Jorge Diaz to Star in Pilot for HBO Max’s “Head of the Class” Sitcom Reboot

Jorge Diaz is moving to the head of the class

The 37-year-old Mexican American actor has joined the cast of HBO Max’s multi-camera comedy pilot Head of the Class, a reboot of the popular 1980s ABC sitcom.

Jorge Diaz

Diaz joins a roster of new additions to the cast that includes Dior Goodjohn, Brandon Severs, Adrian Matthew Escalona and Christa Miller.

They join previously announced Isabella Gomez, Gavin Lewis and Jolie Hoang-Rappaport in the reboot which hails from American Vandal writers Amy Pocha and Seth Cohen, Bill Lawrence and his Doozer Productions; and Warner Bros. Television, which produced the original series.

Written by Pocha and Cohen, based on the original series created by Rich Eustis and Michael Elias, the reimagined Head of the Class revolves around a group of overachieving high school students who meet their greatest challenge — a teacher Alicia Adams (Gomez), who wants them to focus less on grades and more on experiencing life.

Diaz plays Elliot Olsen, a goofy English teacher who loves his job and is genuine to a fault. Goodjohn is Robyn Rook. Stem queen turned Twitch streamer, Robyn’s the defacto leader of the class – though she’d never admit it. Severs will portray Terrell Smith, is a year-round athlete, who is uber-positive and all about team mentality. Escalona is Miles Mendelson, the shy, introverted, overthinking coder, who’d rather spend time with computers than people. Miller recurs as Principal Maris, an intimidating, tough love boss that always puts the students first.

Diaz has appeared on a number of hit comedies including the CW’s Jane The Virgin, NBC’s The Good Place and Netflix’s Arrested Development. He also starred as SPC Israel Garza in Nat Geo’s Critics Choice-nominated Iraq war drama, The Long Road HomeOn the film side, Diaz portrayed Hector Estrella in Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, earning a nomination for an Imagen Foundation Award for his performance.

Escalona was first discovered in 2018, when a video of him singing “She Used To Be Mine” from the Broadway musical Waitress went viral with almost 4 million views and counting. He went on to be invited by Waitress writer and composer Sara Bareilles to make a guest appearance during her tour stop in Pittsburgh, near his home town. Head of the Class is Escalona’s first major TV role.

Tessa Thompson Launches Production Company ‘Viva Maude’

Tessa Thompson is expanding her Hollywood reach…

The 37-year-old part-Panamanian and part-Mexican American actress is moving into the production arena with a new production company, a first-look deal at HBO and HBO Max and executive-producing two big book adaptations – Who Fears Death and The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.

Tessa Thompson,

Thompson, who stars on HBO’s Westworld, has launched Viva Maude with a two-year deal at the WarnerMedia-owned cable network and streaming service.

“I’m beyond thrilled to officially launch my production company, Viva Maude, which has been a real passion project and labour of love over the last few years,” said Thompson. “I’m elated to begin this partnership and to bring entertaining and impactful television projects to my friends and collaborators at HBO and HBO Max. Together we are committed to developing interesting and inclusive stories with inventive creators and to discover new voices and visionaries.”

Thompson, who stars in and executive produced the Amazon Studios feature film Sylvie’s Love, will exec produce the two projects in development at HBO and HBO Max as part of the deal.

Who Fears Death is an adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s eponymous book. In the works at HBO since 2017 with Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin as one of the exec producers, Aïda Mashaka Croal, a writer on Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, has also come board as showrunner, writer and exec producer.

Who Fears Death tells the coming of age tale of Onyesowu in post-apocalyptic North Africa where her story makes her an outcast.  She must go on a journey from self-reproach to love, but to do so she’ll have to overcome untold obstacles—defeating her hated sorcerer father and becoming the instrument of prophetic deliverance for a land of oppressed people, all the while fighting to master the terrifying powers growing inside her.

At HBO Max, Thompson is also exec producing an adaptation of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. The short story collection, written by Deesha Philyaw, was published in September and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. It contains nine stories about Black women, church, and sexuality.

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. Different generations of women characters grapple with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions. With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be.

Thompson will exec produce with author Philyaw, who is also writing the adaptation.

Thompson’s other credits include Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Endgame, Annihilation, Sorry to Bother YouSelmaand Dear White People and she co-stars alongside Ruth Negga in Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut feature film Passing as well as Creed III and Thor: Love and Thunder.

She is also a producer on QCode’s fiction podcast The Left Right Game, which Amazon purchased the rights to adapt into a television series, with Thompson exec producing the series.

Salma Hayek Executive Producing the TV Adaptation of Elizabeth Wetmore’s Novel “Valentine” for HBO

Salma Hayek has found a new Valentine

HBO is developing an adaptation of Elizabeth Wetmore’s novel Valentine, with the 54-year-old Mexican American actress/producer and Jennifer Schuur executive producing the project.

Salma Hayek

HBO reportedly won the rights to the book, which is set in 1976 in a West Texas oilfield town, in a competitive situation after it was published in March and debuted at number two on the New York Times’ Bestsellers list at the start of the global pandemic. It’s being developed as a limited series.

Schuur, who was a writer and producer on Netflix’s Unbelievable and is co-showrunner of HBO’s upcoming version of In Treatment, will write the pilot and will exec produce with Hayek and Jose Tamez, who runs Hayek’s Ventanarosa Productions, and author Wetmore.

It’s Ventanarosa Productions’ latest partnership with WarnerMedia after the company, which produced Frida and Ugly Betty, struck a first-look deal with HBO Max in June.

The book begins on Valentine’s Day, 1976 in the West Texas oilfield town of Odessa. It’s told through a network of women whose lives all change when a 14-year-old Mexican girl is beaten and raped by a white oil-worker. It is Wetmore’s first book.

Jennifer Schuur said, “Crimes against women and certainly against women of color are nothing new, but Elizabeth Wetmore has given us a story that explores this truth in a way that is profoundly intimate while also being an undeniable social and cultural critique. To be able to walk that entire landscape alongside partners in HBO and Salma Hayek who so deeply connect to the material as well is more than I could’ve hoped for when I first fell in love with Valentine.”

Salma Hayek added, “What a thrill to be working with HBO and Jennifer Schuur, whose powerful voicing of the female spirit has captivated me in all her previous work. Valentine is set in the 70’s but it couldn’t be more relevant today, as it centers around finding the courage to stand up for the truth, even when it means facing the outrage of your own kind.”

Selena Gomez’s Fans Speculate That She’ll Release Spanish Music in the Near Future

Could Selena Gomez be switching tongues?

The 28-year-old Mexican American singer/actress’ fans believe that Gomez has new music is on the way: a Spanish-language project.

Selena Gomez

“10 years later, she’s coming!” reads a fan tweet responding to a tweet from Gomez in 2011. The singer expressed almost a decade ago: “Can’t wait for y’all to hear the Spanish record 😉 it’s sounding so cool.”

Selenators speculate that Gomez will soon release two Spanish-language songs titled “De Una Vez” and “Baila Conmigo” after various promo murals started popping up across Mexico.

“Mexican Selenator took a picture with a painted wall in Sayulita, Mexico,” tweeted fan page Selena Gomez Worldwide.

Meanwhile, the “Look At Her Now” singer, who hasn’t confirmed new music, recently teased the second season of her HBO Max cooking show Selena + Chef with a new trailer featuring the show’s second lead star, her grandfather.

“As you all know by now, I’m not the best cook,” she confesses during a voiceover in the clip. “But I’m not going to stop trying to get better. So I’m back in my kitchen to get schooled by the best chefs.”

Gomez will return to HBO Max on January 21.

https://twitter.com/PopCrave/status/1348776801355653122

Michael Peña to Star in Roland Emmerich’s Sci-Fi Epic “Moonfall”

Michael Peña is out of this world

The 45-year-old Mexican American actor has been cast in the Roland Emmerich-helmed sci-fi epic Moonfall.

Michael Peña

Peña joins an A-list ensemble cast that includes Halle Berry, Patrick Wilson, John Bradley, Eme Ikwuakor, Charlie Plummer and Donald Sutherland.

The space drama takes off with a mysterious force that knocks the Moon from its orbit around Earth and sends it hurtling on a collision course with life as we know it. With mere weeks before impact, and against all odds, a ragtag team launches an impossible last-ditch mission into space, leaving behind everyone they love and risking everything to land on the lunar surface and save our planet from annihilation.

Peña is taking over the role previously held by Stanley Tucci, who had to exit the project due to government-imposed travel restrictions banning UK flights into Canada.

Peña will play Tom Lopez, a wealthy car dealer who is married to Brian Harper’s (Wilson) ex-wife, the loving and fierce Brenda, played by Carolina Bartczak.

Emmerich, Harald Kloser, and Spenser Cohen penned the screenplay.

Centropolis is overseeing all aspects of production, financing, delivery, and distribution and marketing in collaboration with Lionsgate, AGC Studios, and other distribution partners. Lionsgate is distributing the film in North America.

Moonfall is set to hit theaters in 2022.

Peña will soon be seen starring in the Warner Bros. live-action/animation hybrid Tom & Jerry, slated to debut on HBO Max and in theaters on February 26.

Selena Gomez Releases New Trailer for Second Season of Her HBO Max Cooking Show “Selena + Chef”

It’s a family affair for Selena Gomez when it comes to the kitchen…

The 28-year-old Mexican American singer/actress has teased the second season of her HBO Max cooking show Selena + Chef with a new trailer, featuring the show’s second lead star, her grandfather.

Selena Gomez

Papa, who even has his own fan account according to his famous granddaughter, comically announces, “I’m back!” when asked about Gomez’s return to the kitchen for a second helping of the series, which returns to HBO Max on January 21.

“As you all know by now, I’m not the best cook,” she confesses during a voice-over in the clip. “But I’m not going to stop trying to get better. So I’m back in my kitchen to get schooled by the best chefs.”

Dance Again” from her Billboard 200 No. 1 album Rare, which just celebrated its first anniversary on Sunday, plays in the background of the trailer, but the pop star experiences another fiery misstep while cooking when something in a pan catches on fire and sets off the alarm.

The next course of Selena + Chef features Spanish tapas, a burger with brie and roasted garlic, Asian bananas foster, mole and more dishes she cooked virtually alongside professional chefs Aarti Sequeira, Curtis Stone, Evan Funke, Graham Elliot, JJ Johnson, Jordan AndinoJosé Andrés, Kelis Rogers, Marcela Valladolid and Marcus Samuelsson.

She and Sequeira prepared her Thanksgiving holiday special, “Selena + Aarti: Friendsgiving,” together in November, when the Indian chef and Food Network star helped Gomez cook a turkey for the first time as part of her Friendsgiving celebration with her grandparents and best friends.

The “Ice Cream” singer treated fans to the first season of Selena + Chef series last summer, where she prepared homemade-yet-gourmet meals with 10 master chefs from the comforts of their own home during quarantine. Gomez also donated $10,000 to a food-related charity of the professional chef’s choosing at the end of each episode.

HBO Max Acquires Leticia Dolera’s Spanish-Language Original “Perfect Life,” Plans to Co-Produce Second Season

Leticia Dolera’s perfect life is getting more attention…

HBO Max has acquired the 39-year-old actress, writer and director’s Spanish-language original Perfect Life (Vida Perfecta) and has committed to co-producing a second season alongside Telefónica’s local streamer Moviestar+.

Leticia Dolera

The WarnerMedia streamer will debut Perfect Life on January 21, following the lives of Maria, Cristina, and Esther, who are in search of their place in the world as they navigate the humiliations and celebrations that come with being a thirty-something millennial.

The series was created by Dolera, who stars as Maria. It was produced by Movistar+ along with Corte y Confeccion de Peliculas in association with Beta Film, which handles international sales. Season 2 has just wrapped in Spain.

Crowned Best Series at the Canneseries Festival, the story centers on Maria, Cristina, and Esther as they realize that the plans they had made for themselves haven’t really gotten them the long-promised happiness they yearned for. Together, they will find unexpected alternatives.

The series also stars Celia Freijeiro and Aixa Villagran.

Perfect Life will feature on the new International Genre page on HBO Max.

 

HBO Max Releases Zion Moreno’s “Gossip Girl” Reboot Character Photo

Zion Moreno’s got some serious style

The official Instagram account for HBO Max’s Gossip Girl reboot brought in the new year with some fresh faces, including a photo of the 28-year-old Mexican American actress/model.

Zion Moreno

The social media page unveiled the cast and characters set to grace the screen when the reboot hits HBO Max. Like the original series, the new iteration of Gossip Girl, written by Joshua Safran, is based on the book by Cecily von Ziegesar. The logline: Eight years after the original website went dark, a new generation of New York private school teens are introduced to the social surveillance of Gossip Girl. The prestige series will address just how much social media — and the landscape of New York itself — has changed in the intervening years.

Each post featured the new Gossip Girl cast members, their characters and their most important traits.

Moreno’s character, Luna La, is is described with the sword “style.”

All the characters flaunted their New Year’s best in the photo announcements.

Produced by Fake Empire and Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television and CBS StudiosGossip Girl is written and executive produced by Safran of Random Acts.

Karena Evans will direct the first two episodes of the upcoming reboot.

 

HBO Max Renews Rosie Perez’s “The Flight Attendant” for Second Season

Rosie Perez will be logging more Flight hours…

HBO Max has renewed The Flight Attendant, starring the 56-year-old actress, choreographer and community activist and Kaley Cuoco, for a second season.

Rosie Perez in The Flight Attendant

The series, based on the book of the same name by bestselling author Chris Bohjalian, centers on alcoholic, globe-trotting flight attendant Cassie Bowen (Cuoco) who becomes embroiled in an espionage plot following her affair with a first class passenger, who winds up murdered after their night together.

Flight Attendant was originally intended to be a limited series, but series creator and EP Steve Yockey knew there was more string he could pull upon.

The series finale leaves Cassie in a position to encounter more global intrigue.

HBO Max reports that the first season of Flight Attendant saw week-over-week growth and ranked as the streamer’s No. 1 series overall during its run. The eight-episode first season debuted November 6.

Flight Attendant has a 98% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes and Cuoco has received high praise for her comedic-dramatic turn as a woman continually coming to terms with her torturous past.

The series also stars Perez, Michiel Huisman, Zosia Mamet, Michelle Gomez, T.R. Knight, Colin Woodell, Merle Dandridge, Griffin Matthews and Nolan Gerard Funk.

The Flight Attendant is produced by Warner Bros Television, Berlanti Productions & Yes, Norman Productions.

HBO Max Launches 60 Episodes of Lynda Carter’s Original “Wonder Woman” Series

Lynda Carter is spinning her way onto the Max

The original Wonder Woman television series, starring the 69-year-old half-Mexican American actress/singer, has launched on HBO Max – just days before the latest Gal Gadot-fronted feature film drops on the streamer.

Lynda Carter x Wonder Woman

The WarnerMedia-owned platform launched 60 episodes of the 1970s series on Wednesday December 23. It features The New Original Wonder Woman television movie pilot that aired in November 1975 before the series started properly in April 1976.

It starred Carter, who also stars in The CW’s Supergirl and has a small cameo in the upcoming WW84 film, as the Amazonian princess, initially rescuing fallen American pilot Major Steve Trevor, played by Lyle Waggoner.

The pilot and the 13-episode first season aired on ABC, while Seasons 2 and 3 moved to CBS. The first season was set in the 1940s during World War II, while Seasons 2 and 3 are set in the 1970s and known as The New Adventures of Wonder Woman with a new cast apart from Carter and Waggoner.

It comes as Wonder Woman 1984, directed by Patty Jenkins based on a script she wrote with Geoff Johns and David Callaham, launches on HBO Max in the U.S. on December 25 (at noon ET).

https://twitter.com/RealLyndaCarter/status/1341779691938734080?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1341779691938734080%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fdeadline.com%2F2020%2F12%2Flynda-carter-wonder-woman-hbo-max-wonder-woman-1984-1234661007%2F