Adam Valdez to Receive One of Variety’s Artisan Awards

Adam Valdez is a true artisan

The Latino Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor will be one of the honorees at Variety’s sixth annual Artisans Awards, which celebrates those essential to the filmmaking process and who’ve exhibited the most exciting and innovative work of the year in their respective fields.

Adam Valdez

Valdezis being recognized for his work on Disney’s The Lion King, directed by Jon Favreau. Valdez, along with Rob Legato, serves as the film’s visual effect supervisor. 

Previously, he has worked on the The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And he nabbed an Oscar for his work on Jungle Book, also directed by Favreau.

The tribute evening will take place during the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Sunday, January 19 at the Lobero Theatreand will be moderated by Variety’s senior VP and awards editor, Tim Grayand Variety’s artisan editor Jazz Tangcay.

The 35th Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs from January 15 through January 25.

Morena Baccarin to Star in the Nourish Thriller “Tropico”

Morena Baccarin is hittin’ the tropics…

The 40-year-old Brazilian actress is set to star in director Giada Colagrande’s Tropico, a noirish thriller set in Brazil.

Morena Baccarin

Baccarin will star opposite Pedro Pascal and Willem Dafoein the film, from a screenplay by Barry Gifford.

In Tropico, Dafoe plays Raymond Sanz, a veteran operative hired to spy on Mark, an American businessman (Pascal) in a steamy costal town in Northern Brazil. However, things get more complicated when Sanz falls simultaneously for Mark’s wife, the mysterious and beautiful Lucia (Baccarin), and her equally beautiful identical twin sister, Olivia (Baccarin).

“Barry’s atmospheric screenplay is an exotic thriller in the best traditions of the noir genre,” said Colagrande, “and I also couldn’t be more excited to work with such an accomplished group of actors.”

Eclipse Pictureshas acquired the worldwide sales rights to Tropico.

Colagrande previously directed Padre and her debut film Open My Heart played at Venice Film Festivalin 2002.

Production on the film is due to start in the first quarter of 2020 in São Luis Do Maranhão, Northern Brazil.

In addition to her regular roles on the iconic series Homeland and Gotham, Baccarin has two Deadpool blockbusters under her belt and next stars opposite Gerard Butlerin Greenland forSTX Filmsand opposite Charlie Hunnam and Mel Gibsonin Waldo.

Pascal, who starred on television in Game of Thrones and Narcos and appeared in the Equalizer 2 film, will next be seen in the Robert Rodriguez-directed We Can Be Heroes, and opposite Gal Gadotin the sequel Wonder Woman 1984. He also stars in the title role of Jon Favreau’s upcoming Star Wars spinoff, The Mandalorian.

Pedro Pascal to Star in Disney+’s Live-Action Star Wars Series “The Mandalorian”

May the Force be with Pedro Pascal

The 43-year-old Chilean actor is joining the Jedi universe, portraying the title character in The Mandalorian, the live-action Star Wars series that will be a flagship program for Disney+, the ambitious streaming service launching in 2019.

Pedro Pascal

Pascal is in final negotiations to star in the series, which chronicles the lone-wolf odyssey of a character who hails from the planet Mandalore, which Star Wars fans know as the homeworld of the notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett and Jango Fett.

Pascal memorably portrayed the passionate warrior Oberyn Martell, aka the Red Viper, on the fourth season of the HBO series Game of ThronesHe also played DEA agent Javier Peña on three seasons of Narcos, when the Netflix series centered on the cocaine cartels of Colombia. Pascal also played Agent Whiskey in the Foxfeature film Kingsmen: The Golden Circle in 2017.

The Mandalorian is written and executive produced by Jon Favreau, the director of Jungle BookIron Man as well as the upcoming reinterpretation of The Lion King. Favreau’s official description of the show: “After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.”

The events depicted in the series are set after the events of Return of the Jedi, which concluded with the fiery funeral of Darth Vader on the forest moon of Endor.

The first episode of the series will be directed by Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars). Also on board to direct early episodes are Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok), Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), Deborah Chow (Jessica Jones) and actress Bryce Dallas Howard, whose previous directorial work has been limited to short films.

MTV Renews Baquero’s “The Shannara Chronicles” for a Second Season

Ivana Baquero will have more to chronicle in the near future…

MTV has ordered a second season of The Shannara Chronicles, starring the 21-year-old Spanish actress.

Ivana Baquero

An adaptation of the international best-selling fantasy novels by Terry Brooks, the fantasy series hails from Smallville and Into the Badlands creators Al Gough and Miles Millar and Iron Man and Jungle Book director Jon Favreau.

It had a modestly-rated premiere run on linear television but did well in young demos, delayed and multi-platform viewing as well as on social media.

The series averaged a 0.98 L+3 rating in MTV’s core P12-34 demo, ranking as MTV’s top-rated new series this year.

Shannara also saw the highest average L+7 lift (+106%) for a freshman series in MTV history. A strong digital performer, the series pulled in 16.6 million streams across all MTV’s digital properties and ranks as the highest grossing digital download for a single season on MTV ever.

The Shannara Chronicles follows a trio of heroes who’ve embarked on a quest to stop a demon army bent on destroying humanity’s world. It stars Poppy Drayton as Amberle, an Elvin Princess; Baquero as Eretria, a Human Rover; Austin Butler as Wil, a Half-Elf, Half-Human, and Aaron Jakubenko as Ander.

In the season finale, Baquero’s character stays behind in Safehold to give the others time to escape from the Trolls following them. It is revealed that Eretria has been captured by Trolls; and she recognizes one of her captors .

The Shannara Chronicles is co-produced by MTV, Sonar Entertainment and Farah Films.

“This dream team delivered a beautiful, ground breaking show with compelling stories and character journeys which brought in new viewers,” said Mina Lefevre, EVP and Head of Scripted Development at MTV.

Brühl Starring in John Wells’ Culinary Film Project at The Weinstein Company

Something’s cookin’ for Daniel Brühl in Hollywood…

The 36-year-old half-Spanish actor, who earned a SAG Award nomination for his performance in Ron Howard’s Rush, will star in the untitled John Wells-directed culinary project at The Weinstein Company starring Bradley Cooper and Matthew Rhys.

Daniel Brühl

The film centers on Adam Jones, portrayed by Cooper, a two Michelin Star chef in Paris whose ability to create explosions of taste is undermined by his badboy rants and diva behavior that destroy his career. Rhys portrays Reece, who stands in the way of his comeback.

No word yet on Brühl’s character in the film.

The film is shooting in London through September 26.

Harvey Weinstein is trying to come up with the right title after Jon Favreau released Chef, which was the film’s original title.

The film also stars Sienna Miller, Uma Thurman, Riccardo Scarmacio, Emma Thompson, Lily James, Omar Sy, Jamie Dornan, Sam Keeley, Sarah Greene and Alicia Vikander.

Trailer Released for Jon Favreau’s “Chef,” Co-Starring Vergara

Sofia Vergara’s is cookin’ up something special in her next film project…

The 41-year-old Colombian actress is starring in Jon Favreau’s soon-to-be released comedy Chef, which just saw its theatrical trailer released.

Sofia Vergara in Chef

The film centers on Favreau’s character, Miami-born chef Carl Casper, who tries and fails to open a restaurant in Los Angeles. He returns to Miami to fix up a food truck he names El Jefe Cubanos and reacquaints with his ex-wife (portrayed by Vergara). He plans to drive across the country to reclaim his success in L.A.

In addition to Favreau and Vergara, the film also stars John Leguizamo, Robert Downey Jr., Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, Scarlett Johansson, Bobby Cannavale and Amy Sedaris.

Open Road, which acquired the distribution rights to Chef in June, and will release the film stateside on May 9.

Cannavale In Talks to Appear in the Melissa McCarthy-Starrer “Spy”

Bobby Cannavale has his spy on a new movie role…

The 43-year-old half-Cuban American actor is in talks to join the cast of Spy, the Melissa McCarthy action comedy from director Paul Feig.

Bobby Cannavale

The film, which at one point was titled Susan Cooper, centers on a CIA analyst who goes into the field to find the person responsible for the death of her lover.

Jude Law is already on board as the ill-fated lover, a suave super-spy, while Jason Statham will play an overconfident yet clumsy spy. Also in the cast are Rose Byrne and British comedienne Miranda Hart.

Cannavale is in negotiations to portray one of the villains, an Italian lothario.

Feig will direct the film from a script he wrote.

Cannavale, who won a Primetime Emmy for his performance on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, also appears in Jon Favreau‘s upcoming indie Chef.

He has Imagine, a drama with Al Pacino and Annette Bening, and Annie, Sony‘s remake starring Jamie Foxx, in the can and was recently cast in Martin Scorsese’s untitled rock ‘n’ roll HBO pilot.

 

González Iñárritu Reportedly In Talks to Direct “The Jungle Book”

It appears Alejandro González Iñárritu may be booking a trip to the jungle for his next project…

Warner Bros. is reportedly in early talks with the 50-year-old Mexican filmmaker to direct The Jungle Book, a new version of the popular Rudyard Kipling novel about an orphaned boy raised in the wilderness by animals, according to Deadline.com.

Alejandro González Iñárritu

The project is one of the studio’s top priorities, with a script by Callie Kloves, daughter of Harry Potter series scribe Steve Kloves, who is producing the film.

Bur this isn’t the only Jungle Book project in the works…

Disney is pursuing its own live action version of The Jungle Book, recently hiring Elf and Iron Man helmer Jon Favreau to direct the film.

The book is public domain, but as usual the first one to make it into production usually becomes the Tarzan of the jungle.

After several serious dramas including Amores perros, Babel and 21 Grams, Iñárritu recently took on a comedy for his most recent film Birdman, which is wrapping up now.

He’s also attached to the New Regency 1820s frontier revenge tale The Revenant.

Cannavale to Star Opposite Cameron Diaz in “Annie”

It’s the hard-knock life for Bobby Cannavale

The 43-year-old half-Cuban American has signed on to star in Sony Pictures and Overbrook Entertainment’s in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Annie.

Bobby Cannavale

Cannavale, currently nominated for two Emmy Awards, joins Quvenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz and Rose Byrne in the Will Gluck-directed film.

Cannavale, who most recently appeared in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, will play a bulldog political adviser to Foxx’s character as he makes a mayoral run in New York.

The film is set for release on Christmas Day 2014.

Gluck is currently revising the film’s screenplay, which was written by Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna. It’s based on the comic strip and the musical stage play Annie, with book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin.

Cannavale will next appear in the Jon Favreau-directed Chef opposite Favreau and Scarlett Johansson, and the Dan Fogelman-directed Imagine with Al Pacino, Jennifer Garner and Annette Bening.

Cannavale In Talks to Star in the John Lennon-centric “Imagine”

Bobby Cannavale could very well be imagining his next role…

The 42-year-old half-Cuban-American actor is in talks to star in the John Lennon-centric story Imagine, the directorial debut of Dan Fogelman, the writer behind Cars and Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Bobby Cannavale

Imagine centers on an aging rocker (portrayed by Al Pacino) who discovers a letter written to him by the late John Lennon and decides to alter the course of his life.

Along with Cannavale, Annette Bening is in negotiations to board Imagine. Meanwhile, Pacino, who had been previously attached, is in the process of closing his deal to star in the movie.

Bening would play Pacino’s love interest, while Cannavale would play Pacino’s son, a very normal man compared to the rocker with whom he has an estranged relationship.

Fogelman plans to being filming Imagine in July.

Cannavale appeared in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Showtime’s Nurse Jackie. And, he appears in the film Lovelace. He’s also in talks to join Jon Favreau in the filmmaker’s indie, Chef.