Gael García Bernal is hitting the ring to play a Lucha Libre legend.
The 41-year-old Mexican actor/filmmaker will star in Cassandro, an independent feature from Oscar winning and two-time Emmy nominee filmmaker Roger Ross Williams.
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 Jungle. He was part of the SAG ensemble nominated cast of Paramount’s Babel, and 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.
The 41-year-old Mexican actor and producer will star in People of the Book, a film that Good Films Collective has put together, based on the New York Times bestseller from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks.
Garcia Bernal will star opposite Nazanin Boniadi and Jason Isaacs will star in the film, which tells the moving history behind the creation of the Sarajevo Haggadah— an illuminated manuscript that contains the illustrated traditional text of the Passover Haggadah which accompanies the Passover Seder.
It originated in Barcelona in 1350, and the film will tell the journey taken by people from different cultures and religions who risked their lives to save it.
The film will be helmed by Academy Award winner Danis Tanovic and is written by Petter Skavlan.
The 39-year-old Mexican actor will star alongside Javier Bardem in the untitled Cortés and Moctezuma project from Amazon Studios and Amblin Television.
Yoshira Escárrega has also been cast in the project.
The limited series will be a four-hour epic drama that maps the inexorable march and eventual clash between Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortésand Aztec Emperor Moctezuma II, leading to the annihilation of an empire and tragic downfall of a civilization that took centuries to build, but less than two years to destroy.
Oscarwinner Bardem was announced in the role of Cortés last year and will also serve as an executive producer on the project.
Huerta will play Moctezuma, the Emperor of the Aztecs. Escárrega will play Marina, strategic partner, translator and consort to Hernán Cortés.
From Amazon Studios and Amblin Television, the limited series is created for television and written by Academy Award-winner Steven Zaillian and based on the screenplay by Dalton Trumbo. The series is directed by Ciro Guerraand Cristina Gallego.
Bardem will executive produce alongside Zaillian, Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna and more.
Huerta recently wrapped filming a starring role in the Blumhousefeature film, Borderline, the latest installment in the Purge franchise. He’s known for his role as the infamous Rafael Caro Quintero in Netflix’s Narcos: Mexico, opposite Diego Luna and Michael Pena. He also appeared in a key role in the Paul Weitz-directed Bel Canto, which starred Julianne Mooreand Ken Watanabe.
Escárrega is a film and theater actress born in Mazatlán, Sinaloa and a graduate of Escuela Nacional de Arte Teatral. Her latest work in television includes notable roles in Aquí en la Tierra directed by Gael García Bernal for Fox Premium Latinoaméricaand Dani Who for Paramount Channel Latinoamérica. She recently worked in films with acclaimed directors Alonso Ruiz Palaciosand Ximena Montemayor.
Music Box Filmshas acquired the U.S. distribution rights to the 43-year-old Chilean filmmaker’s Venice Film Festival drama Ema, starring newcomer Mariana Di Girolamo, Gael García Bernaland Santiago Cabrera.
Music Box plans to release the Sundance Film Festival-bound drama in theaters in summer 2020.
Ema charts a woman’s odyssey of personal liberation after a shocking incident upends her family life and marriage to a tempestuous choreographer.
“I feel proud and excited to be working again with Music Box Films, a wonderful company for a movie like Emain the USA,” said feted Chilean director Larraín. “It’s truly amazing.”
The distributor previously released Larrain’s 2015 film The Club.
“This is one of those films that you have to see to believe,” added Music Box Films’ president William Schopf. “Entirely singular, hypnotic, and compelling, it’s a film that absolutely seduces the senses.”
Emamarks the third collaboration between Larraín and García Bernal, after they previously worked together on No(2012) and Neruda(2016).
The 40-year-old Mexican actor/producer has been cast as the lead in Showtime’s thriller drama pilot Hombre, which hails from BAFTA nominee Jonas Cuarón (Gravity).
Garcia Bernal, who won a Golden Globe for his lead role in Mozart in the Jungle, will star alongside Marisé Alvarez (The Vessel),Greg Grunberg(A Star Is Born), Pepi Sonuga (Famous In Love), Adriana Santos(Taken) and newcomer Noah Reyes in the pilot, which is set to begin production at the end of April in Los Angeles.
Created by Cuarón, who also will direct the pilot, Hombre centers on a Mexican-American family man named Marcos Osuna (Bernal) who is living undocumented in the United States. When his wife Leticia is detained by ICE, Marcos, both desperate and resourceful, goes to unprecedented lengths to get her back. The project is an emotional thriller about a man enmeshed in a dangerous double life, contending with powerful forces set on thwarting his unwavering desire to unite his family.
Hombre is a co-production between Showtime and Makeready.
Alvarez will play Marcos’ smart and selfless wife Leticia, whose detention by ICE proves to be the ultimate test on her marriage and close-knit family.
Sonuga will play Adanna, a kind-hearted undocumented immigrant from Nigeria who works with Marcos at a motel. Grunberg will play Norm, a friendly and well-intended ICE trainee.
Santos will play Leticia’s sister Teresa. Reyes will play Marcos’ and Leticia’s pre-adolescent son Anthony.
Alvarez recently appeared in the feature films The Vessel and Imprisoned, and the Spanish mini-series En el corredor de la muerte. She had her first notable role in the Puerto Rican feature Maldeamores, and starred in Steve Soderbergh’s Che: Part One and Che: Part Two.
Santos can be seen in the upcoming filmNight Swim directed by Victoria Riverapremiering at Tribeca. Her television credits include Taken, Sweetbitter andDaredevil.
Reyes is a newcomer from Ontario, California. Hombre marks his first television series regular role.
The 30-year-old Cuban actress will co-star in Olivier Assayas’Wasp Network, the spy drama based on Fernando Morais’ book The Last Soldiers of the Cold War.
de Armas joins previously announced cast members Edgar Ramírez, Penélope Cruz, Pedro Pascal,Wagner Moura and Gael García Bernal.
The film, which will go before cameras in Havana at the end of this month, tells the true story of Cuban spies in the American territory during the 1990s, revealing the tentacles of a Florida-based terrorist network with ramifications in Central America and with the consent of the U.S. government.
de Armas’ credits include Blade Runner 2049, War Dogsand Hands of Stone.
Her upcoming slate includes Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, opposite Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Lakeith Stanfield and Michael Shannon; Universal/Working Title’s untitled Danny Boyle romantic comedy with Lily James, Kate McKinnon, Himesh Patel, and Ed Sheeran; as well as The Night Clerkwith Tye Sheridan and Helen Hunt.
The 39-year-old Mexican actor/filmmaker will perform at this year’s Academy Awards, according to the show’s producers.
Garcia Bernal will be among the artists tackling this year’s Oscar nominated songs.
Garcia Bernal will be joined by Natalia LaFourcade and Miguel to sing “Remember Me” from Disney/Pixar’s Coco; with music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.
Garcia Bernal voiced the character of deceased songwriter Héctor Rivera in the animated film, and his character wrote the song.
Other performers include Mary J. Blige, Andra Day, Keala Settle, Sufjan Stevens and Common.
Blige will perform “Mighty River.” Blige performed the song forMudbound, and she’s nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category. Blige wrote the Oscar-nominated song with Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson.
Common and Andra Day will perform his Oscar-nominated song “Stand Up For Something” from Marshall, his collaboration with Diane Warren.
Settle will perform the Oscar-nominated song “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman.
Stevens will perform his Oscar-nominated song “Mystery of Love,” written for Call Me by Your Name.
“We’re excited to have these talented artists showcase the powerful contribution music makes to film making,” said De Luca and Todd. “It’s a privilege to welcome them to the 90th Oscars stage.”
The Jimmy Kimmel-hosted show is set for Sunday, March 4.
Sebastián Lelio is one step closer to a special date with Oscar…
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has whittled through 92 submissions to come up with its shortlist of nine titles to advance in the Best Foreign Language Film category this year, with the 43-year-old Argentinian-born Chilean filmmaker still in the running.
Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman, Chile’s pick to enter the race for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, joins other favorites like Ruben Ostlund’s The Square (Sweden) and Lovelessfrom Russia’s Andrey Zvyagintsev in advancing to the next round.
Each of those was nominated for a Golden Globe earlier this week. As was Fatih Akin’s Germany terrorism drama In The Fade, which has seen its street cred solidified by the Academy with tonight’s shortlist inclusion.
The final five Academy Award nominations in the race will be announced along with the rest of the categories on January 23.
Films also making the cut include BerlinaleGolden Bear winner On Body And Soul from resurgent Turkish director Ildikó Enyedi; and Venice favorites Foxtrot, from Israel’s Samuel Maoz, and The Insult by Franco-Lebanese helmer Ziad Doueiri.
The last Spanish-language film to earn a nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category was Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent (representing Colombia) in 2015.
The Last Spanish-language film to win the Oscar in the category was Juan José Campanella’s The Secret in Their Eyes (representing Argentina) in 2009.
In 2012, Chile earned its first and only Oscar nomination in the category with Pablo Larrain’s No, which starred Gael Garcia Bernal.
Here’s this year’s complete shortlist:
Chile, A Fantastic Woman, Sebastián Lelio, director;
Germany, In the Fade, Fatih Akin, director;
Hungary, On Body and Soul, Ildikó Enyedi, director;
Israel, Foxtrot, Samuel Maoz, director;
Lebanon, The Insult, Ziad Doueiri, dirctor;
Russia, Loveless, Andrey Zvyagintsev, director;
Senegal, Félicité, Alain Gomis, director;
South Africa, The Wound, John Trengove, director;
Sweden, The Square, Ruben Östlund, director.
He’s nowhere near voting age, but Anthony Gonzalez is beating superheroes at the box office…
The 13-year-old Latino actor voices the character of Miguel, a young Mexican boy with musical dreams who has a wondrous adventure in the Land of the Dead in Disney–Pixar’s animated film Coco, which won the Thanksgiving holiday box office.
Gonzalez’s Coco earned $71.2 million at 3,987 North American sites during the Wednesday-Sunday period, while Warner Bros.–DC Entertainment’s Justice League pulled in $60 million at 4,051 locations during the same timeframe in its second weekend in theaters.
Coco posted for the fourth-best Thanksgiving holiday opening ever, trailing three other Disney titles — Frozen with $93 million in 2013, Moana with $82 million in 2017 and Toy Story 3 with $80 million in 2010.
Audiences surveyed by comScore’s PostTrak gave Coco strong ratings with 66% calling it “excellent,” and another 23% rating it “very good.” Surveys also showed 77% of viewers saying they would “definitely recommend” the movie to friends and 20% saying they would watch it again in a theater.
Coco, directed by Lee Unkrich and co-directed by Adrian Molina, is based on the traditions surrounding the Day of the Dead holiday in Mexico and centers on a 12-year-old boy who dreams of becoming a musician and explores his family history in the Land of the Dead. The studio hasn’t released a price for the movie. Disney-Pixar titles are usually budgeted in the $175 million to $200 million range.
In addition to Gonzalez, in his breakout role, Coco’s ensemble voice cast includes Benjamin Bratt, Gael Garcia Bernal, Renee Victor, Edward James Olmos, Ana Ofelia Murguia, Jaime Camil, Sofia Espinosa, Gabriel Iglesias, Cheech Marin and Lombardo Boyar.
The holiday weekend is one of the busiest moviegoing periods of the year. According to comScore, this year’s five-day Thanksgiving weekend saw total grosses his $268 million — $7.5 million better than last year’s when Moana opened with $82 million, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them taking in $65 million in its second weekend.
The strong holiday performance left the 2017 overall domestic total at $9.71 billion, or 4% behind the same point last year, according to comScore. The industry fell behind last year’s record-setting total due to downbeat performances in August and October — so much so that the much-anticipated Dec. 15 opening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi will probably not be enough to pulled this year even.