Jai Rodriguez to Star in HBO Max’s LGBTQ+ Landmark Events Docuseries “Equal”

Jai Rodriguez has found his Equal

The 41-year-old half-Puerto Rican actor/musician and original culture guide on Queer Eye has joined the cast of HBO Max’s Equal, its upcoming four-part docuseries chronicling landmark events and the forgotten heroes of the LGBTQ+ movement.

Jai Rodriguez

The project hails from Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Productions, Jim Parsons and That’s Wonderful Productions, Scout Productions, Jon Jashni and Warner Horizon Unscripted Television.

In addition to Rodriguez, who’ll portray José Sarria, the first openly gay candidate for public office in the United States, the cast includes Samira Wiley, Cheyenne Jackson, Anthony Rapp, Sara Gilbert, Shannon Purser, Heather Matarazzo, Jamie Clayton, Isis King, Gale Harold.

They’ll allportray the LBGTQ+ visionaries in the docuseries that contains never-before-seen archival footage.

Part one of the docuseries explores the rise of early organizations, The Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis in Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively; part two stories chronicles the 20th century trans experience, bookended by the 1966 Compton Cafeteria riots in San Francisco; part three examines the contributions from the Black community on the growing LGBTQ+ civil rights movement; and part four ties in the decades long struggles with the culminated Stonewall uprising – the beginning of the Pride movement.

Stephen Kijak is the showrunner and director of episodes one, three and four alongside ground-breaking trans director Kimberly Reed, who directs episode two.

Here’s a full list with character descriptions:

Cheyenne Jackson as Dale Jennings. Dale was a gay rights activist, playwright and author. He was one of the founding members of the Mattachine Society in the early 1950s, one of the earliest gay rights groups in the United States. Following his entrapment and arrest on sex charges, Jennings fought the charges in a successful court cast which became a landmark moment for the movement. He was also one of the founders of One Magazine, the first pro-gay publication in the U.S.

Anthony Rapp as Harry Hay. Harry was the founder of The Mattachine Society. His manifesto, “The Call,” written feverishly one night in 1948 called for the protection and improvement of the rights of homosexuals and was the foundation on which the group was built.

Shannon Purser & Heather Matarazzo as Del Martin & Phyllis Lyon. Del & Phyllis were a lesbian couple (together for 56 years until Martin’s death in 2008) who founded the Daughters of Bilitis in San Francisco in 1955, the first social and political organization for lesbians in the United States. They also published The Ladder, the first nationally distributed lesbian publication in the US. Active in both gay and feminist politics their whole lives, they were the first same-sex couple to legally wed.

Sara Gilbert as J.M. From Cleveland. “JM” is an “anonymous reader” of The Ladder, representing the isolated lesbians of the 1950’s who found a lifeline in the pages of the magazine, but who were forced to live closeted lives for fear of losing jobs, friends and family.

Anne Ramsay as The FBI Agent: A composite character, the FBI kept active files on the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis – gay groups were often linked to communism and considered to be dangerous subversives.

Alexandra Grey as Lucy Hicks Anderson. Socialite, chef, and prohibition-era entrepreneur – and one of the first documented Black transgender persons in the USA — Lucy Hicks Anderson was one of the most prominent citizens of Oxnard, CA until 1945 when a syphilis outbreak at her brothel became her undoing, outing her to the community.

Theo Germaine as Jack Starr. Jack is a little-known character in the history of folks who probably would have self-identified as trans. He was a prominent local outcast at the turn of the century in Montana, in and out of jail and in and out of the local headlines for refusing to wear clothes that conformed to the gender assigned to Jack at birth. A Jack-of-all-trades and teller of tall tales, Jack Starr (aka Jacques Moret) is an enigmatic early figure who pushed the boundaries of gender expression.

Jamie Clayton as Christine Jorgensen. Widely known as the world’s first transgender celebrity, Christine became an internationally known figure following the publicity surrounding her gender confirmation surgery in the early 1950’s. She became a popular nightclub entertainer, author, and lecturer and used her celebrity to advance the cause of transgender rights.

Isis King as Alexis. “Alexis” is a composite character, the spirit of the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot in 1966, one of the first known instances of trans and queer folk rising up against police harassment – three years before the Stonewall Riots.

Samira Wiley as Lorraine Hannsberry. Author of the landmark play “A Raisin in the Sun,” Lorraine Hansberry was the first African American female author to have a play performed on Broadway. She was a radical and forceful voice within the Civil Rights Movement, who died far too young at age 34 of pancreatic cancer. While closeted during her lifetime, she wrote extensively under a variety of pseudonyms – in plays, stories and letters that discussed her lesbianism and the oppression of homosexuals in society.

Keiynan Lonsdale as Bayard Rustin. Bayard was an American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights. He was a close mentor and advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and one of the chief architects of the March on Washington. Because of a 1953 arrest on sex charges his sexuality was often weaponized against him and the movement, but he remained a tireless advocate for social justice his entire life – and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barak Obama in 2013.

Jai Rodriguez as José Sarria. In 1961 José became the first openly gay candidate for public office in the United States, running for a seat on the SF Board of Supervisors 16 years before Harvey Milk. He is also remembered as a beloved and inspiring drag performer at SF’s Black Cat Bar, who raised the spirits and political consciousness of the bar’s gay male patrons with his rousing anthem “God Save Us Nelly Queens”! A lifelong advocate and activist, José founded the Imperial Court System, one of the oldest and largest LGBT organizations in the world.

Hailie Sahar as Sylvia Rivera. Sylvia was a Latina American gay liberation and transgender rights activist. Prominent as an activist and community worker in New York, Rivera, along with close friend Marsha P. Johnson, co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries in 1970, a group dedicated to helping homeless young drag queens, gay youth, and trans women. Whether true or a bit of self myth-making, Sylvia placed herself at the center of the Stonewall Riots – either way, her perspective on the riots and its aftermath are an indelible part of the oral history of Stonewall.

Scott Turner Schofield as Craig Rodwell. Craig was an American gay rights activist known for founding the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop in 1967, the first bookstore devoted to gay and lesbian authors. A witness and participant in the Stonewall riots, he was one of the prime movers in the creation of the first New York City Pride demonstration.

Cole Doman as Mark Segal. Mark is an American journalist and prominent gay rights activist. He participated in the Stonewall riots and was one of the original founders of the Gay Liberation Front where he created its Gay Youth program.

Elizabeth Faith Ludlow as Stormé DeLarverie. Stormé was a gay civil rights icon and entertainer whose scuffle with police was, according to many eyewitnesses, the spark that ignited the Stonewall riots, spurring the crowd to action. She worked for much of her life as an MC, singer, bouncer, bodyguard and volunteer street patrol worker, the “guardian of lesbians in the Village.”

Gale Harold as Howard Smith. Howard was an Oscar-winning film director, producer, journalist, screenwriter, actor and radio broadcaster. At the peak of the historic Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969, he managed to get inside the now famous bar with his Village Voice reporter’s police credentials. He was the only journalist who reported about the siege from that dangerous vantage point.

Sam Pancake as Dick Leitsch. Dick was a prominent LGBTQ rights activist and president of the Mattachine Society in the 1960s. He is also known for being the first gay reporter to publish an account of the Stonewall Riots, which appeared in a special edition of the Mattachine Newsletter the day after he witnessed the first night of the riot.

Gloria Calderón Kellett Teams Up with Natasha Rothwell for the HBO Max Film “We Were There, Too”

Gloria Calderón Kellett is There

The 45-year-old Latina television writer/producer, the co-creator and showrunner of Pop TV’s One Day at a Time has joined forces with Natasha Rothwell for We Were There, Too, a coming of age feature for HBO Max.

Gloria Calderón Kellett

Rothwell, a writer and star on HBO’s Insecure, co-wrote the screenplay with Calderón Kellett. 

They’ll produce the project with Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter.

The film is a classic 80’s coming of age story set in John Hughes’ Chicago, but in this story the Brat Pack is in the background, and for the first time the focus is on the Brown kids, the LGBTQ kids, the Black kids, the real outsiders, because they were there, too.

Calderón Kellett currently serves as co-creator, co-showrunner, executive producer, director and actress on the critically acclaimed One Day At A Time, the reimagining of the classic 1970s sitcom from Norman Lear that moved from Netflix to Pop TV this season. She recently began a major overall deal with Amazon Studios.

Michael Cimino to Star in Disney Plus’ TV Series Adaptation of the Film “Love, Simon”

Simon says Michael Ciminohas found a new Love

The half-Puerto Rican actor Cimino has been cast as Victor in Disney Plus television series adaptation of the film Love, Simon.

Michael Cimino

Love, Simonis a powerful story embraced by critics and audiences alike for its universal messages of authenticity, love, and acceptance,” said Agnes Chu, senior vice president of content for Disney Plus. “We are honored to partner with the talented team at 20th Century Fox Televisionto bring this new chapter of a beloved story to Disney+, continuing the personal and uplifting narrative that captivated fans of the original film.”

Cimino’s character Victor is a new student at Creekwood High School on his own journey of self-discovery, facing challenges at home, adjusting to a new city, and struggling with his sexual orientation. When it all seems too much, he reaches out to Simon to help him navigate the ups and downs of high school.

Cimino joins previously announced cast member Ana Ortiz, who will play Victor’s mother Isabel. Nick Robinson, who starred in the film, will narrate the half-hour series in addition to serving as producer.

The cast will also include: James Martinezas Armando, Victor’s regular blue collar “guy’s guy” father who loves his family deeply and works hard for his family; Isabella Ferreiraas Pilar, Victor’s sullen younger sister in the throes of teenage angst; Mateo Fernandezwill make his acting debut as Adrian, Victor’s adorable, good-natured little brother; Johnny Sequoyahas Mia, Victor’s whip-smart friend with a quick wit and easy laugh; Bebe Woodas Lake, Mia’s quirky and social media-obsessed best friend; George Searas Benji, Victor’s confident and charming classmate; Anthony Turpelas Felix, Victor’s lanky, awkward new neighbor; and Mason Goodingas Andrew, Creekwood’s cocky and popular basketball-loving jock.

Cimino’s previous credits include the film Annabelle Comes Homeand the Training Daytelevision series at CBS.

The series is set to begin production this month in Los Angeles. 

Greg Berlantidirected the 2018 film, which was based on Becky Albertali’s novel of the same name. He’s not involved in the TV adaptation because of his massive overall TV deal with Warner Bros.The film, produced by the now-shuttered label Fox 2000, was produced for $17 million, earning nearly $67 million worldwide.

Kirk Acevedo Upped to Series Regular on The CW’s “Arrow”

There’s more Arrow in Kirk Acevedo’s future…

The 46-year-old Puerto Rican, who recurred last season as the drug kingpin and crime lord Ricardo Diaz (aka as Dragon), has been promoted to series regular for Season 7, which premieres on October 15 on the CW.

Kirk Acevedo

A thorn in the side of Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) in season six, Diaz saw Team Arrow launch an attack on him during the season finale in May, only to escape. FBI agent Samandra Watson vows to haul him in, however.

The character has a publishing history with roots that date back more than 40 years. In 1975, DC Comics started publishing a series called Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter, which featured a martial arts master who grew up as a thief but changed his ways. The series lasted a mere 18 issues. Jump forward to 2013, and a new fighter calling himself Dragon was introduced; he eventually was revealed to be  a younger man named Ricardo Diaz, a traitorous protege to the original Dragon who stole his heroic master’s name when he murdered him. The television version has hewed more to that recent mythology.

Based on the DC characters, the series is executive produced by Greg Berlanti, Beth Schwartz and Sarah Schechter. 

Arrow is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros Television.

It moves to a new night this season after airing on Thursdays in 2017-18.

Acevedo’s previous television credits include 12 Monkeys, Prime Suspect and Kingdom.

Ricky Martin to Receive Special Honor at the Gala Vanguard Awards

Ricky Martin is a Vanguard

The 46-year-old Puerto Rican superstar will be honored at the 49th anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards, held annually by the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Ricky Martin

The charity event honors Los Angeles-based leaders and influencers for their LGBT advocacy. Previous recipients of the Vanguard Awards include the likes of Miley Cyrus, Jane Fonda, Elton John, George and Brad Takei, and Wanda Sykes.

The 49th anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards will take place on September 22 at the Beverly Hilton.

Other 2018 honorees include Arrow and Supergirl showrunner Greg Berlanti; Berlanti’s partner, producer and retired soccer player Robbie Rogers; and philanthropist Ariadne Getty.

Martin released the Wisin and Yandel-featuring “Fiebre” and starred in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story earlier this year.

J.W. Cortes to Appear at Pop Culture Event “DC in D.C.”

J.W. Cortes is invading The District

Warner Bros. Television GroupDC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment are joining forces for DC in D.C., a pop culture Martin Luther King weekend event that merges the worlds of entertainment and public service in Washington, D.C.

J.W. Cortes

DC in D.C. brings together stars, including the Puerto Rican Marine-combat-veteran-turned-actor and Gotham star, as well as producers from WBTV’s DC TV series, including Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Gotham, Supergirl and Freedom Fighters: The Ray, with DC comic book writers and artists, along with invited guests from politics, government service, business academia and more.

The event, which takes place Friday, January 12 and Saturday, January 13, will explore the intersection of comic books, culture, entertainment and enlightenment through a series of panel discussions open to the public.

Events will take place both days at the Newseum, and will culminate with the world premiere screening of the upcoming DC series Black Lightning in the Warner Bros. Theater at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

A party will follow at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

In addition to Cortes, participants include Black Lightning stars Cress Williams, China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams, Marvin “Krondon” Jones III, Damon Gupton and James Remar — along with executive producers Salim Akil & Mara Brock Akil; along with executive producers Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter, plus TV series stars Caity Lotz (DC’s Legends of Tomorrow), Candice Patton (The Flash), Danielle Panabaker (The Flash), Russell Tovey (Freedom Fighters: The Ray) and others to be announced.

More information can be found at http://www.DCinDC2018.com.

Danny Trejo to Star in the Upcoming Season of The CW’s “The Flash”

Danny Trejo is no flash in the pan…

The 73-year-old Mexican American actor, who has been a regular staple on television and in film since 1985, will star in The CW’s The Flash in Season 4.

Danny Trejo

Trejo has have signed on for the key role of Breacher, a feared bounty hunter from Earth-19 and the imposing father of inter-dimensional bounty hunter Gypsy (Jessica Camacho).

His mission is to prevent any inter-dimensional traveler from threatening life on his planet — especially his daughter’s.

Based on the DC Comics characters, the series is executive produced by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, Todd Helbing and Sarah Schechter.

The Flash returns for Season 4 at 8:00 pm on Tuesday, October 10, on the CW.

Trejo, best known for starring in Machete, has appeared in From Dusk till Dawn, The Grind and Once Upon a Time in Mexico.

Nolasco to Star in ABC’s FBI Crime Drama Pilot “Deception”

Amaury Nolasco is practicing to deceive…

The 46-year-old Puerto Rican and Dominican American actor has been cast as a series regular opposite Lenora Crichlow and Jack Cutmore-Scott in ABC pilot Deception, an FBI crime drama procedural.

Amaury Nolasco

In Deception, when his career is ruined by scandal, superstar magician Cameron Black (Cutmore-Scott) has only one place to turn to practice his art of deception, illusion, and influence — the FBI. He’ll become the world’s first consulting illusionist, helping the government solve crimes that defy explanation, and trap criminals and spies by using deception.

Nolasco will play Mike Alvarez, a classic FBI agent and, secretly, a huge fan of magic.

Deception hails from Chuck co-creator Chris Fedak and the Blindspot team of creator Martin Gero and magician David Kwong, Warner Bros. Television and Greg Berlanti’s studio-based Berlanti Productions. The pilot was written by Chris Fedak and will be directed by David Nutter.

Nolasco is currently reprising his role of Fernando Sucre in Fox’s Prison Break event series. His other television credits include appearances on George Lopez, Mind of Mencia, CSI: Miami, Gang Related and Telenovela.

The CW Developing Gonzalez’s Latino-Themed Drama Project “Casa”

Ed Gonzalez is coming home to The CW

Warner Bros Television and producer Greg Berlanti are developing the drama project Casa, which was co-penned by the Mexican American writer, for the network.

Ed Gonzalez

Written by Gonzalez and Jeremy Haft, the series will touch on the hot-button issue of immigration.

Casa centers on six siblings in a Hispanic family who have to band together to survive when their parents get unjustly deported.

Writing partners Gonzalez and Haft got a break when they were selected as the 2014 Fox Writers Intensive Fellows, leading to a script development deal with Fox Broadcasting Co and 20th Century Fox Television and a staffing job on the first season of the hit Fox drama Empire.

The CW has scored high marks for its depiction of illegal immigration and its toll on families in dramedy Jane the Virgin.

Gonzalez & Haft recently wrote the feature film All Eyez On Me, a biopic directed by Benny Boom about Tupac Shakur for Morgan Creek Productions.

Lima to Star in CW’s Superhero Series “Supergirl”

Floriana Lima has landed a Super-sized role…

The Latina actress has landed a series regular role on the CBS-turned-CW superhero series Supergirl.

Floriana Lima

Lima will portray Maggie Sawyer, a character inspired by the historic gay DC Comics character.

Created by John Byrne, Maggie was first introduced in 1987 as a captain of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit where she was a highly skilled member of the Science Police, the division of the police department that deals with metahumans.

Additionally, Maggie was revealed to be a lesbian in the Superman titles, making her one of the first openly characters in mainstream comics. She later went on to become romantically involved with another famous female superhero, Batwoman, in addition appearance in several Batman titles.

On the Warner Bros.-produced Supergirl, Maggie will be a detective for the National City Police Department who takes a special interest in the cases involving aliens.

Supergirl executive producer Greg Berlanti, who is also an EP on Arrow, The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, spoke with The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year about the importance of being all inclusive. His DC Comics shows have changed the ethnicity and sexuality of several iconic comic book characters to better reflect present day, like Supergirl‘s Jimmy Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) and Arrow‘s Curtis Holt (Echo Kellum), respectively.

“I wanted to contemporize these comics that I loved growing up and have them reflect the society that we live in now,” Berlanti said. “It’s still about working in some of those very real qualities so that everyone feels represented.”

Maggie Sawyer is one of several famed DC Comics characters coming to Supergirl for season two. Teen Wolf‘s Tyler Hoechlin has been cast as Kara’s cousin Clark Kent aka Superman, and Cougar Town vet Ian Gomez will play journalist Snapper Carr. Additionally, former Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter is set to appear as the President of the United States.

The character of Maggie Sawyer previously appeared in several episodes of former CW series Smallville, as played by Jill Teed.

In addition to the ABC drama The Family, Lima’s credits include Allegiance and The Mob Doctor.

Supergirl‘s second season premieres on Monday, October 10 at 8 p.m. on The CW.