The 'West Side Story' Remake Is Coming--But This Time Wants a Real Latino Cast

The next project in the trend of reboots and revivals is the musical classic West Side Story. The 1961 film skyrocketed the careers of many young starlets, including EGOT winner Rita Moreno, who portrayed Anita in the musical. The story that surrounds two lovers from opposite gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, in New York City, who dream of getting married (a modern day Romeo and Juliet).

The problem in the 60s was that the lack of minorities in the media was a major concern. The film starred Natalie Wood, a white actress portraying the Puerto Rican Maria along with mainly white actors portraying minorities, primarily Puerto Ricans on screen.

It seems though that after movements like #OscarsSoWhite this new version of West Side Story will take heed on social changes and current demographics and make sure latinos are well-represented as part of the cast.

Enter Steven Spielberg, who really needs no introduction. Spielberg has taken on the challenge of revamping the classic tale. The 71-year-old director has put out the casting calls for the new film. With inclusivity in mind, Spielberg has made sure that all casting notices include “Must be able to sing. Must be able to speak Spanish” according The Hollywood Reporter. If successfully cast, the film is set to film in 2019 with a 2020 release.

Since revivals and remakes are such a tricky territory, Spielberg knows to tread lightly so the project remains contingent on finding the right cast to fit the bill. Who knows? Maybe the project will launch the career of a new Rita Moreno.

2018 Oscar Nominations Are Out!

Nominees for the 90th Academy Awards were announced on Tuesday morning at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, CA. The president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was joined by Tiffany Haddish and Andy Serkis to make the much anticipated announcements.

Among the Oscar nominees were many crowd favorites and predictions from some of the best films of 2017/2018. Our hearts skipped a beat to learn that Call Me by Your Name’s Timothée Chalamet is in the ranks with some of the best and already Oscar-winning actors. And it looks like the AMPAS heard all the buzz around the women’s empowerment movement during the Golden Globes and has given Greta Gerwig a nod for her directing in Lady Bird, which had a heart-breaking and honest coming out moment between Lucas Hedges and Saoirse Ronan (also nominated for Best Actress).

Leading the pack with the most nominations is Guillermo del Toro’s film The Shape of Water with 13 nominations with Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri with a close 9 nominations.

It’s enough to get you excited for those Oscar viewing parties you’re throwing or attending!

Will the Oscars have its own #MeToo moment?

Jimmy Kimmel will host the awards for his second time—The 90th Academy Awards airs Sunday, March 4th on ABC.

Here’s a full list of the nominees for all 24 categories:

Best Picture:

“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Lead Actor:

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Lead Actress:

Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”

Supporting Actor:

Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Supporting Actress:

Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”


“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro

Animated Feature:

“The Boss Baby,” Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
“The Breadwinner,” Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
“Coco,” Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
“Ferdinand,” Carlos Saldanha
“Loving Vincent,” Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman

Animated Short:

“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray
“Negative Space,” Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer

Adapted Screenplay:

“Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory
“The Disaster Artist,” Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
“Logan,” Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
“Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin
“Mudbound,” Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Original Screenplay:

“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh


“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen

Best Documentary Feature:

“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” Steve James, Mark Mitten, Julie Goldman
“Faces Places,” JR, Agnès Varda, Rosalie Varda
“Icarus,” Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan
“Last Men in Aleppo,” Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed, Soren Steen Jepersen
“Strong Island,” Yance Ford, Joslyn Barnes

Best Documentary Short Subject:

“Edith+Eddie,” Laura Checkoway, Thomas Lee Wright
“Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” Frank Stiefel
“Heroin(e),” Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Kerrin Sheldon
“Knife Skills,” Thomas Lennon
“Traffic Stop,” Kate Davis, David Heilbroner

Best Live Action Short Film:

“DeKalb Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk
“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, Josh Lawson
“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr.
“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton
“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen

Best Foreign Language Film:

“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)
“The Insult” (Lebanon)
“Loveless” (Russia)
“On Body and Soul (Hungary)
“The Square” (Sweden)

Film Editing:

“Baby Driver,” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
“Dunkirk,” Lee Smith
“I, Tonya,” Tatiana S. Riegel
“The Shape of Water,” Sidney Wolinsky
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jon Gregory

Sound Editing:

“Baby Driver,” Julian Slater
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mark Mangini, Theo Green
“Dunkirk,” Alex Gibson, Richard King
“The Shape of Water,” Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood

Sound Mixing:

“Baby Driver,” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill
“Dunkirk,” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo
“The Shape of Water,” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick

Production Design:

“Beauty and the Beast,” Sarah Greenwood; Katie Spencer
“Blade Runner 2049,” Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola
“Darkest Hour,” Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
“Dunkirk,” Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
“The Shape of Water,” Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau

Original Score:

“Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer
“Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood
“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” John Williams
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Carter Burwell

Original Song:

“Mighty River” from “Mudbound,” Mary J. Blige
“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name,” Sufjan Stevens
“Remember Me” from “Coco,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” Diane Warren, Common
“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Makeup and Hair:

“Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick
“Victoria and Abdul,” Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
“Wonder,” Arjen Tuiten

Costume Design:

“Beauty and the Beast,” Jacqueline Durran
“Darkest Hour,” Jacqueline Durran
“Phantom Thread,” Mark Bridges
“The Shape of Water,” Luis Sequeira
“Victoria and Abdul,” Consolata Boyle

Visual Effects:

“Blade Runner 2049,” John Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover, Gerd Nefzer
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner, Dan Sudick
“Kong: Skull Island,” Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza, Mike Meinardus
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,”  Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Chris Corbould, Neal Scanlan
“War for the Planet of the Apes,” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist

New Jayne Mansfield Doc Opens In 13 Cities Nationwide

In the new documentary Mansfield 66/67, John Waters, the famously irreverent film director of cult classics Hairspray, Female Trouble, Polyester and Pink Flamingos, says Divine, the character he created with late actor Harris Glenn Milstead was inspired by a mash-up of the long-dead blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield and the post-World War Two B-movie monster Godzilla.

If that’s not enough camp for you, there are plenty of other reasons for LGBTQs young and old(er) to see this new film, which isn’t so much a biopic as an exploration of how and why the doomed Mansfield and her carefully-cultivated image mattered. 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the actress’ death.

Mansfield was a woman who, like the larger-than-life fake lizard from Japan, also made B-movies in the 1950s and 60s. Her best-known roles include The Girl Can't Help It (1956) and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957).

Interview subjects include gender-fluid singer Marilyn, legendary drag queen Peaches Christ, gay experimental filmmaker and author of the seminal tell-all Hollywood Babylon Kenneth Anger, actress Mamie Van Doren, and Hitchcock escapee and animal rights doyenne Tippi Hedren.

Filmmaker Todd Hughes, 54, spoke to me by phone from San Francisco, where Mansfield screened last night at the Alamo Drafthouse, a restored old time movie house in the Mission District. “We had all these young people,” Hughes said, 18-25-year-old students from a

Bay Area film school. Often the audiences have skewed older so it was a nice surprise to see millennials becoming aware of Mansfield’s work.

Hughes and his filmmaking partner and husband P. David Ebersole, 53, live and work in Palm Springs. The film’s website lists them as editors, producers and directors.

Why did they make the film? “We think she’s quite extraordinary,” said Hughes, “an interesting cultural figure.”

He goes on to say how some people now see Mansfield as perhaps “the first reality star.” Like the Kardashians, but maybe less crassly confessional, Mansfield was known for taking charge of her career and making the media work for her – instead of the other way around. According to the Wikipedia page about her life: “She was also known for her well-publicized personal life and publicity stunts, such as wardrobe malfunctions.”

Thanks to a new deal with Gunpowder & Sky, a distribution company “for film buffs,” according to Hughes, Mansfield opens in 13 cities across the US and Canada tonight. Boston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland and Toronto are on the docket. Hughes said if the film does well, it could expand to seven more cities in coming weeks.

The film took the duo four years to make. Interviews were conducted in LA, San Francisco, Provincetown, Palm Springs and, of all places, Leeds, in the north of England.

Why Leeds? Connections. Hughes said the head of the film department at Leeds Beckett University encouraged them to apply for a grant. They got it and from January to August, 2016, Hughes and Ebersole were artists in residence. As a result, the school contributed resources the filmmaking team would not otherwise have received. A number of university departments, such as film, music and animation helped make Mansfield what it is today.

The film’s website cites quotes from major media outlets that have reviewed the film. The Los Angeles Times wrote: “A celebration of the sex-positive, taboo-breaking image she created for herself.” And USA Today said, “Beyond all of the shocking stories, eye-grabbing headlines and secondhand rumors,

Mansfield 66/67 is something incredibly important right now – believe it or not.” (Perhaps a reference to how women have been treated in Hollywood and the sexual harassment allegations so many of us are now becoming aware about.)

On November 10, Mansfield 66/67 can be purchased on demand via Amazon, Hulu and iTunes. Shortly thereafter, Hughes said the doc will also be available on DVD.

Finally, Hughes told me the film was just nominated for best documentary by the Women’s Image Network Awards. The filmmaking duo previously won this award for their doc about Cher’s mom, Dear Mom, Love, Cher.


'My Friend Dahmer' Is The Chilling Story Before The Mayhem

One of the most notorious American serial killers of our time Jeffrey Dahmer has been a subject of curiosity for decades. An enigmatic man who from 1978 to 1991 killed 17 men, many who he raped, dismembered and preserved for their body parts, Dahmer was diagnosed with psychotic, borderline personality, and schizotypal personality disorders, but was convicted to sixteen life terms in 1992.

In 1994, Dahmer was killed while serving his sentence at the Columbia Correctional Institution.

But before the killer beckoned there was a deeply troubled gay young man, who endured years of bullying and trauma that could have arguably created the monster we now know.

In 2012, the graphic novel My Friend Dahmer was published about the early life of Dahmer as many of his classmates and ‘friends’ knew him. From the pen of John (Derf) Backderf, who went to school with Dahmer, My Friend Dahmer takes place in 1978 Ohio and is a look into the early life of Jeffrey Dahmer like no one has seen before.

A synopsis of the book reads:

You only think you know this story. In 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer — the most notorious serial killer since Jack the Ripper — seared himself into the American consciousness. To the public, Dahmer was a monster who committed unthinkable atrocities. To Derf Backderf, “Jeff” was a much more complex figure: a high school friend with whom he had shared classrooms, hallways, and car rides. 

In My Friend Dahmer, a haunting and original graphic novel, writer-artist Backderf creates a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of a disturbed young man struggling against the morbid urges emanating from the deep recesses of his psyche — a shy kid, a teenage alcoholic, and a goofball who never quite fit in with his classmates. With profound insight, what emerges is a Jeffrey Dahmer that few ever really knew, and one readers will never forget.

The graphic novel was adapted into a film and was highly acclaimed at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Starring Disney Channel heartthrob Ross Lynch, My Friend Dahmer is the story of the events leading up to the killer’s earth-shattering murders. The film also stars Anne Heche, Vincent Kartheiser, Alex Wolff, and Dallas Roberts.

After much anticipation from cinephiles and art-house lovers, the official trailer for the film is finally out. This is My Friend Dahmer, skin-crawling, eerie, and full of suspense.

My Friend Dahmer will be in theaters this fall.


Disney's Live Action Aladdin Cast Has Fans Questioning

In the 5th grade I played the role of the Sultan in our school’s musical performance of Aladdin. I had tried out for the part of Aladdin, but wasn’t spry enough to run, jump, tuck and roll as the street rat. Still, that musical is one of the most memorable times in my childhood—plus I looked fierce in my little 10-year-old turban and that silk costume would have given you life!

Needless to say, Aladdin has a special place in my heart and I have been anticipating the live action movie since its announcement. There has been lots of controversy around the casting of the next installment of live action Disney because of the lack of diversity during the process. Now the roles of Aladdin, Jasmine and the beloved Genie are official since the announcement at this weekend’s D23 Expo. The casting still has fans questioning if the actors are right for the roles. Many don’t feel the cast will portray the Middle Eastern culture appropriately. Others feel the part of Genie is also a hard sell. 

Here they are--what do you think?

The starring role of Aladdin will be played by Canadian newcomer Mena Massoud who until now has only had supporting roles on the small screen.

Aladdin’s counterpart Jasmine will be portrayed by Naomi Scott who most recently gave us some Pink Ranger realness in the Power Rangers movie.

The most shocking and interesting casting choice is Will Smith in the role of the genie. Who could forget Robin Williams’ unforgettable voice acting in Disney’s 1992 animated film. His talent for voices, comedy, and personality created most of the memorable moments in the film. Will Smith definitely has some major shoes to fill here—can he do it?

Still no word on who will come on as Jafar and the Sultan (he’s everyone’s favorite, right?). We’ll be waiting, Guy Ritchie.