Mel Rodriguez to Star in CBS’ Upcoming Series “CSI: Vegas”

Mel Rodriguez is joining the force…

The 47-year-old Latino actor has been cast as one of the leads in CSI: Vegas, which Deadline.com reports is nearing a formal straight-to-series order at CBS.

Mel Rodriguez

Rodriguez will star opposite Paula Newsome and Matt Lauria in CSI: Vegas, which serves as a sequel to the mothership CSI series, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

William Petersen and Jorja Fox are reportedly finalizing their deals to star in CSI: Vegas, reprising their roles as Gil Grissom and Sara Sidle, respectively.

While billed as an event series, CSI: Vegas, from writer Jason Tracey, CBS Studios and Jerry Bruckheimer Television, could become an ongoing series running for multiple seasons.

With CSI: Vegas, the most watched drama series of the 21st century, CSI, opens a new chapter in Las Vegas, the city where it all began. Facing an existential threat that could bring down the Crime Lab, a brilliant team of forensic investigators must welcome back old friends and deploy new techniques to preserve and serve justice in Sin City.

Rodriguez is said to be playing Hugo, who took over as Head Medical Examiner three years ago. He has an endless fascination with the bodies that find their way onto his slab, and the morgue is his happy place. Rodrigues previously guest starred in an episode of CSI: NY (character name: Al McGrath).

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation bowed out in 2015 after 15 seasons, having launched a $1 billion franchise for CBS that spanned four series; CSI and spinoffs CSI: Miami, CSI: New York and CSI: Cyber.

Rodriguez was most recently a series regular on the Showtime series On Becoming a God In Central Florida opposite Kirsten Dunst. He was also seen opposite Anne Hathaway in Dee Rees’ The Last Thing He Wanted for Netflix. Additionally, Rodriguez recently voiced Officer Colt Bronco in the DisneyPixar animated feature Onward.

Javier Bardem In Talks to Portray Desi Arnaz in Amazon & Aaron Sorkin’s “Being the Ricardos”

Javier Bardem may soon be saying, “Lucy, I’m Home!”

The 51-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actor is in talks to play Desi Arnaz opposite Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball in Amazon and Aaron Sorkin’s Being the Ricardos.

Javier Bardem

The film centers on the relationship between the I Love Lucy stars. Having penned the screenplay, Academy Award winner Sorkin also will direct the film from Amazon Studios and Escape Artists.

The film is set during one production week of I Love Lucy — Monday table read through Friday audience filming— when Lucy and Desi face a crisis that could end their careers and another that could end their marriage.

Sorkin originally was going to pen the script only, when Cate Blanchett was circling, but after enjoying himself on the drama The Trial of the Chicago 7, he decided to attach himself as a director as well over the summer.

After The Trial of the Chicago 7 bowed on Netflix in October, Being the Ricardos began to gain momentum with Kidman and Bardem quickly interested in the couple behind television’s first family. Deals still need to close for both actors, but even if and when they do, when production will start is still up in the air as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to push productions throughout the country.

After years as one of Hollywood’s most prolific screenwriters with such classics as A Few Good Men, Moneyball and his Oscar-winning The Social NetworkSorkin has found himself more and more behind the camera as well. His directing debut was the drama Molly’s Game starring Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba, and he followed that up with The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Bardem most recently starred in The Roads Not Taken and can next be seen in Legendary’s DuneHe also is set to play King Triton in Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid.

Zoe Saldana to Star in David O. Russell’s Untitled New Regency Film

Zoe Saldana has lined up her next film project…

The 42-year-old Puerto Rican and Dominican American actress has joined the ensemble cast of David O. Russell’s untitled New Regency film.

Zoë Saldaña

Saldana will star opposite Rami Malek, Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and John David Washington in the film.

The production, based on an original idea from Russell, is currently underway. Plot details are being kept under wraps.

Saldana will next be seen reprising her role of Neytiri in the upcoming second installment in the Avatar franchise. She’s also returning as Gamora in Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and recently joined Jennifer Garner and Ryan Reynolds in The Adam Project for Netflix and Skydance.

The Launch of Jennifer Lopez’s “Marry Me,” Co-Starring Maluma, Moves to May 2021

Jennifer Lopez’s wedding bells will have to wait a little longer…

Universal Pictures’ music fueled romantic comedy Marry Me, starring the 51-year-old Puerto Rican actress/singer and Maluma, is moving from Presidents DayValentine’s Day weekend on the theatrical release calendar next year, February 12 and moving to May 14, 2021.

Maluma, Jennifer Lopez

Marry Me will take the place of DreamWorks Animation’s untitled Spirit Riding Free movie, which has now been titled Spirit UntamedThat animated pic will now open on June 4, 2021.

This is one of Lopez and Wilson’s highest tested features, and Universal wants to make an event out of this, at an opportune time on the calendar.

Marry Me leaves behind a weekend that has Disney/20th Century Studios’ The King’s Man prequel and Paramount’s untitled Lee Daniels Billie Holiday movie on Feb. 12, and goes to a frame where it’s facing off against Paramount’s Animation feature Rumble. Spirit Untamed joins a weekend, though it looks busy, is apt to loosen up with Paramount’s Micronautdated there, Sony Animation’s VivoNew Line’s Conjuring 3 and MGM’s Samaritan

The feature hasoriginal songs from Lopez and Maluma. Lopez stars as musical superstar Kat Valdez and Owen Wilson as Charlie Gilbert, a math teacher—total strangers who agree to marry and then get to know each other. An unlikely romance about two different people searching for something real in a world where value is based on likes and followers, the pic explores celebrity, marriage and social media.

Kat Coiro directs from a screenplay by John Rogers, Tami Sagher and Harper Dill based on the graphic novel by Bobby Crosby.

Sofia Carson to Star in the YA Romance “Purple Hearts”

Sofia Carson is in a purple haze…

The 27-year-old Colombian American actress & singer will star opposite Charles Melton in director Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum’s YA romance Purple Hearts about two star-crossed lovers.

Sofia Carson

Adapted from Tess Wakefield’s novel by Tony Award-nominee Kyle Jarrow and Liz Garcia, Rosenbaum will direct the story of aspiring singer-songwriter Cassie and military man Luke, who in spite of their apparent differences, fall hopelessly in love.

Purple Hearts provides hope that two people with such differing world views, stuck in the same place, forced to fight the same fight, might be able to learn a little about each other’s beliefs, get over their own bullshit, start to understand each other and just maybe fall in love. It’s a very timely, emotional story – truly a romance for the ages,” says Rosenbaum.

Carson will also write and perform the film’s original soundtrack.

The film is produced by YA-book-to-screen specialists Alloy Entertainment, known for content including Everything, EverythingGossip GirlPretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries.

Principal photography is due to start in May 2021 in Austin, Texas.

Best known for her role as Evie in Disney’s Descendants franchise and Freeform series Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, Carson recently made her feature debut in Netflix movie Feel The Beat. Next up she will star alongside KJ Apa in pandemic thriller Songbird, produced by Michael Bay.

Disney Releases First Trailer for the Carlos López Estrada-Directed Animated Film “Raya and the Last Dragon”

Carlos López Estrada’s sharing his Ray(a) sunshine…

Disney has released the first trailer for Raya and the Last Dragon, directed by the 32-year-old Mexican music video, commercial and film director and Don Hall.

Carlos Lopez Estrada

“This world has changed,” says Raya, the warrior heroine voiced by Kelly Marie Tran, “and its people are divided. Now to restore peace I must find the last dragon.” And for a final trailer image that should speak to today’s audiences, Raya pulls down the sand mask that’s been covering her mouth as the voice-over declares her name.

 

The official synopsis: “Long ago, in the fantasy world of Kumandra, humans and dragons lived together in harmony. But when an evil force threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, that same evil has returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the legendary last dragon to restore the fractured land and its divided people. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than a dragon to save the world—it’s going to take trust and teamwork as well.”

Raya and the Last DragonTran joined the project in August, teaming up with Awkawafina, who plays a dragon in human form named Sisu.

Hall and Estrada direct, with Paul Briggs and John Ripa co-directing.

Raya and the Last Dragon from Walt Disney Animation Studio opens in U.S. theaters on March 12, 2021.

Carlos López Estrada Co-Directing Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Feature “Raya and the Last Dragon”

There’s a bright raya of light for Carlos López Estrada.

The 31-year-old Mexican-American music video, commercial and film director will co-direct Walt Disney Animation Studios’ animated feature Raya and the Last Dragon, starring Kelly Marie Tran as titular heroine.

Carlos Lopez Estrada

Raya and the Last Dragon is set in the fantasy kingdom of Kumandra and follows a warrior who teams up with a crew of misfits in her quest to find the Last Dragon and bring light and unity back to their world. Tran is part of the voice cast that includes Awkawafina, who plays a dragon in human form named Sisu.

Raya and the Last Dragon

Lopez Estrada will co-direct the film with Don Hall, Paul Briggs and John Ripa.

Playwright Qui Nguyen serves as a co-writer with Adele Lim on the project.

“As filmmakers, Don and Carlos bring a combination of animation know-how and emotional storytelling to Raya and the Last Dragon, bringing our fantasy adventure to surprising, original, and dynamic heights,” said Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Chief Creative Officer Jennifer Lee. “They both saw the potential for this film and had a strong vision for the story, especially for our lead character, played by the wonderfully talented Kelly Marie Tran. And no small feat, directors Don and Carlos, writers Qui and Adele, and the entire crew of 400 Disney Animation artists are making this film together, while separated and working from home.”

Raya and the Last Dragon is set to debut on March 12, 2021.

Lopez Estrada, who earned a Latin Grammy in the Best Short Form Music Video category for directing Jesse & Joy’s “Me Voy” music video, previously directed Blindspotting.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Makes Career Debut on Forbes’ Highest-Paid Actors List

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s makin’ bank…

Forbes has released its ranking of the world’s highest-paid actors, with the 40-year-old Puerto Rican actor, singer, rapper and playwright making the list for the first time in his career.

Lin-Manuel Miranda 

Miranda, who has starred in Speech & Debate, Mary Poppins Returns and The Odd Life of Timothy Green, comes in at No. 7 with earnings of $45.5 million.

Helping Miranda land on the list? Disney’s acquisition of the worldwide film rights to Miranda’s Tony Award-winning original Broadway production of Hamilton for $75 million this year.

Even with Broadway closed for the remainder of 2020, Miranda can expect another big payday next year when the film version of his other Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights comes out.

This year’s highest paid actor is Dwayne Johnson, for the second year in a row, with earning of $87.5 million.

Methodology: Earnings estimates are based on data from Nielsen, ComScore, Box Office Mojo and IMDB, as well as interviews with industry insiders. All figures are pretax and reflect earnings between June 1, 2019, and June 1, 2020; fees for agents, managers and lawyers (generally 10%, 15% and 5%, respectively) are not deducted. The list of highest-paid female actors will be out next month.

Click here to see the full list.

Jared Leto to Star in the Next Installment of Disney’s “Tron”

Jared Leto’s latest project is revving up…

The 48-year-old part-Spanish Oscar-winning actor and Thirty Seconds to Mars frontman will star in the next installment of Disney’s sci-fi franchise Tron.

Jared Leto

The film will be directed by Garth Davis, who directed the critically acclaimed 2016 drama Lion, which received six Oscar nominations including one for Best Picture

Jesse Wigutow wrote the most recent draft of the script. Leto is producing along with Justin Springer and Emma Ludbrook.

The original 1982 film starring Jeff Bridges was set inside the computer program called the Grid, where a computer hacker is abducted and forced to participate in gladiatorial games. The film wasn’t a hit and received mixed reviews, even though its special effects were seen as game-changing at the time. The cult following that swelled around the film in years to come as it played on cable only helped grow its popularity, to the point where Disney decided to move forward with a sequel, Tron: Legacy, in 2010, with Bridges reprising his role and Garret Hedlund and Olivia Wilde joining the franchise.

That film did go on to have box office success, bringing in $400 million globally, but even so plans for a sequel were pushed while Disney figured out how to move the story forward. 

The studio eventually scrapped plans for a direct sequel to Tron: Legacyand has been taking time to figure out next steps for this project.

Leto, who earned an Academy Award for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club, will next be seen in Morbius and The Little Things. His previous credits include Suicide SquadBlade Runner 2049Phone Booth and Panic Room.

Netflix to Release Madison Reyes’ “Julie and the Phantoms,” From Kenny Ortega, in September

Madison Reyes is ready to rock…

Netflix has released new details on its upcoming musical series from Kenny OrtegaJulie and the Phantoms, starring the Latina actress

Julie and the Phantoms

Reyes has been cast as the lead of the live-action series, which will premiere on September 10. She plays Julie, a high school student who lost her passion for music after her mom’s death a year earlier. 

But when the ghosts of three dreamy musicians (Charlie GillespieJeremy ShadaOwen Patrick Joyner) from 1995 suddenly appear in her mom’s old music studio, Julie feels her own inner spirit begin to reawaken, and she’s inspired to start singing and writing songs again. As their friendship with Julie grows, the boys convince her to create a new band together: Julie and the Phantoms.

Julie and the Phantoms

Booboo StewartCheyenne JacksonCarlos PonceSonny BustamanteJadah MarieSacha Carlson and Savannah Lee May round out the cast. 

Ortega, who helmed Disney’s High School Musical and Descendants films and Michael Jackson’s This Is It, will direct some of the episodes of the single-camera series

The series is part of a multi-year Netflix deal Ortega signed in 2019.