Showtime Renews Mel Rodriguez’s Comedy “On Becoming a God in Central Florida” for a Second Season

There’s more God-like action in Mel Rodriguez’s future…

One month after its season 1 premiere, Showtime has ordered a second season of its critically acclaimed comedy On Becoming A God In Central Florida, starring the 46-year-old Latino actor.

Mel Rodriguez

Hailing from Sony’s TriStar Television, the series was created and executive produced by Robert Funkeand Matt Lutskyand stars Kirsten Dunst.

On Becoming A God is a darkly comedic story about the cult of free enterprise and one woman’s relentless pursuit of the American Dream. In addition to Dunst and Rodriguez, the first season stars Théodore PellerinBeth Dittoand Ted Levine.

“With such imaginative storytelling and an absolutely inspired lead performance, On Becoming A God In Central Florida has been a revelation,” said Jana Winograde, President of Entertainment, Showtime Networks. “Kirsten, Esta, Robert, Matt and Charlie have crafted a wondrous blend of satirical light within the economic and emotional melancholy that confronts so many Americans. We couldn’t be happier that On Becoming A God is on Showtime, nor more eager to see what wild events await our ensemble in the downline of season two.”

Set in a small Orlando-adjacent town in 1992, On Becoming A God In Central Florida follows Krystal Stubbs (Dunst), a minimum-wage water park employee who lies, schemes and cons her way up the ranks of Founders American Merchandise (FAM) — the cultish, flag-waving, multibillion-dollar pyramid scheme that drove her to ruin in the first place, run by the powerful Obie Garbeau II (Levine). Determined to make a better life for herself, Krystal dives deep into FAM and develops a tangled relationship with FAM’s most loyal and fanatical follower Cody (Pellerin), until her business begins to affect those closest to her, including Ernie (Rodriguez), her affable water park boss, and his FAM-skeptic wife Bets (Ditto).

Season 1 is currently airing on Sundays at 10:00 pm ET/PT on Showtime.

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.

Cannavale to Appear in “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors” Series

Bobby Cannavale is ready to talk shop…

Variety and PBS SoCal have announced the line-up for the fourth installment of their awards season series “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors,” with the 45-year-old half-Cuban American actor making the final cut.

Bobby Cannavale in Vinyl

Available to stream on Variety.com, the new “Actors on Actors” season will feature one-on-one discussions between this year’s Emmy contenders.

Along with Cannavale, who stars in HBO’s Vinyl, this year’s conversations, which will be printed in the June 7 issue of Variety, will also include Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”), Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”), Jamie Lee Curtis (“Scream Queens”), Kirsten Dunst (“Fargo”), Jay Duplass (“Transparent”), Billy Eichner (“Difficult People”), Sam Heughan (“Outlander”), Tom Hiddleston (“The Night Manager”), Felicity Huffman (“American Crime”), Lady Gaga (“American Horror Story”), Jennifer Lopez (“Shades of Blue”), Rob Lowe (“Grinder”), Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”), Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley”), Aaron Paul (“The Path”), Sarah Paulson (“American Crime Story”), Krysten Ritter (“Jessica Jones”), Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”), Patrick Stewart (“Blunt Talk”), John Travolta (“American Crime Story”), Courtney B. Vance (“American Crime Story”) and Kerry Washington (“Confirmation”).

“Variety is thrilled to cover the best actors on television in this season’s ‘Actors on Actors’ for PBS stations,” said Variety‘s executive TV editor Debra Birnbaum in a statement. “This season’s lineup includes actors from some of the top new television programs and showcases the wide diversity of roles for actors on broadcast, cable and streaming platforms.”

PBS SoCal will premiere the segment in two episodes, one on June 12 and the other on June 19.

“Through their craft, the actors interviewed on ‘Actors on Actors’ effortlessly spark our imaginations and take us to new places,” said PBS SoCal president and CEO Andy Russell in a statement. “Through this partnership with Variety we are pleased to enhance the experience of fans of great television – providing them greater insight into the people who bring them their favorite dramas, comedies and more.”

Hernandez Cast in Fox’s “Gang Related” Pilot

Jay Hernandez is joining the gang at Fox…

The 35-year-old Mexican American actor has landed a role in Fox’s drama pilot Gang Related.

Jay Hernandez

The project, written by Chris Morgan and directed by Allen Hughes, centers on Ryan Lopez (portrayed by Charlie’s Angels alum Ramon Rodriguez), a gang member sent in to infiltrate the San Francisco Police Department.

Hernandez, who most recently starred in ABC’s short-lived series Last Resort, will portray Dante Acosta, gang lord Javier Acosta’s son, and Ryan’s best friend since childhood.

Hernandez, who rose to acclaim after starring opposite Kirsten Dunst in Crazy/Beautiful, has previously appeared in Hostel, World Trade Center and LOL.

Solanas’ “Upside Down” Gets March Release Date

Juan Diego Solanas’ second feature film will finally get its day in theaters…

The 46-year-old Argentine filmmaker’s latest film, Upside Down, will get a limited North American platform release beginning on March 15.

Upside Down

Starring Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess, the film centers on star-crossed lovers separated by class, wealth and a pair of side by side planets whose gravities are mutually incompatible.

Solanas’ wrapped work on the ambitious science fantasy romance in late 2010.

A dual production by Studio 37 and Onyx Films, Upside Down is being distributed by Millennium Entertainment.

Solanas, the son of Argentina film director Fernando Solanas, saw his previous film Nordeste screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.

AMC Networks Acquires Braga’s “On the Road”

It looks like Alice Braga’s latest film will be released in theaters this fall…

The 29-year-old Brazilian actress’ On the Road has been acquired by AMC Networks a week before it premieres in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

Alice Braga

Buying all U.S. rights to Walter Salles’ adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s classic novel of the same name, AMC Networks announced that its distribution labels IFC Films and Sundance Selects will release the film later this fall in theaters.

Along with Braga—who rose to fame following her starring role opposite Will Smith in I Am Legend—the film stars Twilight’s Kristen Stewart, TRON: Legacy’s Garrett Hedlund, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams, Elisabeth Moss and Viggo Mortensen.

Alice Braga's On the Road Poster

Jose Rivera wrote the screenplay for the film, which brings to life the classic novel based on the spontaneous cross-country adventures of Kerouac and his friends during the middle of the 20th century.

On the Road is considered a defining work of the postwar Beat Generation that was inspired by jazz, poetry and drug experiences. While many of the names and details of Kerouac’s experiences are changed for the novel, hundreds of references in On the Road have real-world counterparts.

Hernandez Cast in CBS’ Trooper Pilot…

Hostel star Jay Hernandez could be heading back to television.

The 34-year-old Mexican American actor, who rose to fame when he starred opposite Kirsten Dunst in the romantic drama Crazy/Beautiful, has signed on to star opposite Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino in CBS’s drama pilot Trooper.

Jay Hernandez

Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Trooper centers on KJ Flaxton (Sorvino), a common-sense mother-turned-New York state trooper.

Hernandez, who last appeared on television in ABC’s Six Degrees, will play KJ’s new partner, a former Miami homicide detective looking for a fresh start for his daughter and him following the death of his wife.

 

Claro Receives Cinematographer Award for “Melancholia”

It’s definitely not the end of the world for Manuel Alberto Claro

The 41-year-old Chilean cinematographer picked up the Carlo Di Palma European Cinematographer Award at the European Film Awards—the continent’s version of the Oscars—for his mesmerizing lensing of the planet’s final days in Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia.

Melancholia - Manuel Alberto Claro

The apocalyptic drama stars Kirsten Dunst as a chronically depressed, self-involved bride getting married at the same time that a mysterious new planet threatens to collide into the Earth.

Claro, who has lived in Denmark since his early childhood, has received critical acclaim since the film’s release for his oh-so-stunning imagery, which includes an eight-minute visual overture consisting of a gorgeous, slow-motion montage set to Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, which helps underscore and enrich the entire film.

It could be first of many honors this awards season for Claro, who studied still photography at Milan’s Istitutto Europeo di Design and worked as an assistant photographer in Milan, New York and Copenhagen before enrolling at the National Film School of Denmark. He graduated in 2001. Claro’s previous award-winning projects include: Allegro, Dark Horse and Reconstruction.