Nicolás Pereda’s Narco Culture-Themed Film “Fauna” to Premiere at This Year’s Reimagined Toronto Film Festival

Nicolás Pereda is bringing the faunato this year’s reimagined Toronto Film Festival.

The 38-year-old Mexican filmmaker’s latest film Fauna will be among the film’s screened at the festival, which is North America’s largest festival.

Nicolás Pereda

The film is an exploration of the impact of “narco” culture on Mexican society.

It’ll be Fauna’s official global premiere. An excerpt from the film was screened as part of the “Works in Progress” section of the Los Cabos International Film Festival in 2019,and won the Cinecolor Mexico Award.

This year’s edition will run from September 10–19. As expected, the festival will look different due to the coronavirus.

Organizers say the 45th TIFF will be “tailored to fit the moment,” with a combination of physical screenings and drive-ins, digital screenings, virtual red carpets, press conferences and industry talks. 

There’ll be considerably fewer movies — a selection comprising 50 new features — and the festival isn’t expecting large numbers of international press or industry to attend in person.

In addition to Pereda’s Fauna, this year’s strong crop of early movies confirmed to screen at the festival are the Kate Winslet-starrer AmmoniteThomas Vinterberg’s Another RoundConcrete Cowboy with Idris ElbaGood Joe Bell starring Mark WahlbergSuzanne Lindon’s Spring BlossomTrue Mothers by Naomi Kawase and Halle Berry’s directorial debut BruisedMore titles will be announced over the summer.

The movies will play over the event’s first five days as physical, socially distanced screenings. There will also be five programs of short films, interactive talks, film cast reunions, and Q&As with cast and filmmakers.

However, the festival has acknowledged that its plans for an in-person festival will be contingent on the local government’s “reopening framework to ensure that festival venues and workplaces practice, meet and exceed public health guidelines.” Large gatherings still aren’t permitted in Toronto.

TIFF temporarily closed its year-round offices and cinemas at TIFF Bell Lightbox in March due to the pandemic. The organization is now taking steps to prepare for reopening and working with medical advisors and public health officials to ensure safe conditions.

Meanwhile, TIFF is launching a bespoke digital platform for the festival. The organization has partnered with Shift72 on the platform, which will host digital screenings, talks and special events.

The Industry Conference will be online-only this year, with screenings for press and industry taking place on the digital platform only. The fest says there will be “advanced security and anti-piracy measures, access to buyers, and opportunities for networking.”

For 2020, TIFF says it will welcome 50 filmmakers and actors as TIFF Ambassadors to help the festival deliver its program. They will include Ava DuVernayTaika Waititi, Anurag KashyapNicole KidmanMartin ScorseseNadine LabakiAlfonso CuarónTantoo CardinalRiz Ahmed, Isabelle HuppertClaire DenisAtom EgoyanPriyanka Chopra, Viggo MortensenZhang ZiyiDavid OyelowoLulu Wang, Rosamund PikeSarah Gadon and Denis Villeneuve.

TIFF will also present its annual TIFF Tribute Awards, acknowledging and celebrating outstanding contributors to the film industry. 

Now in its third year, TIFF’s Media Inclusion Initiative will continue to accredit eligible black, indigenous, people of color, LGBTQ+ and female emerging film critics. New this year, TIFF is also offering companies and individuals the opportunity to gift industry access to 250 underrepresented emerging filmmakers from around the world.

Quibi to Stream All-Star Remake of “The Princess Bride” Featuring Jenna Ortega

It’s a royal moment for Jenna Ortega

Starting Monday, Quibi will stream an all-star remake of The Princess Bride filmed by actors at home while in quarantine, including the 17-year-old Puerto Rican and Mexican American actress.

Jenna Ortega

In addition to Ortega, the re-creation will feature an A-list cast that includes couples Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner,Common and Tiffany HaddishNeil Patrick Harris and David Burtka and Chris Pine and Annabelle Wallis, along with Hugh JackmanJennifer GarnerElijah Wood, Jon HammBeanie FeldsteinLucas HedgesJack BlackDavid OyelowoKeegan-Michael KeyPatton OswaltJosh GadAndy SerkisDiego LunaTaika Waititi and Zazie Beetz and more.

Directed by Jason Reitman, the project will see Common playing the heroic Westley (originated by Cary Elwes), Haddish as Princess Buttercup (first played by Robin Wright), and Jackman as the villainous Humperdinck, to name a few.

The Princess Bride’s director, Rob Reiner, will also appear in the remake, along with Fred Savage, who reprises his role as the grandson in the film.

Beginning June 29, Quibi will release chapters of the made-at-home movie daily for two weeks.

The remake also is aiding a good cause. As part of the project, Quibi has donated $1 million to chef José Andrés’ charity World Central Kitchen, which provides meals to those who have been most affected by the coronaviruspandemic.

The remake of The Princess Bridewas first reported by Vanity Fair.

Penelope Cruz to Take Part in One World Campaign’s #PassTheMic COVID-19 Awareness Campaign

Penelope Cruz is passing the mic for a good cause…

The 46-year-old Spanish actress is among the celebrities who’ll be surrendering their social media accounts for ONE World Campaign’s #PassTheMic campaign. 

Penelope Cruz

The campaign will have actors like Cruz, Julia RobertsDanai GuriraHugh JackmanDavid OyelowoShailene Woodley and Rainn Wilson handing over their platforms to global health, economic and policy experts and frontline workers. 

The experts will offer pertinent information grounded in data, science and facts as they address why a global response to this pandemic is so crucial.

The campaign will kick off on Thursday with Roberts handing off her accounts to Dr. Anthony Fauci who is a key member of the White House’s coronavirus task force and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Yemi AladeConnie BrittonMillie Bobby BrownSarah Jessica ParkerBusy PhilippsRita WilsonRobin Wright and more also set to participate. 

Experts taking over their accounts include Bill Frist (physician and former US Senator from Tennessee, Doctor), Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (former President of Liberia), Vera Songwe (Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa), Craig Spencer (Director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine, New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center) among others.

#PasstheMic is part of One’s One World Campaign call-to-action for a global response to COVID-19 looks to protect the most vulnerable and supports people worst hit economically while strengthening health systems and creating a more equal world.

Gina Gallego to Star in Showtime’s Drama Pilot “The President is Missing”

Gina Gallegois feeling presidential

The 64-year-old Mexican American actress has been cast as a series regular opposite David Oyelowo in The President is MissingShowtime’s drama series adaptation of the novel by President Bill Clinton and James Patterson.

Gina Gallego

Hailing from Christopher McQuarrieand Anthony Peckham, The President is Missing centers on a powerless and politically aimless vice president (Oyelowo) who unexpectedly becomes president halfway into his administration’s first term, despite his every wish to the contrary. He walks right into a secret, world-threatening crisis, both inside and outside the White House. Attacked by friends and enemies alike, with scandal and conspiracy swirling around him, he is confronted with a terrible choice: keep his head down, toe the party line and survive, or act on his stubborn, late-developing conscience and take a stand.

Gallego will play Mrs. Aceves, Martin’s executive assistant, a position of influence. She is sweet but also an extremely patient adversary.

The project is based on the book by Clinton and Patterson, which was the No. 1 novel of 2018 and has sold more than 2.3 million copies in North America alone.

Peckham is writing the adaptation.

Gallego’s television credits include Shooter, Crazy Ex-GirlfriendNCISThe MiddleShameless and Grey’s Anatomy,among others. 

Her film work includes Erin BrockovichBeverly Hills ChihuahuaAnger Management and Mr. Deeds

John Ortiz to Star in Transformers Spinoff “Bumblebee”

John Ortiz is transforming his resume…

The 49-year-old Puerto Rican actor is set to star opposite Hailee Steinfeld and Jon Cena in Paramount Pictures’ Bumblebee, the first spinoff of the Transformers franchise.

John Ortiz

It’s set in 1987, where Bumblebee, who is refuged in a junkyard, is discovered and revived by Charlie (Steinfeld) who, on the cusp of turning 18, is trying to find her place in the world.

The blockbuster film, which will open in theaters on December 21, 2018, has Travis Knight directing from a script by Christina Hodson.

Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg are producing with Hasbro’s Brian Goldner and Stephen Davis.

Ortiz’s upcoming film slate includes Paramount’s God Particle, produced by JJ Abrams and starring David OyelowoReplicas opposite Keanu Reeves, and Nostalgia with Jon Hamm.

Lin-Manuel Miranda to Perform at This Year’s Tony Awards

Lin-Manuel Miranda is making his triumphant return to the Tony Awards

The 37-year-old Puerto Rican composer, playwright, actor and singer will perform on Sunday’s Tonycast, almost one year after his hit Broadway musical Hamilton swept the awards.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

The casts of Bandstand, Come From Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Falsettos, Groundhog Day The Musical, Hello, Dolly!, Miss Saigon, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 and War Paint will perform during 71st Annual Tony Awards, which CBS will broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall from 8:00 to 11:00 PM.

There’s still no word on what Miranda will perform.

There will be additional performances by The Radio City Rockettes and Tony Award winners Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple) and Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton).

There will be additional appearances by Scott Bakula, Sara Bareilles, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bloom, Glenn Close, Stephen Colbert, Brian d’Arcy James, Cynthia Erivo, Tina Fey, Sutton Foster, Josh Gad, Whoopi Goldberg, Jonathan Groff, Mark Hamill, Taraji P. Henson, Christopher Jackson, Allison Janney, Scarlett Johansson, Anna Kendrick, Keegan-Michael Key, Nick Kroll, John Legend, John Lithgow, Patina Miller, John Mulaney, David Oyelowo, Chazz Palminteri, Sarah Paulson, Lea Salonga, Tom Sturridge, Tommy Tune, Olivia Wilde, and 2017 Tony nominees Sally Field, Josh Groban, Bette Midler and Ben Platt.

Although Midler will appear as a presenter in one of the acting categories, she is not scheduled to participate in the Hello, Dolly! segment, which will be led by co-star Hyde Pierce. The blockbuster production’s offer to present the title song, or another of Dolly’s show-stoppers, live via remote from the Shubert Theatre was declined by the Tony producers.

The ceremony will be hosted by Tony and Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey.

The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

Disney XD Renews Prinze’s “Star Wars Rebels”

There’s more rebelling in Freddie Prinze Jr.’s future…

Disney XD has ordered a fourth season of the praised animated series Star Wars Rebels, featuring the voice work of the 40-year-old part-Puerto Rican actor.

Freddie Prinze Jr.

From Lucasfilm, the series kicked off fourteen years after the fall of the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and the rise of the Galactic Empire. A motley group of rebels unite aboard a freighter starship called the Ghost and conduct covert operations against the Imperial garrison on and around the planet Lothal and on other planets in the galaxy.

Production is underway for premiere later this fall. Further details will be revealed during Star Wars Celebration in Orlando next month, according to the network.

Currently in its third season, Star Wars Rebels was Disney XD’s No.1 series in Total Viewers and its No.1 animated series across key kid and boy demos in 2016. The series also generated more than 60 million consumer engagements across digital platforms.

In addition to Prinze Jr., who voices the character of Kanan Jarrus, the Season 3 voice cast includes Vanessa Marshall as Hera, Steve Blum as Zeb, Tiya Sircar as Sabine, Taylor Gray as Ezra, Dee Bradley Baker as Captain Rex, David Oyelowo as Agent Kallus, Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera, Sam Witwer as Maul, Tom Baker as Bendu and Lars Mikkelsen as Grand Admiral Thrawn.

“The team behind Star Wars Rebels delivers epic storytelling that has captivated fans of all ages across the globe,” said Marc Buhaj, senior vice president, Programming and general manager, Disney XD. “We’re excited to continue sharing the journey of these fan-favorite Rebels with our audience in the fall.”

Bardem to Serve as a Presenter at This Year’s Academy Awards

Javier Bardem has a date with Oscar

The 47-year-old Spanish actor, who won an Academy Award for his role in No Country for Old Men, will serve as a presenter at the 89th Academy Awards on February 26.

Javier Bardem

In addition to Bardem, the latest list of presenters includes

Amy Adams, Riz Ahmed, John Cho, Dwayne Johnson, Felicity Jones, Leslie Mann, Janelle Monáe, David Oyelowo, Emma Stone and Charlize Theron, according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Previously announced presenters include Halle Berry, Jamie Dornan, Chris Evans, Gael García Bernal, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Dakota Johnson, Shirley MacLaine, Kate McKinnon and Hailee Steinfeld. 

Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the Oscars will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. ABC will broadcast the ceremony live.

Ortiz to Star in the Sci-Fi Film “God Particle”

John Ortiz has landed a God-sized role…

The 48-year-old Puerto Rican has signed on to star in God Particle, the Julius Onah-helmed sci-fi film from Paramount Pictures and JJ AbramsBad Robot.

John Ortiz

The script from 22 Jump Street’s Oren Uziel and Star Trek Beyond’s Doug Jung centers on the effort by scientists aboard an international space station looking for a new energy source to try to tap the power of the mysterious “God Particle,” inadvertently triggering catastrophic side effects.

Production is now set to begin on June 10 in Los Angeles on the movie that already stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Oyelowo, Daniel Bruhl, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris O’Dowd, Zhang Ziyi and Aksel Hennie.

A February 24, 2017 release date has been staked out.

Varela to Star in the Ice Age Epic “The Solutrean”

It’s back to the “ice age, baby” for Leonor Varela

The 43-year-old Chilean actress has landed a supporting role in Studio 8’s ice age epic The Solutrean from director Albert Hughes.

Leonor Varela

Inspired by the controversial “solutrean hypothesis,” which advances the idea that Stone Age Europeans might have been among the earliest settlers of the Americas, the coming-of-age tale of survival is set 20,000 years ago.

It follows a young boy injured during a hunting expedition and left for dead who must use his skills, intuition and force of will to make it back home. Along the way, he befriends a wolf, who becomes his close companion.

Varela is playing the shaman of the boy’s tribe; described as wise, powerful and compelling, she performs religious rituals of protection, healing and thanksgiving.

Varela most recently appeared in Paramount PicturesCaptive, opposite Kate Mara, David Oyelowo and Michael Kenneth Williams.

Her other credits include Ride opposite Helen Hunt and Luke Wilson, a seven-episode arc on TNT’s Dallasand Odd Thomas with Anton Yelchin and Willem Dafoe. She also appeared in Blade II and The Tailor of Panama.