MCA via Everett Collection
To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar was ahead of its time. Audiences can easily take for granted the immense importance of this film. It’s a high profile film in the 1990s that features three high profile actors, Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo, and Wesley Snipes playing gay men. Granted, they spend 99 percent of the movie in drag, but the film is monumental for the community. There’s wider acceptance of the gay community, appreciation for the art form of drag due to RuPaul’s Drag Race, and education about the clear distinctions between drag performers and trans women. But in 1995 this wasn’t the case. Sadly, this film is considered more of a cult classic than a major motion picture. All the same, the film is hilarious, quotable, and politically responsible. Here are some fun facts about the film:
Wesley Snipes and Jennifer Garner got to second base with the same man.Before he found success on Alias, Garner’s ex Michael Vartan had a major role in this film. In one scene, he antagonizes the ladies and Snipes grabs his privates and drags him by his member for an extended period of time.
Queen of 30 Rock You might think that Tracy Morgan and Snipes look equally bad in drag, but the real connection is Kathy Geiss. The nonverbal, unicorn loving CEO of GE was played by Marceline Hugot. She plays Katina one of the town’s residents in the film.
One Degree from Mindy Kaling As great as it would be to imagine Kaling playing a character named Noxema Jackson, the real connection is Beth Grant who plays The Mindy Project’s irate nurse Beverly also played irate townsperson Loretta.
Catwoman Connection Not only did the three leads all star with notable Catwoman Newmar in this film, all three have also starred with the most infamous Catwoman Halle Berry. Leguizamo in Executive Decision, Swayze in Father Hood, and Snipes in Jungle Fever. Snipes even dated Berry.
Start Your Engines, May the Best Woman Live Leguizamo has not been shy about his major friction with the late Swayze on set. Swayze was method and Leguizamo was improvising and making jokes to get more screen time. He says the two physically got into a fight until it was broken up by production. ChiChi, you in danger, girl!
A Cavalcade of Drag Stars This film was one of the first major motion pictures about drag. It gave early acting credits to RuPaul, Lady Bunny, Coco Peru, Laritza Dumount, and Flotilla DeBarge. It also was a major credit for the first transwoman on television Candis Cayne. Talk about helping to define the stars of tomorrow.
Work it Out! David Barton the founder of the popular New York City gym franchise has an early role as a muscle boy.
Drag is Leguizamo’s Bread and Butta’ By the time he did To Wong Foo, Leguizamo had already becoming accustomed to acting in drag. He played female roles in his one-man shows Mambo Mouth, Spic-O-Rama, and on his Fox series House of Buggin’.
Robin Williams: The Drag Years Although uncredited with his hilarious cameo, this film is sandwiched between Williams other two drag movies. In 1993, he gave old lady realness in Mrs. Doubtfire. In 1996, he played husband to a drag performer in The Birdcage.
Thanks for Everything, Carol Lynley! Before the producers secured the rights to Newmar’s name their alternate actress for the iconic photo that inspired the queens was Fantasy Island star Lynley. It doesn’t have the same ring to it, and she isn’t quite as statuesque.
It all goes back to Chinese Food. The name of the film was taken from a photo at a Times Square Chinese Restaurant that was later seen in the film where the ladies find the photo.
Curse of Wong Foo? Both Mel Gibson and Gary Oldman were in talks to potentially play drag queens in the film.
Is that a corn cob in your pocket, ma’am? Swayze surprised Chris Penn during the scene where he discovers Vida Boheme is a man. He hid a corn cob in his dress. Way to commit.
Our favorite shows feel perfect for their respective networks: The nude-friendly Game of Thrones is a tried-and-true HBO series, the tortoise-slow Mad Men fits AMC’s intelligent and patient viewers, and The Big Bang Theory never met a laugh track CBS didn’t like. But what if those series appeared on different networks? How would the show change? We’re exploring just that in our Network Swap series. First up: What if Revenge on HBO? ? Series: Revenge Network: HBO TV Rating: TV-MA Logline: In the Hamptons, it’s all about how much money you have, where you keep it, and who you screw to get it, but one woman isn’t after money. She’s willing to weasel her way into any man’s pants and bash in as many skulls as she can, all for the sake of Revenge. Emily Thorne (Evan Rachel Wood) is new to the Hamptons, but surprisingly, she takes to the lifestyle like a barracuda to water. And that’s because she’s not new at all. In fact, she was raised in the Hamptons until a grand-scale con painted her father as a mass murderer. Emily is back to exact her revenge, and undermine the opulence and decadence of the world that so cruelly robbed her of what could have been a happy, healthy life. They think the world is their oyster, but they’re about to learn that money can’t save them now. Demographic: Largely the same as Revenge on ABC: a split of men and women across the 18-49 age group. Of course, there would likely be a spike in male viewership thanks to the heightened sexual and bloody elements requisite of an HBO series. Cast: Evan Rachel Wood as Emily, Michael Pitt as Nolan, James Wolk as Daniel, Bryan Greenberg as Jack, Madeleine Stowe as Victoria (you don’t paint over the Sistine Chapel) Breakout Star: Juno Temple as traitor and annoyance-extraordinaire Ashley, PR expert to Victoria Grayson. After just a few episodes, we’ll absolutely love to hate every last word that comes out her pretty, little mouth. Soundbite: “Life is a bi**h, darling. Trust is the one f**king thing I cannot afford.” —Victoria Sweeps Twist: Connor Grayson is not only cheating on Victoria, but there’s graphic, surprisingly high-quality web video of the two of them doing the horizontal mambo in their birthday suits. And in some angles that aren’t exactly horizontal… Reason People Watch: The twists and turns are heart-stopping and the dialogue is cutthroat (but really, the sex scenes are amazing and we’re getting a little tired of watching Bill the Vampire deliver his jackhammer sex to whoever he’s on top of this week on True Blood). What the Critics Say: Many call it the ever-generous “romp” or “guilty pleasure.” Despite its origins in the novel The Count of Monte Cristo, critics claim the origins of the classic tale are largely ignored to make way for more surprising twists and sexual encounters. Like True Blood the series attempts to bring the socio-political elements into play, but they fall flat compared to the sexual exploits of the characters. Still, none of these critics would dare to stop watching… or complaining about watching. Spin-Off Possibilities: Victoria Grayson doesn’t do knock-offs and HBO doesn’t do spin-offs, dahling. Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler [Photo Credit: ABC] More: TV Network Swap: What if 'Two and a Half Men' Was on TLC? 'True Blood' Season Finale Recap: I'm Melting, Melting! 'Revenge' Season Finale Recap: Out With a Bang?
Frank Martin (Jason Statham) is a former Special Forces operator who fed up with military bureaucracy retires from the army to lead a quiet life in the south of France or so one would think. Frank actually makes a living hiring himself out as a transporter carrying packages in his spiffy BMW. He manages to keep his nose clean by adhering to three simple rules: never change the terms of the deal never exchange names and never look at what's inside the package. But when Frank notices that one of his packages is moving curiosity and concern get the better of him and he takes a peek. A beautiful woman named Lai (Shu Qi) emerges from the duffel bag in his trunk and it's love at first sight. (We know this because of the overpowering instrumental love theme that goes along with the scene.) Breaking rule No. 3 gets Frank into a whole lot of trouble especially when he discovers the kind of mess Lai is involved in: she is trying to stop a ring of human smugglers led by her father.
Statham (John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars) carries this film with complete ease. There is an intelligence in his work that comes through here in the same manner it did with his character Turkish in Snatch. In Frank Statham creates such an identifiable character--stylish brawny and brainy--that audiences will want to revisit him in a few years just to see what he's been up to. The gorgeous Qi (Millennium Mambo) plays his love interest but her character has a piece of duct tape over her mouth for most of the film. It's not to say she is not a good actress but her lack of lines makes her character--whose loyalties are a bit confusing from the start--seem a little dimwitted. Worth mentioning is French actor Francois Berleand (Alive) who plays the role of Detective Tarconi a cop who knows Statham is up to something but lets him do his thing as long as he keeps it under the radar. The two actors have good chemistry on screen although their relationship could have been explored more. The same can be said of Matt Schulze (Blade II) who plays the main villain--nicknamed "Wall Street." Compelling bad guys are hard to find these days and it would have been interesting to see more done with this character.
Slick action scenes and artfully choreographed fight sequences are director Cory Yuen's specialty: he was martial arts choreographer for Kiss of the Dragon and The One and martial arts supervisor for Romeo Must Die. His extensive background in the genre shows in this film but while the The Transporter is visually exciting and technically well done it loses points for adding some really tacky elements to an otherwise action-packed flick. For someone as professional and calculating as Frank for example to break one of his long-standing rules at the sight of a pretty woman seems out of character. Writers Robert Kamen and Luc Besson have a great hook with the Frank Martin character but they introduce too many cheesy elements. I mean Asian families being shipped in containers and sold into slavery? Call me a cynic but human-interest stories simply don't belong in action movies.