Welcome to this week’s “Just for Variety.”
It all begins with the speculation that Coughlan would be on the next season of “Doctor Who” after she was photographed at the BAFTA TV Awards with Ncuti Gatwa. Just minutes before, it was announced that the “Sex Education” actor would be the new Doctor. Gatwa posted a pic of himself and Coughlan on his Instagram with a caption reading, “A pair of dolls.” He also included a boy and girl emoji and a pair of eyes next to Coughlan’s name.
However, Coughlan insists there’s no “Doctor” in her future. “I am not going to be on ‘Doctor Who,’” she told me Sunday at Netflix’s “Bridgerton” FYC event at Raleigh Studios in L.A. “We are doing something together, but it’s not ‘Doctor Who.’”
Coughlan then teased that Gatwa had already been announced for the mystery project, but she had not. Turns out Gatwa is among the star-studded cast of “Barbie.” His “pair of dolls” hint certainly looks like an homage to the Mattel icon, don’t you think?
“Encanto” star Stephanie Beatriz is weighing in on Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law and Texas’ anti-trans legislation. “I’m going to say ‘gay’ as much as I possibly can,” the actor, who came out as bisexual almost six years ago, tells me. “When I shout it from the rooftops, hopefully some kid in Florida or Texas hears it.”
Speaking of saying gay, “Queer Eye” star Antoni Porowski was among the honorees at Monday night’s GLSEN Respect Awards in New York City. “My therapist once told me that the world’s problems can all be attributed to one thing: diversity intolerance,” he said while accepting his award. “I encourage you to think about that. I often do when I’m faced with someone I strongly disagree with or when I struggle to understand someone else’s point of view. I’ll go a step further and argue that it’s not merely tolerance which will save us, but genuine acceptance and the embracing of diversity.
He continued, “Our LGBTQ+ youth should never feel like a societal burden or part of some cultural or political debate when they think about who they have a crush on, which sport or activity they wish to pursue or which bathroom they should use when they go to school- a place where they are meant to learn, be inspired, and flourish into their best selves.”
The Respect Awards recognize students, educators, community leaders and corporations that support LGBTQ youth. “We have a responsibility to teach our kids unconditional love, irrespective of gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation or regardless of any disability they may be carrying,” Porowski said. “If you disagree with this notion, just remember that it affects you, too, for they are our future. One day, they will make the rules, and what they’ve seen, experienced and learned will directly affect how it all plays out for the rest of us. Let’s set them up for success so that we can all be free.”
Faith Hill auditioned for director Anthony Minghella’s “Cold Mountain” for the role that eventually went to Natalie Portman. “I read, I believe, the rape scene and another one. It was intense,” Hill tells me on this week’s episode of the “Just for Variety” podcast. “I had been on a few [auditions] but nothing like that. But I worked my tail off to be prepared for that.” She may not have gotten the part, but Hill did get advice and encouragement from Minghella to continue to pursue acting. “He sent me the most incredible letter after the reading,” she reveals. “It was almost three pages long, handwritten.”
Hill, who stars opposite her husband Tim McGraw on Taylor Sheridan’s Paramount+ series “1883,” tells me she was once in talks to play Mary Poppins on Broadway, but her schedule didn’t allow for it.
McGraw also talks auditions on this week’s “Just for Variety.” He reveals he was up for Mark Wahlberg’s part in “The Perfect Storm.” Check out the podcast for the details.
Big congrats to writer-director Todd Hansen and Universal Pictures global communications vice president Ashley Momtaheni. The lovebirds recently tied the knot in a sunset ceremony at The Beverly Hills Hotel. The bride was stunning in a Monique Lhuillier gown, while the groom was styling in Tom Ford. The happy couple were photobombed by none other than Gordon Ramsay, who happened to walk by as they were taking their official wedding pics. Guests enjoyed dinner in the Polo Lounge. After toasts from the bride’s father Dr. David Momtaheni and Variety‘s Matt Donnelly, a DJ set by Dart Collective had partygoers dancing into the wee hours. Documentary filmmaker Mark Brown captured the event on 8mm, Ramsay and all.
Cheers to my former colleague Alyssa Shelasky. Seems like it was just yesterday that I hired her for her first journalism job at US Weekly. Now she’s out with her second book, “This Might Be Too Personal: And Other Intimate Stories,” a collection of essays about love, broken engagements, marriage, babies and life as a tabloid gossip reporter. So proud of you, my friend! Now we just have to figure out who will play you in the movie adaptation.