Gael Garcia Bernal to Star as Saul Armendariz, aka the Liberace of Lucha Libre, in the Biopic “Cassandro”

Gael García Bernal is hitting the ring to play a Lucha Libre legend.

The 41-year-old Mexican actor/filmmaker will star in Cassandroan independent feature from Oscar winning and two-time Emmy nominee filmmaker Roger Ross Williams.

Gael García Bernal

Cassandro tells the true story of Saúl Armendáriz, a gay amateur wrestler from El Paso who rises to international stardom after he creates the “exotico” character Cassandro, the “Liberace of Lucha Libre,” and in the process upends not just the macho wrestling world but also his own life.

Armendáriz at the age of 15 quit school and began training for Lucha Libre, beginning his professional wrestling career in 1988 under the mask as Mister Romano. Ultimately he would abandon the character and take on the exotico character of Baby Sharon. Exoticos are male wrestlers who dress in drag.

Ultimately, Armendáriz would take the new ring name of Cassandro, from a Tijuana brothel keeper Cassandra whom he appreciated.

In January 1991, after bad press that he was going to wrestle El Hijo del Santo in the UWA World Welterweight Championship, Armendáriz reportedly attempted suicide by cutting his wrists with a razor blade, but was saved.

The title match occurred a week later and Armendáriz credits it as the match that earned him the lucha libre community’s acceptance.

While Cassandro failed to win the UWA World Welterweight Championship from El Hijo del Santo, he managed to win his first title, the UWA World Lightweight Championship in October 1992, by defeating Lasser, becoming the first exótico in history to hold a championship in UWA.

Bernal, who will star in M. Night Shyamalan’s new secret movie from Universal, will shoot that movie first before stepping into the ring for Cassandro, which is eyeing a November start in Mexico.

Cassandro will rep the feature narrative directorial debut for Williams, who took home the Oscar for his short docu Music by Prudence in 2010, and recently was nominated at the Emmys a second time, this time in Outstanding Documentary/Nonfiction Special category for the HBO doc The Apollo. That movie, which made its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, follows the historic and famed Harlem NYC venue and its legacy.

“As a filmmaker, my own life experience has inspired my passion to tell inspirational stories about outsiders and uplift the voices of people we don’t normally see on screen. The true story of Cassandro, Saúl Armendáriz, was one I knew I wanted to tell from the moment I met him. I look forward to being able to bring Saúl’s story to a wide audience,” said Williams.

Williams wrote Cassandro with Emmy-winner David Teague and Julián Herbert (Satelite).

Bernal is a two-time Golden Globe nominee and winner for the Amazon series Mozart in the JungleHe was part of the SAG ensemble nominated cast of Paramount’s Babeland a BAFTA nominee for Focus Features’ 2004 The Motorcycle Diaries

The filmmakers are reportedly in talks with Amazon to acquire Cassandro once complete, but that deal is contingent on several factors before it’s a negative pick-up.

Focus Features Releases Trailer for Gina Rodriguez’s Grifter Comedy “Kajillionaire”

Gina Rodriguez wants to be a kajillionaire

Focus Features has released the first trailer for KajillionaireMiranda July’s Sundance comedy about a family of grifters starring the 36-year-old Puerto Rican actress and former Jane the Virgin star.

Gina Rodriguez

“Most people wanna be kajillionaires,” Dad says in the clip. “That’s the dream. That’s how they get you hooked — hooked on sugar, hooked on caffeine. Ha, ha, ha, cry, cry, cry. Me? I prefer to just skim.” His daughter looks up and says, “So do I.”

Here is your logline: Con artists Theresa (Debra Winger) and Robert (Richard Jenkins) have spent 26 years training their only daughter, Old Dollo (Evan Rachel Wood), to swindle, scam and steal at every opportunity.

“She learned to forge before she learned to write,” Pops boasts of Old Dollo. “Actually, that’s how she did learn to write.”

During a desperate, hastily conceived heist, they charm a stranger (Rodriguez) into joining their next scam, only to have their entire world turned upside down.

July wrote and directed Kajillionaire as her first feature since 2011’s The Future.

The trailer features “Mr. Lonely,” a song performed by Angel OlsenEmile Mosseri, the latter being the film’s composer. 

Produced by Plan B and Annapurna Pictures,Focus Features plans to release the film in theaters in September.

Focus Features to Adapt Amber Garza’s Novel “When I Was Young” into a Film

Amber Garza’s words will be coming to life on the big screen…

Focus Features and Will Packer Productions are developing When I Was You, a feature adaptation based on the forthcoming book from the Latina author.

Amber Garza

Described as a female-driven thriller, When I Was You centers on Kelly Medina, whose obsession starts on an ordinary fall morning when she gets a call from her son’s pediatrician. It’s a cruel mistake; her son left for college a year ago. The receptionist quickly apologizes: another Kelly Medina, who’s half her age, is a new patient.

For days, Kelly can’t stop thinking about the woman who shares her name, lives in her same town, has a baby, and her whole life ahead of her. When Kelly just happens to bump into the single mother outside that pediatrician’s office, it’s simple curiosity getting the better of her. When they become friends, Kelly can’t help but find a renewed sense of purpose taking care of this young woman and her adorable baby boy. And when one Kelly disappears, well, the other one may know why.

The book is slated for release, via MIRA, in August 2020. Will Packer and James Lopezwill produce the film project under the Will Packer Productions banner.

Garza’s works include The Girl Frozen in TimeThe Last Time I Saw Her, and the Prowl trilogy.

Focus Features to Release Rosie Perez’s Zombie Movie “The Dead Don’t Die” in June

Rosie Perez is preparing for the Dead days of summer…

Focus Features will release Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die, starring the 54-year-old Puerto Rican actress,wide on June 14 this year.

Rosie Perez

Billed as “the greatest zombie cast ever disassembled”, The Dead Don’t Die boasts an all-star cast of Perez, Bill Murray, Adam DriverTilda SwintonChloë Sevigny, Steve BuscemiDanny GloverCaleb Landry JonesIggy PopSara DriverRZASelena GomezCarol Kane and Tom Waits

Jarmusch writes and directs the film his third with Focus Features. The studio previously released the filmmaker’s highest-grossing pic in his canon, 2005’s Broken Flowers starring Bill Murray which made $13.7M.

Focus Features and Universal Pictures Internationalwill distribute the film worldwide.

Focus Features Releases Trailer for Penelope Cruz & Javier Bardem’s “Everybody Knows”

Penélope Cruz is a mother in despair…

Focus Features has released a trailer for Everybody Knows, a Spanish-language film starring the 44-year-old Spanish actress and her actor-husband Javier Bardem.

Everybody Knows

The film, Asghar Farhadi’s follow-up to his Oscar winner The Salesman, the film centers on Laura (Cruz) on her travels from Argentina to her small hometown in Spain for her sister’s wedding, bringing her two children with her. Amid the joyful reunion and festivities, the eldest daughter is abducted. In the tense days that follow, various family and community tensions surface and deeply hidden secrets are revealed. Ricardo Darín co-stars.

Focus Features scored a rights deal in May after the film had its world premiere as the opening film at the Cannes Film Festival. It now will have a platform release beginning February 8.

Focus Features to Release Penelope Cruz & Javier Bardem’s “Everybody Knows” in February

Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem will have a thrilling Valentine’s month…

Focus Features has set a February 8 limited release date for Everybody KnowsAsghar Farhadi’s psychological thriller starring the 44-year-old Spanish actress and her 49-year-old Spanish actor husband.

Penelope Cruz & Javier Bardem Everybody Knows

The film, which also stars Ricardo Darín, opened the Cannes Film Festival in May.

Written and directed by Farhadi, the Spanish-language film first will get a brief Oscar-qualifying run starting on November 30.

It follows Laura (Cruz) on her travels with her two kids from Argentina to her small hometown in Spain for her sister’s wedding. Amid the joyful reunion and festivities, the eldest daughter is abducted. In the tense days that follow, various family and community tensions surface and deeply hidden secrets are revealed.

At the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, Farhadi talked about his inspiration for the movie. “It comes from a trip I had to Spain with my family 15 years ago, he said. “My daughter was very small at that time, and she saw photos of a girl on the wall in the street. She asked my interpreter, ‘Who is she?’ and he explained to us that there had been a kidnapping. My daughter was afraid for the whole trip. And from that time, I was thinking about this situation, in which a family would lose one member. … It was with me for a long time.”

Ismael Cruz Córdova to Star in the Period Drama “Mary, Queen of Scots”

Great Scots! Ismael Cruz Córdova has landed a new role…

The 30-year-old Puerto Rican actor has joined the cast of Working Title and Focus Features’ period drama Mary, Queen of Scots.

Ismael Cruz Córdova

Josie Rourke is directing the film from a script by Beau Willimon, with Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie starring.

The story explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart (Ronan), Queen of France at 16 and widow at 18 who defies pressure to remarry. Instead, she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne, but Scotland and England fall under the rule of the compelling Elizabeth I.

Cordova will play the role of Rizzio, Mary’s confidant.

Production is underway in England and Scotland.

Cordova recently had a standout performance as the troubled boxer Hector Campos on Season 4 of Showtime’s Ray Donovan. He recently wrapped his role as the male lead opposite Gina Rodriguez in the Catherine Hardwicke-helmed remake Miss Bala and also appeared in Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.

Focus Features to Release Bayona’s “A Monster Calls” in October

It looks like J.A. Bayona will have a Monster October…

Focus Features will release the 41-year-old Spanish filmmaker’s fantasy drama A Monster Calls on October 21, one week later than originally planned.

J.A. Bayona & A Monster Calls Cast

Written by Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls follows a boy who seeks the help of a tree monster so that he can cope with his single mother’s terminal disease. The monster tells him stories to help him cope with his life, though he has difficulty understanding the point of the bizarre tales. The boy doesn’t get along with his grandmother, which is unfortunate because he will have to live with her when his mother passes away.

J.A. Bayona & A Monster Calls Cast

Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall and Liam Neeson star.

Bayona’s previous feature The Impossible played during awards season 2012 and focused on a family in peril during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in Thailand.

Thorne Signs with Creative Artists Agency (CAA)

Bella Thorne is getting Creative

The 18-year-old half Cuban American actress/singer and former Disney Channel star has signed with the Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

Bella Thorne

The move comes as Thorne, who has been branching out fast into feature films as both an actress and producer, just finished filming Midnight Sun opposite Patrick Schwarzenegger, Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween and The Babysitter with Robbie Amell and directed by McG.

On the TV side, her Freeform pilot Famous in Love, adapted by Marlene King, has landed a series order.

Her recent credits include the SXSW pic Shovel Buddies, which she also produced, and Thorne now is in production on a second Awesomeness Films movie, You Get Me, in which she will also star and produce. She is voicing a role in Focus Features’ animated Ratchet and Clank and over the summer will begin production on Xavier Dolan’s The Death and Life of John F. Donovan.

She had been repped by WME.

Thorne has 11.3 million Instagram followers, 9.9 million Facebook fans and 6.3 million Twitter followers. She also has a novel, Autumn Falls, and another, Autumn’s Kiss, coming in the fall.

Pathé to Release Bonham Carter’s “Suffragette” in October

Helena Bonham Carter is bringing the historic fight for women’s voting rights to the big screen in the United Kingdom…

Pathé has announced plans to release Suffragette, starring the 48-year-old part-Spanish actress, on October 30 in the UK.

Helena Bonham Carter in Suffragette

From director Sarah Gavron, the drama also stars Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep. Focus Features has set Suffragette for a domestic awards season release on October 23.

The film tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement as they fought for the right to vote in Britain. Radicalized and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality. The pic centers on Maud (Mulligan), a working wife and mother who decides she must fight for her dignity both at home and in her workplace.

With the UK’s General Election coming up on May 7, and given that nine million women failed to vote in the 2010 election, there is a major campaign under way in Britain to get women to register by the April 20 deadline. In support of the movement, Pathé has released a new teaser trailer.

“Never give up the fight,” Streep’s Emmeline Pankhurst tells Mulligan’s Maud.

Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff and Ben Whishaw also star. Abi Morgan wrote the script.