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Missing in action.

From the long--stalled Angels in America movie to Ellen DeGeneres's new TV show, an update on gay and lesbian projects that remain unproduced

Did you enjoy Robert Altman's film version of Angels in America? How about Rent: The Movie? Of course not, because despite fevered announcements in the press about the movie versions of these Broadway shows some years ago, neither has made it in front of the cameras. (Altman isn't even attached to direct Angels any longer.) Here's a status report on these and other high-profile gay- and lesbian-themed properties that have been kicking around a little too long for our taste.

The Dreyfus Affair: Peter Lefcourt's 1992 novel about the love affair between two major league baseball players would make a killer romantic comedy. Status: Director Betty Thomas (Doctor Dolittle) remains "obsessed" with the project. It was almost a go at New Line when Ben Affleck expressed interest, but he subsequently moved on to greener fields. Prognosis: With Thomas's clout and track record, it could get made--but only if a major star commits.

Angels in America:

An Emmy would fit in nicely between the Pulitzer and the Tony that Tony Kushner has already earned for this grand gay-and AIDS-themed Broadway phenom. Status: Altman's gone, but Angels is now set up at HBO, with Mike Nichols directing. Could be the gay Nicholas Nickleby, but no news yet on casting or airdate. Prognosis: The epic Angels has so far proved too big and costly to do right, but if anyone can pull it off, it's HBO.

Rent: The late Jonathan Larson's smash Broadway musical about la vie boheme, queers, drag queens, and HIV could be spectacular on the silver screen. Status: Project partners Robert De Niro's Tribeca Productions and Miramax are awaiting a draft from screenwriter Stephen Chbosky. Prognosis: If the script is good enough to attract top talent, this is a slam drink. If not, it could go back to the drawing board and stay there for years.

Shakespeare's R&J: Joe Calarco's off-Broadway samesex adaptation of Romeo and Juliet is set in a Catholic boys' school. Status: Producer Harry Clein is still seeking financing. Prognosis: A tougher sell than Shakespeare in Love--but with the right talent, it could be an indic sleeper hit.

The Mayor of Castro Street: Although it has Best Actor Oscar written 'all over it, Randy Shilts's bio of slain San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk still seeks a celluloid transfer. Status: It's been in development at Craig Zadan and Neil Meron's Storyline Entertainment for a dozen years--with directors such as Oliver Stone and Gus Van Sant attached at one time or another. Rosie O'Donnell has recently expressed interest in making this her directorial debut. Prognosis: It's doubtful that O'Donnell could succeed where Stone and Van Sant have failed, but stranger things have happened. Certainly Zadan and Meron, who executive-produced Serving in Silence with Barbra Streisand, won't let it happen unless it's done right.

Ellen's new sitcom: Having made television history, DeGeneres deserves a second shot. CBS is giving it to her. Status: A pilot was shot and screened by network brass, but the variety show concept was scrapped. A recent concept was to cast DeGeneres as an urban lesbian who returns to her hometown, and word is that Ellen loves the script. The new pilot is being shot as you read this, but it's not on the schedule as a mid-season replacement for the 2001-2002 season. Prognosis: Anything could happen, but DeGeneres knows it's got to be funny.

Vaillancourt also writes for GayHealth.com and CBSHealth Watch.com.
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Article Details
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Author:Vaillancourt, Daniel
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 30, 2001
Words:593
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