Welcome to this week’s “Just for Variety.”
Is NTR Jr. inching closer to joining the MCU? As I first told you in last week’s “Just for Variety,” the “RRR” star says he’d love to do a Marvel movie. Well, I am doing my part to make this happen. I introduced NTR Jr. to top Marvel Studios executive Victoria Alonso at Billboard’s official Golden Globes after-party on Jan. 10. The two chatted for only a moment, but let’s hope this is the start of something big. Just a few hours before, “RRR” co-star Ram Charan told me he’d also be up for a superhero role. “Absolutely,” he said with a big smile. “Captain America! Why not? We also have amazing superheroes in India. Why not invite one of our superheroes to come here?”
Don’t look for Bill Nighy on Broadway or the West End anytime soon. “I don’t think you ever will see me back onstage,” the British actor, who’s favored to pick up an Oscar nom for his work in “Living,” tells me. “I’ve done enough. I’ve done a lot of plays.”
Since making his stage debut in 1969 in a U.K. production of Tennessee Williams’ “The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore,” Nighy has appeared in more than 25 plays. He took home a Tony in 2015 for “Skylight.” “There isn’t a play in existence that I would burn to do,” he says. “Maybe there’s a play that somebody hasn’t written yet that I would find irresistible, but I can’t imagine what that would be.”
Ke Huy Quan is becoming the king of Hollywood. The “Everything Everywhere All at Once” star is a non-stop award winner for his work in the Daniels’ action comedy.
His excitement is infectious. He’s living his best life. “During a commercial break [at the Golden Globes], I ran up to Brad Pitt because I’m a huge fan of his,” Quan told me at the BAFTA Tea Party at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. “I said to him, ‘I love you. I’ve seen your movies,’ but he recognized me! He knew who I was and that was pretty incredible.”
Quan also recalled seeing Steven Spielberg in the audience when he accepted his Globe for “Everything.“ “What you didn’t see in the telecast is after I gave my speech…I looked over to him and he gave me a standing ovation,” Quan said. “The most successful director of all time gave me a standing ovation!”
Quan’s co-star Michelle Yeoh gave me an update on her upcoming work in the “Wicked” movies. I was the first to report that she joined the cast as Madame Morrible. “I go next week,” she said. However, she won’t be singing right away. “I do other things first and then I will learn to sing properly” she said, laughing.
Exclusive: Gaspar Noé’s 2019 film “Irreversible: Straight Cut” is finally making its way into U.S. theaters. “Irreversible” premiered at Cannes in 2002; 17 years later, the director reconfigured the controversial drama for a new premiere at Venice. The film, which stars Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel and Albert Dupontel, is set to open Feb. 10 nationwide, including at the IFC Center in New York City and Landmark’s Nuart Theatre in L.A.
Celebrity support is swelling for Andrea Riseborough for her performance as an alcoholic and a drug addict trying to rebuild her life in director Michael Morris’ “To Leslie.” Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore and Charlize Theron have hosted screenings, and Sarah Paulson is one of the many bold-faced names to praise the film on social media. “It’s really everything,” Riseborough tells me. “I think so often what people don’t realize about award season is that very few things are served up. It’s incredible how many things — important stories and wonderful films and brilliant performances — just slip through the net and don’t really have a life. To have your community rally around you in this way is just so wonderful. I think people are relieved to see something shot on film and that is also a character-driven piece.”
Incredibly, “To Leslie” was filmed in just 18 days in Los Angeles during the height of the pandemic, with Riseborough shooting up to 10 scenes in one day.
I was on a Zoom video call with Idina Menzel to talk about her upcoming musical “Redwood” when I broke the happy news to her that her “Uncut Gems” co-star Adam Sandler had been nominated for a SAG Award for his work in Netflix’s “Hustle.” Like many others, Menzel thinks Sandler is long overdue for an Oscar nom. “He should have gotten one for ‘Uncut Gems,’” she said. “And now he’s so great in ‘Hustle.’ He’s the real deal. I’ve seen it up close. But you know, comedians have it hard. People just don’t want to hand [Oscars] over to them. He’s a real true actor and a real mensch of a guy.”