. pic.twitter.com/55W99w3wzq
— Ted Geoghegan (@tedgeoghegan) December 2, 2020
Star Wars actor David Prowse, who played Darth Vader in the original trilogy, also passed away recently. His daughter confirmed that he died from COVID-19 complications and that sadly, his family was not able to be there at the end. [Deadline]
STOP THE PRESSES: Daveed Diggs released a Hanukkah song about puppies!!!!!!!!!! https://t.co/xmHHpzAYBe
— emily burack (@emburack) December 4, 2020