Jimmy Smits Taking Part in PBS’ Virtual “National Memorial Day Concert”

Jimmy Smits is honoring the military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces in a special way…

The 64-year-old half-Puerto Rican actor will be taking part in the National Memorial Day Concert.

Jimmy Smits

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, this year’s show will be a virtual concert. But creators hope it takes on a special resonance.

“These important rituals and holidays have a whole meaning for all of this time too,” said executive producer Michael Colbert. “We are certainly completely focused on what Memorial Day is, but I feel like at this time it is touching so many of us today.”

The National Memorial Day Concert willair on PBS on Sunday at 8:00 pm ET. The 90-minute show honors members of the military and veterans with performances and personal stories, it’s is a 31-year tradition.

Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise are returning to host the event, with a line up that includes former Secretary of State Colin PowellCynthia ErivoRenée FlemingTrace Adkins, CeCe WinansKelli O’HaraMary McCormack, Christopher Jackson and the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jack Everly, as well as General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The broadcast will also feature performances from previous concerts, including those by Sam ElliottLaurence Fishburne and Esai Morales.

Colbert believes that the concert, which has honored sacrifices made in wars of the past, sends an important message for what the country is going through today. The event also will spotlight those who have been on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis, including first responders, doctors, nurses, grocery clerks, truck drivers and postal workers.

“We just felt that, to have that focus on what we have already gone through, will bring a real connection to people to what is going on today, to show that we are going to get through this,” he said.

Also woven throughout the show will be messages from entertainers and other artists directed at members of the military, veterans and front-line workers. The list includes Chris EvansGeorge Clooney, Gwyneth PaltrowJulianne MooreJimmy KimmelMark Wahlberg and Smits. 

The National Memorial Day Concert also will air on the American Forces Network, and will be streamed on YouTube and Facebook, as well as PBS.org. It also will be available on demand.

Here’s the list of performers with taped messages: Anthony RamosBlair UnderwoodBrian TeeChely WrightChris EvansCourteney CoxDenis LearyDule HillGeorge ClooneyGraham GreeneGwyneth PaltrowJaina Lee OrtizJennifer GarnerJimmy KimmelJimmy SmitsJon HammJulianne MooreLindsey VonnLisa KudrowMarcia Gay HardenMark WahlbergMilo VentimiglioNoah WylieRita MorenoS. Epatha MerkersonSteven WeberSugar Ray LeonardVanessa Williams.

Also participating in new and some past selected performances are members from the U.S. Army Herald TrumpetsThe U.S. Army Chorus, the U.S. Army Voices and Downrange, the Soldiers’ Chorus of the U.S. Army Field Band, the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants and Service Color Teams provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.

Mel Rodriguez to Star in YouTube Premium’s Dark Comedy “On Becoming a God in Central Florida”

Mel Rodriguez has landed a God-sized project…

The 45-year-old Latino actor has been cast in On Becoming a God in Central FloridaYouTube Premium’s a one-hour dark comedy series set in the 1990s.

Mel Rodriguez

Rodriguez will star opposite Ted LevineKirsten Dunst and Beth Ditto, the lead singer of Gossip, who’ll be series regulars, as well as Usman Ally, who has a recurring role.

The web series hails from George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures and Sony’s TriStar Television.

On Becoming A God In Central Florida, one of the passion projects for the late TriStar television head Suzanne Patmore Gibbs, was written by Robert Funke and Matt Lutsky based on a spec script they wrote.

Set near Orlando in the early 1990s, it centers on Krystal Gill (Dunst), a minimum-wage-earning water park employee who will eventually scheme her way up the ranks of the Founders American Merchandise, the cultish, flag waving, multi-billion dollar pyramid scheme that drove her family to ruin.

Rodriguez will play the manager of the low-rent waterpark where Krystal works.

Rodriguez’s previous credits include Getting On, The New Normal, Hot in Cleveland and The Middle.

Demi Lovato to Join School Shooting Survivors at “March for Our Lives” in Washington, DC

Demi Lovato is heading to Washington, DC next week to help shine a light on the issue of gun violence…

The 25-year-old part-Mexican American singer/actress will join survivors of the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, as they take to the streets of Washington to protest gun violence.

Demi Lovato

On March 24, survivors will be joined by Lovato, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Hudson as they call for gun legislation reform.

One of the survivors, David Hogg, made the announcement for March for Our Lives during an appearance on CNN.

“We’re gonna have four major independent women that are standing with us and walking beside us,” Hogg said.

According to the March for Our Lives mission statement, organizers will “demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before (the U.S.) Congress to address these gun issues.”

The shooting at Stoneman Douglas High claimed the lives of 17 people.

Lovato  invited survivors onstage during the opening show of her tour in San Diego.

Other celebrities, including Jimmy Fallon and George Clooney, are set to attend as well.

The march will occur 10 days after a national student walkout, which was met with similar support by celebrities including Katy Perry and Zendaya.

Sister marches will take place in cities across the nation.

Daniel Espinosa to Direct the Film Adaptation of Clinton Romesha’s “Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor”

Daniel Espinosa is seeing Red

Sony Pictures has selected the 40-year-old Chilean filmmaker to direct an adaptation of Clinton Romesha’s book Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor.

Daniel Espinosa

George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures will produce the film. Sony optioned the book last year., with Suicide Squad 2‘s Adam Cozad penning the script.

Medal of Honor winner Romesha was part of Red Platoon and the Black Knight Troop , which in 2009 prepared to shut down Command Outpost Keating. The outpost was the most remote and inaccessible in a string of bases built by the U.S. military in Nuristan and Kunar to keep Taliban insurgents from commuting between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It took three years for military to understand what was instantly clear to the men guarding it: The outpost was too isolated and dangerous to defend. After a series of smaller attacks, the Taliban came with everything it had, on October 3, 2009. While Romesha and his compatriots beat back the assault after 14 hours, they lost eight men in the balance. Romesha spearheaded both the defense of the outpost and the counterattack that drove the Taliban back.

The deal puts Espinosa back in business with Sony Pictures, which released the sci-fi thriller LifeRed Platoon potentially falls right into the filmmaker’s wheelhouse, and could follow in the footsteps of great war films like Black Hawk Down and We Were Soldiers.

Espinosa’s credits include Safe House, Child 44 and Easy Money.

Hayek Receives Olive Medal of Peace from Pope Francis

Salma Hayek has been extended a new olive medal…

Pope Francis has honored the 49-year-old Mexican actress, awarding her the Olive Medal of Peace at a Vatican event to promote the Scholas Occurrentes foundation.

Salma Hayek

In addition to Hayek, Richard Gere and George Clooney and Salma Hayek with the Olive Medal of Peace in an event.

Hayek and her fellow honorees have agreed to work as ambassadors for the foundation’s arts projects, said The Hollywood Reporter.

According to its website, Scholas is an International Organization founded in 2013 and operating under the auspices of the Vatican, which “connects technology with arts and sports in order to promote social integration and the culture of encounter for peace.”

Hayek was joined by husband Francois-Henri Pinault and daughter Valentina.

“Important values can be transmitted by celebrities,” said Lorena Bianchetti, an organizer of the event.

Huizar to Host Fundraising Event for Hillary Clinton

Jose Huizar is ready to play host…

The Mexican politican, who currently served as a member of the Los Angeles City Council, will host a fundraising event for Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton during her return trip to Southern California on Cinco de Mayo (May 5).

Jose Huizar

Clinton was in Los Angeles last weekend for a series of events, including a campaign speech at Los Angeles Southwest College and a series of fundraisers.

The highest profile was a gathering at the Studio City home of George and Amal Clooney, with the money raised going to the Hillary Victory Fund. That is a joint fundraising committee that splits proceeds between the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state party committees.

Huizar was elected to the Los Angeles City Council’s 14th District in 2005 and re-elected in 2007, 2011 and in what will be his final term, 2015.

George Clooney’s Smokehouse Pictures Acquires Film Rights to Navarro’s “Three Minutes to Doomsday”

It’s a special three minutes for Joe Navarro

George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures has acquired the film rights to the Cuban author, public speaker and former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent’s book Three Minutes to Doomsday.

Joe Navarro

The deal was brokered by Abrams Artists Agency, after Scribner bought the book’s North American rights.

Written by Navarro and Howard Means, Three Minutes to Doomsday recounts efforts by Navarro, during his career the FBI’s leading body-language expert, to track down Clyde Lee Conrad, an Army officer who sold secrets to Hungary during the Cold War. The book focuses on Navarro’s relationship and interviews with Rod Ramsey, who knew of Conrad’s crime.

Co-author Means has collaborated on multiple bestsellers, including the Robert Baer books See No Evil and Sleeping with the Devil that led to Clooney’s movie Syriana, for which he received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Baer these days is a frequent national-security commentator on CNN and elsewhere.

Smokehouse Pictures’ next film is Our Brand Is Crisis, a comedy set during the 2002 Bolivian presidential election and based on the true story of Democratic political consultants Greenberg Carville Shrum as they bring U.S. campaign techniques to South America. It’s directed by David Gordon Green and set for release in 2016.

Navarro is represented through Abrams Artists Agency by Steve Ross and Paul Weitzman.

Spanish-Language Adaptation of “ER” Heading to Colombian TV

It’s ER time for the people of Colombia…

Warner Bros. International Television Production has announced the first Latin American format deal for the critically acclaimed series ER, which aired on NBC from September 19, 1994 to April 2, 2009.

ER

RCN, Fox International Channels and TC have commissioned a local-language version for Colombia with a 60-episode order.

Colombia’s Resonant is producing the medical series, with plans to air the program this spring.

Originally produced in the U.S. by Constant c Productions and Amblin Television in association with Warner Bros. Television, the series ran for 15 seasons.

It’s the most Emmy-nominated series in history with 124 and notably helped kick-start the careers of George Clooney and Julianna Margulies.

“Even though ER is a fundamental American series, its characters and situations are so strong, moving and universal that will surely find a place in the hearts of Latin American audiences,” said Fernando Gaitan, RCN’s VP Content and Production. “We are eager to have it on our screen.”

Cuarón Named One of Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainers of the Year

There’s no denying Alfonso Cuarón has had a gravity-defying year…  And now he’s being honored for his remarkable year.

Entertainment Weekly has named the 52-year-old Mexican filmmaker as one of its 2013 Entertainers of the Year, which celebrates the year’s standouts in the entertainment industry.

Alfonso Cuarón

Cuarón is being feted for the remarkable worldwide success of his latest film Gravity.

The 3D science fiction thriller and space drama, starring fellow honoree Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, has earned more than $615 million dollars worldwide, making it the second biggest hit of his career behind only Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. And the film is still going strong at the global box office.

So what was Cuarón’s most memorable day of 2013?

”I wish I could tell you that it’s about Gravity — something that was great and cool, like the premiere in Venice. But actually it was one day in the summer when I was traveling with my kids and my girlfriend and her kids. We were in this tributary of the Amazon in this little boat, and it started to rain right after sunset. We were making our way back to the big boat, and all the kids suddenly started to sing ‘We Are Young’ by fun. in the middle of nowhere. At the top of their lungs. It was very sweet. If I remember one moment, it’s that one.”

Entertainment Weekly’s other honorees include twerking girl Miley Cyrus and Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence.

Cuarón’s “Gravity” Blasts Past the $400 Million Mark Worldwide

Gravity isn’t holding Alfonso Cuarón’s latest project down…

The 51-year-old Mexican director’s critically acclaimed film Gravity has orbited past the $400 million mark worldwide.

Gravity

Through Sunday, the Warner Bros. film has grossed $219.2 million in North America and $207.5 million overseas, an impressive achievement considering older moviegoers are fueling the film’s success.

In addition, Gravity — starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney — is now the biggest live-action October release of all time, not accounting for inflation, surpassing the $376.1 million worldwide earned by Taken 2 (the top October release is Puss in Boots, which took in $555 million globally in 2011).

And Gravity is already the top-grossing October film of all time in North America, besting the $166.2 million earned by Meet the Parents in 2000.

Over the weekend, Gravity placed No. 5 in North America in its fifth weekend, grossing $13.1 million.

Internationally, it continues to gain momentum, it took in $27.1 million from 55 markets.

Gravity is a huge hit in France, where it has now earned $27.1 million. Korea follows with $20.7 million.

Box office observers now agree that Gravity will ultimately earn $550 million to $600 million worldwide, boosting the film’s awards chances.

Gravity has yet to open in the U.K. (Nov. 8), China (Nov. 20) and Japan (Dec. 13).