Brooke Elliott Lifetime photo
Constance McMillen — who was all over the news last year as the central figure in a firestorm of controversy, when her high school in the Itawamba County, Mississippi refused to allow her to bring her girlfriend to the school prom — will appear in a forthcoming episode of “Drop Dead Diva” that’s been dubbed the gay prom episode.
That is the word from “DDD” star Brooke Elliott, who tells us McMillen pops up as a bailiff in the July-airing episode, in which Brooke’s crusading attorney character is representing a “client who wants to go to the prom with her girlfriend. They’re in a committed relationship, but the school won’t allow same sex couples to go together.”
Constance McMillen on Ellen Degeneres' show
Out stars Wanda Sykes, Lance Bass and Clay Aiken all appear in the segment as well.
“I think it’s great,” says Brooke. “I think we do it in a way that, hopefully, is not preaching to people but is a reflection back of what is happening in our society right now, and what we as a group are going through.”
MEANWHILE: Season 3 of “Drop Dead Diva” launches June19 with an armada of interesting guest star names including Paula Abdul returning as Brooke’s voice of reason (that’s right), LeAnn Rimes, Kathy Griffin, Wendy Williams, Mario Lopez, Amanda Bearse, Tony Goldwyn, Howard Hesseman, Sharon Lawrence, Faith Prince, Jennifer Tilly and Louis Van Amstel. The latter, you may recall, was “Drop Dead Diva” costar Margaret Cho’s dance partner on “Dancing With the Stars” — and Brooke says the two had a great time reuniting to perform together again.
The season opens with an episode that includes a musical dream sequence choreographed by “So You Think You Can Dance’s” Keith “Tyce” Diorio. It also that gave Broadway veteran Brooke (Taboo, Wicked, Beauty and the Beast) a chance to exercise her pipes. “The voice you’ll hear is mine. It was a complicated song. I hope people will like it,” she says.
Of course, Brooke has more than enough to do playing the character of a
shallow model who died and then, in an accident of cosmic cross-wiring,
wound up sharing the plus-sized body of a brilliant, socially conscious lawyer.
The role “is a challenge every day. That’s why I like it,” she says. With it all, “Drop Dead Diva” continues to be a show widely praised by critics — particularly for Brooke’s seamless performance — yet undiscovered by many viewers. Brook observes, “You can drive yourself crazy spending too much time thinking about things that you can’t control. I’m focused on my job and doing a good job with this character.” Naturally, she is hoping that “Diva” will draw bigger viewership this coming season — and points out that people can catch up by watching the Season 2 DVD that just came out. Of course.
VARIETY IS THE SPICE: The L.A. Jewish Film Festival’s sixth year got off to an auspicious start in Beverly Hills with an eclectic group of luminaries — ranging from Buzz and Lois Aldrin to Miss India Préity Üupala, to “American Idol’s” Tim Urban — turning out for the opening night film, “An Article of Hope.” The fest itself is eclectic as well, celebrating the Jewish experience from intense dramas like France’s “La Rafle” (The Roundup) to comedies, “Shalom Sesame” to the “Article of Hope” film about Israel’s first astronaut. Thursday’s (5/12) closing night film is “Who Do You Love,” the story of rock ‘n’ roll’s fabled Chess Records. Songwriter Diane Warren is among the musicos expected.
TRY, TRY AGAIN: With the Disney Channel’s “Lemonade Mouth” movie attaining the distniction of being the No. 1 original television movie of the year among kids and tweens, it looks like the hoped-for sequel is a shoo-in. “We hope so, we really want to do it,” says producer Debra Martin Chase.
That’s also good news for the new collection of young stars in the movie.
Interestingly, Chase tells us that Nick Roux, who does a memorable turn as a rival band member in the flick, almost didn’t make it in. “We brought Nick in give times. There was a feeling in some circles that he might be too old” to play a high schooler. But the handsome twentysomething actor, who is managed by none other than Blake Lively’s mom, changed his look to try again. “I said, ‘Have him come in with his hair down like Justin Bieber,’ and he did, and he wore baggy pants and sneakers.” And he got away with acting younger.
Besides her new Disney Channel franchise, Chase is the long-time producing partner of Whitney Houston, and she tells us they have another project in the pipeline. “I can’t talk about it yet, but Whitney and I are planning something, hopefully for later this year.”
THE BIG SCREEN SCENE: A Sept. 7 start date has been set for the Adam Arkin-Ethan Embry feature “Insecurity,” about a pair of security experts who decide to beef up business by robbing houses themselves — but run into major complications when they find a duffel bag full of money.
Scottish star Robert Carlyle (“Trainspotting,” “The Full Monty,” “Angela’s Ashes,” etc.) will be tapping into his inner rock star for “California Solo,” in which he’ll play an aging rocker who lives in Los Angeles, but faces deportation back to Scotland after he’s stopped for DUI. The movie’s described as being full of Brit pop and L.A. cultural references and pathos. We’ll see.