Welcome to the show “Just for Variety.”
Somewhere over the rainbow, indeed! Kenya Barris tells me that LGBTQ representation will be featured in its “Wizard of Oz” remake. “The original was an allegory and a reflection of how the world was back then with things like the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl,” says Barris, who will write and direct the reimagining for Warner Bros. “Now we’re going to turn a mirror to where we are right now and take disparate characters from the LGBTQ community, from different cultural communities and socio-economic communities, and tell a story that reflects the world. I think it’s is the best time to do it.
He understands that a remake of the “Wizard of Oz” comes with enormous pressure. “I’m nervous,” Barris tells me. “I hope my film can last as long as the original.” He adds with a laugh: “I hope my film will be released.
Another remake of “Wizard of Oz” is also in preparation at New Line Cinema with Nicole Cassell (“Watchmen”) directing.
Ismael Cruz Cordoba thinks about her next step after her breakout role as an elf in Amazon Prime’s “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.” The actor tells me he wants to play Marvel superhero Hector Ayala/White Tiger. “I love the story set in 70s East New York,” Córdova tells me. “It’s a stand-alone…It’s badass. He redeems himself. He has got everything.
And Córdova already has the stunt job. He says he trained for about eight months for a three-minute action sequence in the third episode of “Rings of Power”: “There’s a bunch of martial arts and all the wire work – all you see on screen is me.”
Kelly Rowland was not aware that Beyonce would drop his name in “Break My Soul (The Queens Remix)”. “I had heard the record, but I didn’t know what was going on, but what a pleasure!” she says. Rowland is also working on new music. “It happens,” she teases.
Did you see my scoop yesterday on David Alan Grier to be cast as a fan-favorite character in ABC’s upcoming ‘Beauty and the Beast’ TV special? Read my exclusive here.
I had the chance to chat with Jerrod Carmichael at the Emmys, where he opened up about becoming a role model for LGBTQ youth after coming out as gay in April on his HBO Max special “Rothaniel.” “It gives me purpose,” said the comedian. “I have a responsibility that I have never felt before.” He said before publicly revealing his truth: “I let fear blind me. I was so afraid of all the consequences that the idea of it being something beautiful never really crossed my mind.
“I thought I would die before I did this,” he added jokingly, “There are a few countries I can’t go to anymore, but other than that it’s fine.”
Laverne Cox will star as a trans woman who returns home to Alabama after 17 years and is reunited with her estranged father (George Wallace) in Norman LearThe upcoming Amazon Freevee sitcom “Clean Slate.” “This is the first scripted project I’ve produced. It’s a dream come true,” says Cox. “It’s not just about trans issues. The show takes place in the South. We need trans writers. We need black writers. We need writers who grew up in the Southern church. There are a lot of experiences we need for this writers room.
Wallace said of his character, “Every time I call him a ‘him,’ I have to put a dollar in a jar, but eventually we become friends and move in together. When America sees this, they’re going to learn and they’re going to love it.