Welcome to this week’s “Just for Variety.”
I’ve got good news for Selena Gomez fans. It sounds like we’ll be hearing some new music from the superstar any day. “It’s not going to be that long from now,” Gomez tells me. “It’s not going to be as long as people think.”
Then she laughs: “And that’s all I’m going to say about that.”
What a year in music it’s been for Gomez. She received her first Grammy nomination — for best Latin pop album — for “Revelación,” her debut Spanish-language EP. “I cried. I cried so much because it’s something that not only means a lot to me, but also a lot to my family and my heritage,” Gomez says. “I worked so hard to try and make that sound as authentic and real as possible. It was a lot harder to do than any album I’ve ever done. And it was really challenging.” Her new album will be in English, but Gomez says she’ll record more Spanish-language music: “It’s not in the works right now, but it’s not something I’m not going to do.”
I’m catching up by phone with Gomez, who is on the set of Season 2 of “Only Murders in the Building,” her hit Hulu series with Steve Martin and Martin Short. (Check out the exclusive selfie that Gomez sent me above!) The three play neighbors who try to solve a murder in their Upper West Side apartment building. “It’s cool because personally in my life, since I started Season 1 to doing Season 2, I changed so much,” Gomez says. “I know that it’s a small amount of time, but I think it kind of carried on into [her character] Mabel. If anything, there’s just more of a sophistication to her. Her style gets better. She’s like super cool. I cut my hair. So it’s a whole fresh start for Mabel.”
Gomez says series co-creator John Hoffman started mapping ideas out for Season 2 toward the end of filming the first season, which wrapped with Mabel leaning over another dead body before being arrested along with Charles (Martin) and Oliver (Short). “Another season was casually thrown around but then John started spewing these ideas out and sure enough they have come into fruition,” Gomez says. “When I was reading it, I was really really shocked because this is so different but it’s what makes the show so great. They did such a great job creating another story.”
Zendaya may play MJ in the current “Spider-Man” franchise, but she insists she’s not looking to play a superhero. “No, thank you,” she told me while promoting “Spider-Man: No Way Home” with co-stars Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon. “If there’s anything I’ve learned from that, it’s I don’t think I want that. Being a superhero is not all that it’s cracked up to be, especially when you have supervillains from other universes.” Holland chimed in, “I think you would wear it well, though.”
I chatted with Lana Del Rey on the carpet at Variety’s Hitmakers brunch. Del Rey told me she’d love to collaborate with Migos. “I think there was like a new revolution of sound 11 years ago in the singer-songwriter community, which I loved to see, and then with Migos, I think they kicked off a new, super fun, super autobiographical, completely different style of rap,” she said. “I love them.” She also added that Bob Dylan is also on the top of her wish list. “Love ya, Bob,” Del Rey said.
Get to know David Alvarez! The actor stars as Bernardo in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake. After winning a Tony when he was 13 for his work in “Billy Elliot the Musical,” he quietly left the business. After two years in the Army, he returned briefly to the stage, but went back to school to study philosophy. Then casting director Cindy Tolan sent him a DM on Instagram three years ago. “She said, ‘Hey, I’ve been trying to look for you. Where have you been?’ Because I kind of disappeared from the art world for a little bit,” Alvarez recalls. “The message said, ‘Hey, Steven Spielberg’s making ‘West Side Story.’ We would love to see a self-tape from you for the role of Bernardo.’” He never told his Army buddies about his musical past. So what did they have to say when they saw he was starring in “West Side Story”? Find out in my full interview with Alvarez on this week’s “Just for Variety” podcast.
Just a couple hours after this column went to press in the magazine, I was on the red carpet covering the Hollywood premiere of “West Side Story.” In other words, I have more stories to come. For now, you can check out my interviews with Steven Spielberg, Rachel Zegler and Ariana DeBose on Variety’s Twitter and Instagram.