The GLAAD Wrap: Ivory Aquino cast in HBO Max’s 'Batgirl' as DC Films' first trans character, Murray Bartlett cast in season 2 of 'Physical', new music releases from CLAY, Walt Disco, and more!

Every week, The GLAAD Wrap brings you LGBTQ-related entertainment news highlights, fresh stuff to watch out for, and fun diversions to help you kick off the weekend.

1) Out Filipina-American transgender actress Ivory Aquino has been cast in the HBO Max feature film Batgirl as Alysia Yeoh, the best friend of the titular superhero, a.k.a. Barbara Gordon (Leslie Grace). Both Aquino and Yeoh are transgender, marking the first time a live-action feature film adaptation of a DC Comics title will feature a trans character. In other news, acclaimed Filipino actress Maricel Soriano is set to star in Emmy-nominated transgender actress Rain Valdez’s directorial debut Re-Live: A Tale of an American Island Cheerleader. Re-Live tells the story of Rowena (Valdez), a transgender movie star who returns to her home in Guam for her high school reunion’s “do-over week.” Rowena’s plan to live out her childhood dream of being a cheerleader falters when her mother’s (Soriano) cancer begins to worsen, and she learns to value the family she left behind.

2) On the heels of their directorial debut of Am I OK? at Sundance, out writers, actors, and married couple Stephanie Allynne and Tig Notaro have announced their next feature project Time and Space, which Judd Apatow is set to produce. Allynne will direct off a screenplay she wrote based on a story she and Notaro conceived. Emmy nominee and stand-up comic Notaro also will star in the project, which follows the life of a lesbian couple who are thrown into turmoil when they ditch their Los Angeles city life for upstate New York.

3) The much-anticipated cinematic return of Downton Abbey: A New Era reunites the beloved cast, including gay character Thomas Barrow, Downton' butler, as they go on a grand journey to the South of France to uncover the mystery of the Dowager Countess’ newly inherited villa. The sequel is set to open in theaters on April 29th in the UK and May 20th in the US.

4) Out The White Lotus star Murray Bartlett has been cast in the second season of Apple TV+ series Physical following Sheila (Rose Byrne), a 1980s San Diego housewife who begins to find herself after being introduced to aerobics. He is set to play Vincent “Vinnie” Green, Sheila’s simultaneous friend and rival, and a charismatic fitness instructor, weight loss guru, late-night infomercial pioneer. He and Sheila (Rose Byrne) are both friends and rivals who struggle privately with personal demons. In more casting news, nut actors John Cameron Mitchell and Kate McKinnon are set to star as big cat loving rivals Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin in upcoming Peacock series Joe vs. Carole, a dramatic rendition of the events documented in popular Netflix series Tiger King. Watch the trailer here!

5) Out lesbian screenwriter and director Dee Rees is set to direct eight-episode drama Saint X which received a series order from Hulu earlier this week. Based on Alexis Schaitkin’s 2020 novel of the same name and told from multiple perspectives and across multiple timelines, the series will examine how a young woman’s mysterious death during an idyllic Caribbean vacation creates a traumatic ripple effect that eventually pulls her surviving sister into a dangerous pursuit of the truth.

6) Athens, Georgia-based queer rapper, linguist, activist, parent, and politician Mariah Parker (they/them) aka Linqua Franqa has announced new album Bellringer (out April 22) alongside lead single “Wurk,” which you can watch the music video for below! The album features guest spots from the likes of Jeff Rosenstock and Angela Davis. Additionally, nü metal group COMMANDO have signed with Kill Rock Stars for their self-titled debut out March 4. Lead single and album opener “Hotel Essex” (stream the music video here!) is an homage to the lifework of Black gay poet, essayist and activist Essex Hemphill (1957-1995) and features the legendary Blackberri who passed away last month. In other music news, post punk queer sextet Walt Disco from Glasgow have announced their upcoming debut album Unlearning (out April 1) and released an official music video for their lead single “How Cool Are You?”, which you can watch here. Queer indie-pop artist Ihui (eewaay) Cherise Wu, otherwise known as Polartropica, has released her new track “Serial Killer Slayer - Give Them Hell” (stream it here!). Additional new releases include singles “ARTERY” by CLAY (stream it here!) and “Clueless in Suburbia” by Yen Strange (watch the music video here!).

7) In comedy news, Black lesbian comedian Karinda Dobbins will release album Black & Blue February 4! Trans comedian River Butcher released a new comedy special "A Different Kind of Dude," on Comedy Central's YouTube channels today. In the special, "River Butcher offers their thoughts on gender pronouns, people who put rubber testicles on their trucks, outrageously large fires, divorce and much more." Stream it here!

8) The Art Directors Guild 2022 Nominations have been announced and include 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Award Nominees The Mitchells vs. The Machines, West Side Story, Hacks, The White Lotus, and RuPaul’s Drag Race. Other film nominations include The French Dispatch, Licorice Pizza, Candyman, and In The Heights. Other TV nominations include, Loki, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Morning Show, Mare of Easttown, Wandavision, Schmigadoon!, What We Do in the Shadows, and season thre of The Conners.

9) Out Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz and out theater director and Tony-winning choreographer Sergio Trujillo are set to participate in a musical stage adaptation of the Oscar-winning 1959 film Black Orpheus, set to premiere next Broadway season. Black Orpheus Broadway Production. Cruz will write the book and Trujillo will direct and choreograph the production. Based on Moraes’ play Orfeu de Conceição, Black Orpheus places the classic Greek love story of Eurydice and Orfeu against the modern backdrop of a Rio de Janeiro town during Carnival.

10) Season 15 of Variety’s Actors on Actors issue will feature one-on-one conversations between actors who gave some of the most memorable performances in film this year, including bisexual singer, songwriter, and actor Lady Gaga, bisexual actor and filmmaker Kristen Stewart, and queer actor, singer and dancer Ariana DeBose. The new season is set to premiere February 18 on PBS SoCal.