Participant Media Lands the Rights to Luna’s Cesar Chavez Biopic

It looks like Diego Luna’s biopic on Latino labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez will be making its way to theaters in North America…

Diego Luna

Participant Media has landed all North American rights to Chavez, which is being directed by the 32-year-old Mexican actor.

Based on a script by Hotel Rwanda scribe Keir Pearson, the film stars Michael Peña as the highly celebrated Mexican American labor organizer.

Cesar Chavez

The biopic focuses on Chavez’s work organizing the largest non-violent protest in U.S. history to aid more than 50,000 farm workers in California.

Luna’s Canana Films is producing the biopic, currently filming in Sonora, Mexico, and co-starring America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson, Wes Bentley, Michael Cudlitz and Gabriel Mann.

Chavez Biopic

Canana principals Pablo Cruz, Gael Garcia Bernal (who makes a cameo appearance in the film) and Luna are producing with John Malkovich (who stars as Bogdanovich, one of Chavez’s key adversaries.

Peña to Star in Film About Labor Leader Cesar Chavez

Michael Peña will soon be portraying the nation’s most recognized Latino labor leader and civil rights activist.

The 36-year-old Mexican American actor—who has appeared in such films as Crash, Battle: Los Angeles, Lincoln Lawyer and World Trade Center has signed on to star as Cesar Chavez in a film about the Mexican American farm worker, labor leader and civil rights activist who co-founded the United Farmworkers Union (UFW).

Michael Pena

Chavez led the largest nonviolent protest in U.S. history to achieve the UFW’s goal of obtaining basic human rights for more than 50,000 farm workers in California.

“This man inspired an entire community to see themselves as deserving of basic rights and to rise up against injustice,” said Mexican actor Diego Luna, who will direct the biopic. “The film will send the message that change is in our hands — Chavez did something everyone thought impossible with a fearless grace that magnetized an entire country.”

Cesar Chavez

Rosario Dawson is on board to portray Dolores Huerta co-founder of the UFW; while Cesar’s wife will be played by America Ferrera.

In addition, Jacob Vargas has been cast as Chavez’s brother Richard and Yancey Arias as Gilbert Padilla.

The film is set to begin filming next month in Mexico.

Ortiz to Star in ABC’s Devious Maids Pilot

It’s official… Ana Ortiz is about to unleash her devious-side in the heart of Beverly Hills…

The 41-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress has signed on to play the central character in ABC’s Devious Maids pilot.

Ana Ortiz

Created by Marc Cherry—who brought Desperate Housewives to life—based on a Mexican telenovela, the concept of the show centers on four ambitious maids trying to make their own dreams come true while working for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills.

Ortiz, who rose to fame as America Ferrera’s sister on Ugly Betty, will lead the quartet as Marisol, a college-educated woman with a secret agenda for finding work as a maid in the upscale neighborhood. Her beloved son has recently been convicted of murder, and Marisol is intent on finding out all she can about the case.

Ortiz is the second of the maids cast in the project, following the casting of former Heroes actress Dania Ramirez.

Ortiz most recently appeared in Martin Lawrence’s action-comedy Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son and guest-starred on HBO’s Hung.

An American “Soy Tu Dueña” Remake in the Works?

It looks like ABC will try its luck all over again with adapting a smash Latin American telenovela

With help from Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria, ABC is developing an English-language remake of the hit Mexican telenovela Soy Tu Dueña, according to Deadline. Longoria will serve as an executive producer on the project.

Soy_Tu_Duena

Co-produced by Televisa—the company behind the Mexican version—the American version will center on a Texas heiress who loses her fortune and is forced to move back to the ranch she grew up on. Soy Tu Dueña, which translates to “I’m Your Owner,” will be called A Woman Of Steel.

A remake of the 1995 telenovela La Dueña, Soy Tu Dueña—which starred Mexican telenovela royalty, Fernando Colunga and Lucerowas a ratings hit when it aired on Univision last year, ranking as the network’s most-watched telenovela ever.

ABC is the only American network to successfully adapt a Latin American telenovela with Ugly Betty. Based on the Colombian telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea, the dramedy ran for four seasons on the network.

America Ferrera won a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and an Emmy for her portrayal of the fashionably challenged title character.

No word on who will star in ABC’s adaptation of Soy Tu Dueña. But Longoria wouldn’t be a bad choice… After all, she’s from Texas and her schedule should open up now that Desperate Housewives is going off the air this season.

America Ferrera: West End Girl

Emmy-winning actress America Ferrera will be hitting London’s West End next month to show off her singing pipes…

According to Entertainment Weekly, the 27-year-old Honduran-American actress will join the London cast of “Chicago.” She’ll play the scene-stealing role of Roxie Hart in the long-running musical.

The former “Ugly Betty” star’s eight-week stint begins on November 7.

Following her London West End debut, Ferrera will make her Broadway debut in a revival of Beth Henley’s 984 play, “The Miss Firecracker Contest,” the story of a Mississippi woman entering a beauty pageant.

Ferrera will begin rehearsals for the production in March; the play is set to premiere next spring.

HBO Presents “The Latino List”…

This Hispanic Heritage Month, HBO will present a new documentary that offers an enlightening look into the “Latino experience” by presenting highly personal video portraits of Latinos who’ve positively influenced the fabric of contemporary society.

Entitled “The Latino List,” the funny, poignant and irreverent conversations help shine a spotlight on what it means to be a Latino in the United States today.

Directed by acclaimed photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, who directed three editions of HBO’s “The Black List,” the documentary features a diverse range of prominent Latinos from music, science, journalism, theater, politics, business and government.

“The Latino List is an extension of my previous films, which all deal with identity, struggle and achievement,” says Greenfield-Sanders. “We wanted famous names, of course, but also stories from people whom you might not know about,” said Greenfield-Sanders. “I’m very proud of the film and think it has a great emotional resonance.”

Featured interviewees include: Acclaimed writer Sandra Cisneros; Grammy-winning singer Gloria Estefan; Golden Globe-winning actress America Ferrera; NASA astronaut Jose Moreno Hernandez; military veteran Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch; actor/writer/producer John Leguizamo; actress Eva Longoria; U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ); rapper Pitbull; PGA golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez; ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero; radio host Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor; financial advisor Julie Stav; and scholar Dr. Marta Moreno Vega.

Conducted by NPR’s Latino USA anchor Maria Hinojosa, the interviews with the 15 power players discuss the childhood inspirations that fueled their ambitions, how they achieved success, the evolving American cultural landscape they helped mold, the importance of preserving a distinct cultural identity for future generations to embrace, the challenges of discrimination and more.

HBO Latino will broadcast “The Latino List” on Wednesday, September 28 on at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. Meanwhile, the main HBO channel will air the documentary on Thursday, September 29 at 8:00 pm.