Esai Morales to Star as the Villain in “Mission: Impossible 7”

Esai Morales has found a new mission…The 57-year-old Puerto Rican actor has joined the cast of Mission: Impossible 7, replacing Nicholas Hoult s the film’s villain.

The Paramount and Skydance co-production was close to starting production in Italy, when the world shut down due to COVID-19 and that included the Christopher McQuarrie-directed film, which will see Tom Cruise reprise his Ethan Hunt spy character. 

Esai Morales

The delay put Hoult in conflict with another commitment.

Mission: Impossible 7 is expected to start production in late summer or early fall. 

The film was scheduled for release on July 23, 2021 but has been moved to November 19, 2021 to account for the delay. 

The entire franchise through six movies has amassed over $3.57 billion for Paramount.

Morales, who rose to acclaim as Bob Morales in La Bamba, most recently completed a stint on How To Get Away With Murder

His other credits include television roles on Magic CityChicago P.D. and NCIS: Los Angeles, and film roles in Gun Hill RoadFast Food Nation and Spare Parts.

Esai Morales to Star in DC’s “Titans” Series

Esai Morales has landed a Titan-ic role…

The 56-year-old Puerto Rican actor has been cast in the series Titans.

Esai Morales

He’ll portray Deathstroke, the fan-favorite assassin and archenemy of Teen Titans leader Dick Grayson.

The Titans, the first original programming franchise for the DC Universe subscription steaming site, launched in September and finished its first season in December. The weekly show follows the superhero squad that’s led by Batman’s former sidekick, Robin, aka Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites), and includes the hot-tempered alien princess Starfire (Anna Diop), the mysterious empath Raven (Teagan Croft), and the green-skinned shape-shifter Beast Boy (Ryan Potter).

That Titans line-up of characters was introduced with much fanfare in the pages of DC Comicsback in 1980. The team, created by Marv Wolfmanand George Perez, didn’t have to wait long to find their signature antagonist: Deathstroke the Terminatorwas introduced in issue No. 2 of The New Teen Titans in December 1980.

The character bio from the show’s producers: “Slade Wilson is known for being DC’s deadliest assassin. While serving his country, Slade became an elite soldier before government testing enhanced his physiology to near superhuman levels, putting him on a path of darkness and revenge. To his family, Slade is a father and husband, but to the rest of the world, he is feared by many as the infamous Deathstroke; selling his services to the highest bidder as the ruthless assassin that never gives up and never misses.”

The character is well known to fans of the popular Teen Titans animated series from Cartoon Network as well as the show’s 2018 tie-in feature film Teen Titans Go! to the MoviesDeathstrokehas also been portrayed by Manu Bennett in 36 episodes of The CWseries Arrow while Joe Manganiello (True Blood) appeared as the assassin in the 2017 feature film Justice League but only with an uncredited cameo.

The DC Comics character represents an interesting footnote in Marvel Comicshistory. The character Deadpool, portrayed by Ryan Reynoldsin the popular R-rated Foxfilm franchise, was created by Fabian Niciezaand Rob Liefeldin 1990 as a thinly disguised version of the DC villain. Not only do the characters share similar costumes, Deadpool’s alias is Wade Wilson, which in fact rhymes with Slade Wilson.

Adding a bit more confusion, both Deadpool and Deathstroke have similar attributes to Deadshot, a DC Comics villain introduced in the 1970s and portrayed by Will Smithon the big screen in Suicide Squad in 2016.

Morales, rose to acclaim in his feature film breakthrough role as Bob Morales in Taylor Hackford’s La Bamba, the landmark 1985 biopic about Ritchie Valens.

Morales’ feature film credits include Bad BoysMi FamiliaFast Food NationThe LineThe Disappearance of Garcia Lorcaand Gun Hill Road, a film he executive produced and starred in. Gun Hill Road was a grand Jury Nominee at the Sundance Film Festivalin 2011. Most recently he starred in Sony’s Superfly and the indie film The Wall of Mexico.

Morales’ recent television credits include Ozark (Netflix), Mozart In The Jungle (Amazon Prime), Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO), and Chicago PD (NBC). Morales also had notable credits over the years on shows such as NYPD Blue (ABC), Miami Vice (NBC), Fame (NBC) Law and Order: SVU (NBC), Caprica (Syfy), and Criminal Minds (CBS).

Aspillaga to Appear in Recurring Role on Starz’s Drama “Flesh and Bone”

Vanessa Aspillaga is seeing Starz

The 41-year-old Latina actress has landed a guest recurring role on Starz‘s ballet drama Flesh and Bone.

Vanessa Aspillaga

The series follows Claire (portrayed by Sarah Hay), a young dancer with a distinctly troubled past, as she joins a prestigious ballet company in New York.

Aspillaga will portray Monica, the company’s assistant manager, who is stable, extremely good at her job and at managing her boss.

Aspillaga’s previous credits include television appearances on Law & Order, Elementary, The Good Wife and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Her film credits include Gun Hill Road, Morning Glory and Love & Other Drugs.

MTV Tr3s Announces Best Latino Actor Nominees

It’s time to cast your vote for Best Latino Actor, to be announced at the 2012 MTV Movie Awards

MTV Tr3s announced the nominees in the category; and the bilingual entertainment channel is urging the public to vote for their favorite.

2012 MTV Movie Awards

This year’s nominees include Zoe Saldaña for her role in Colombiana, Diego Luna for Casa de Mi Padre, Demian Bichir for A Better Life, Penelope Cruz for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Harmony Santana for Gun Hill Road.

Between now and June 2, MTV Tr3s viewers can vote online for this year’s Best Latino Actor at movieawards.tr3s.com.

2012 MTV Movie Awards

The winner will be announced on MTV Tr3s on June 10, during the Spanish-subtitled rebroadcast of the 2012 MTV Movie Awards.

MTV will broadcast the MTV Movie Awards live on June 3, with Kid Cudi this year’s lone Latino nominee.

Last year, film fans selected actress Alexa Vega as Best Latino Actor for her role in the comedy From Prada to Nada.

Bichir’s Got “Spirit”…

Demián Bichir is reaping the recognition after starring in critically acclaimed film about an East L.A. illegal immigrant gardener.

Demian Bichir A Better Life Spirit Award Nomination

The 48-year-old Mexican actor has received a Spirit Award nomination in the Best Male Lead category for his star-making role in A Better Life, a poignant film about a father’s love and the lengths he’ll go to give his child the opportunities he never had.

Bichir—who depicted Fidel Castro in Steven Soderbergh’s Che and had a recurring role on Showtime’s Weeds—will face off against Hollywood heavyweights Ryan Gosling (Drive) and Woody Harrelson (Rampart), as well as Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
and Michael Shannon (Take Shelter).

But Bichir isn’t the only Hispanic actor getting some Spirit love…

Transgender actress Harmony Santana has received a Best Supporting Female nomination for playing Michael/Vanessa in the coming out drama Gun Hill Road, the same role that landed her a Gotham Award nomination for Breakthrough Actor. She’s up against Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter),
 Anjelica Huston (50/50),
Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs) and Shailene Woodley (The Descendants).

With five nods each, The Artist and Take Shelter lead this year’s nominations for the Spirit Awards, which honor films made outside of the Hollywood studio system.

Winners will be announced at the 27th annual Spirit Awards daytime ceremony on Saturday, February 25 that will be broadcast later in the evening on the IFC channel.

The Spirit Awards are produced by Film Independent—the non-profit arts organization that also puts on the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Harmony Santana Receives Gotham Award Nomination…

She’s received critical acclaim for her feature-film acting debut in “Gun Hill Road”… And, now Harmony Santana could be reaping the rewards too.

The 20-something transgender actress has received a Gotham Award “Breakthrough Actor” nomination for her spectacular performance in the coming out drama.

The film, which co-stars Esai Morales and Judy Reyes, centers around Vanessa (born as Michael), a shy male teenager trying to live openly as a girl while dealing with a disapproving ex-con father and supportive mother.

The half-Puerto Rican, half-Dominican actresses’ only previous acting experience was playing a Boy George look-alike in a high school production of the musical “The Wedding Singer.” But that didn’t stop the film’s director, Rashaad Ernesto Green, from selecting Santana for the hard-to-cast role.

“I looked at attractive gay males who might have had experience with drag to see if they might be able to portray the character,” recalled Green in a recent interview with The New York Times, who was seeking an actor who looked 16, could play a transgender character without what he called ‘significant female development’ and could convincingly convey a Hispanic background. “But they didn’t have the essence I was looking for. There’s a difference between someone who’s pretending to be female and someone who actually believes they are.”

But Green’s luck changed when he discovered Santana at the Queens gay pride parade.

“She said she was at the beginning of her transition, which was like, ‘Bingo,’” says Green.

Santana, who has only been living full-time as a woman since last year, was able to tap into her own experience of growing up in New York as a transgender teenager for the role.

“At one time I hated my father so much because he would always fight with my mother about me,” remembers Santana. “I would hear them through the cracks in the door that I shouldn’t be playing with my little sisters and doing girl things.”

“Gun Hill Road” premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in January and has been featured prominently on the gay film-festival circuit before opening commercially in New York City in August.

The Gotham Awards, which honor films produced outside the major studio system, will be handed out in New York on November 28.