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.

Ritchie Valens’ Hometown Post Office to be Named After Him

Ritchie Valensis getting a special stamp of approval… 

President Donald Trump has signed a resolution renaming a Los Angeles area post office after the late rock ‘n’ roll legend, whose real name is Richard Steven Valenzuela.

Ritchie Valens

The Los Angeles Daily Newsreported that Pacoima Post Office will be named the Ritchie Valens Post Office Building.

Democratic Rep. Tony Cardenasintroduced the resolution to rename the facility, along with another to rename the Van Nuys Post Officeafter Marilyn Monroe.

Valens attended San Fernando High Schooland was discovered in 1958 at the American Legionhall in Pacoima. His hits included “La Bamba,” an adaptation of a Mexican folk song. A film about his life with the same title was released in 1987.

A rock and roll pioneer and a forefather of the Chicano rock movement, Valens’ recording career lasted eight months and abruptly ended when he died in a plane crash at the age of 17 alongside Buddy Holly and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardsonin 1959.

Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” Inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry

Ritchie Valenshas earned a special place in U.S. recording history…

The late Mexican American singer/songwriter’s groundbreaking 1958 sensation “La Bamba”is one of the newest recordings inducted into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress

Ritchie Valens

Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian, with advice from the Library’s National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB), is tasked with annually selecting 25 titles that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant,” and are at least 10 years old.

Valens, who was born Richard Valenzuelain Los Angeles in 1941, spoke English as his first language. Though he never mastered Spanish, he learned Spanish songs from his Mexican-American family, including “La Bamba,” a song from the Mexican state of Veracruz that was a favorite dance piece at weddings. 

Valens’ amplified guitar and power chords were a long way from the acoustic string band sounds of Mexico, but he successfully transposed the feeling and rhythm of the song to the back beat of early rock and roll. It was released as the b-side of his second single “Donna” in late 1958, and had become a hit on its own when he died at the age of 17 on February 3, 1959, in a plane crash that also took the lives of Buddy Hollyand J.P. Richardson, “The Big Bopper.” In spite of his brief life and a recording career that only lasted eight months, Valens’ success brought a new sound to the mainstream and inspired generations of Chicano musicians.

Los Lobos released its version of the song in 1987. “As a young boy growing up in East Los Angeles, I was curious and ultimately impressed by a rock song sung in Spanish — that song was ‘La Bamba’ by Ritchie Valens,” said Louie Pérez, one of the founding members and guitarist for Los Lobos. “It continues to be a hallmark in American music and an influence on all Latino music that followed.”

Spanish cellist, composer, and conductor Pablo Casals’ 1939 reimagining of the Bach cello suites was selected in the classical category. Raphaël Merlin, cellist of the acclaimed Ébène Quartet External, said: “There is a prophetic aspect to Pablo Casals’s work—he revealed his recording of the six Bach Cello Suites, and they instantly became our bible, and continue to offer revelations to cellists even to this day. At the same time, he also made a practical case for these works as an ideal way for a musician to exercise his or her mind, cultivate healthy playing technique, study counterpoint, and more. However you look at them, his recording of the suites still sounds like the opening of a new era.”

The new recordings to the National Recording Registry bring the total number of titles on the registry to 525, a small part of the Library’s vast recorded-sound collection of nearly 3 million items.

Here’s a look at the 25 recordings that were selected for inclusion in the registry in 2018:

2018 National Recording Registry

  1. Yiddish Cylinders from the Standard Phonograph Company of New York and the Thomas Lambert Company (c. 1901-1905)
  2. “Memphis Blues” (single), Victor Military Band (1914)
  3. Melville Jacobs Collection of Native Americans of the American Northwest (1929-1939)
  4. “Minnie the Moocher” (single), Cab Calloway (1931)
  5. “Bach Six Cello Suites” (album), Pablo Casals (c. 1939)
  6. “They Look Like Men of War” (single), Deep River Boys (1941)
  7. “Gunsmoke” — Episode: “The Cabin” (Dec. 27, 1952)
  8. Ruth Draper: Complete recorded monologues, Ruth Draper (1954-1956)
  9. “La Bamba” (single), Ritchie Valens (1958)
  10. “Long Black Veil” (single), Lefty Frizzell (1959)
  11. “Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, Vol. 1: The Early Years” (album), Stan Freberg (1961)
  12. “GO” (album), Dexter Gordon (1962)
  13. “War Requiem” (album), Benjamin Britten (1963)
  14. “Mississippi Goddam” (single), Nina Simone (1964)
  15. “Soul Man” (single), Sam & Dave (1967)
  16. “Hair” (original Broadway cast recording) (1968)
  17. Speech on the Death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy (April 4, 1968)
  18. “Sweet Caroline” (single), Neil Diamond (1969)
  19. “Superfly” (album), Curtis Mayfield (1972)
  20. “Ola Belle Reed” (album), Ola Belle Reed (1973)
  21. “September” (single), Earth, Wind & Fire (1978)
  22. “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” (single), Sylvester (1978)
  23. “She’s So Unusual” (album), Cyndi Lauper (1983)
  24. “Schoolhouse Rock!: The Box Set” (1996)
  25. “The Blueprint” (album), Jay-Z (2001)

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).

Esai Morales to Star in Sony Pictures’ “Superfly” Remake

Esai Morales’ career is soaring to new heights…

The 55-year-old Puerto Rican actor will star in the Director X-helmed Superfly remake from Sony Pictures, which will debut in theaters June 15.

Esai Morales

Morales will portray play Adalberto.

The Alex Tse-penned script is based on the 1972 original blaxploitation crime drama, which followed an African American cocaine dealer who tries to secure one more deal before getting out of the business.

Morales joins a cast that includes Trevor Jackson, Jason MitchellLex Scott Davis, Andrea Londo, Jacob Ming-Trent, Omar Chapparo, and Allen Maldonado.

Joel Silver is producing the film with rap star Future, who is also putting together the film’s soundtrack.

Morales, who currently stars on ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder, rose to acclaim in the Richie Valens biopic La Bamba. He’s also appeared in PBSAmerican Family, Showtime’s Resurrection Blvd., NYPD Blue and Caprica.

Erika Ender Inducted Into the Latin Song Writers Hall of Fame

She’s the woman behind the song of the summer… And, now Erika Ender has earned her place in Latin music history.

At the fifth annual La Musa Awards gala last week — hosted by Jane the Virgin‘s Jaime Camil – the Panamanian-Brazilian singer/songwriter was inducted into the prestigious Latin Song Writers Hall of Fame, the youngest inductee in the hall’s history.

 Erika Ender

Along with Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, Ender is co-writer of the biggest hit of the year, “Despacito,” featuring Justin Bieber, which spent 16 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100.

Born in Panama to a Brazilian mother and a U.S.-born father of German ancestry, Ender speaks fluent Portuguese and Spanish, and moves easily between cultures.

Before “Despacito,” she had written hits for ChayanneGilberto Santa RosaGloria TreviEdnita Nazario and Los Tigres del Norte. She also is a TV personality in Latin America, where she has been a judge for a Latin version of American Idol.

Along with Ender, Ana GabrielRoberto LiviMartin UrietaCarlos Vives and Camilo Sesto were also inducted into hall of fame.

Each was presented at the James L. Knight Center with the coveted hand-crafted trophy, originally inspired by “the muse” of the late Cuban songwriter and poet, Elena Casals.

Additionally, Vives was presented with the Icon Award, while Wisin, the late Julio Jaramillo and “La Bamba” garnered the Victory Award, Legacy Award and Song of All Time, respectively.

Amid a political climate currently riddled with anti-immigrant rhetoric, as well as the devastating aftermaths of hurricanes Irma and Maria throughout the Caribbean, Urieta offered words and sentiments in support of immigrants, while  Nazario performed a brilliant tribute to the island of Puerto Rico.

The Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame is dedicated to educating, preserving, honoring and celebrating “the lives and music of the world’s greatest Latin songwriters, composers and lyricists in every genre while developing and inspiring new generations of music creators through master classes, workshops, scholarships and digital initiatives.”

Los Lobos to Receive BMI Icon Award

The members of Los Lobos are reuniting for a special honor…

The multiple Grammy-winning rock band from East Los Angeles, best known for their hit version of “La Bamba,” will receive the BMI Icon Award during the organization’s 24th annual Latin Awards.

Los Lobos

The event, to be hosted by BMI president & CEO Mike O’Neill and Delia Orjuela, BMI VP of Latin Writer/Publisher Relations, will be held March 21 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Formed in 1973 by David Hidalgo, Cesar Rosas, Louie Perez and Conrad Lozano — fellow students at Garfield High School in East L.A. — Los Lobos (the group also includes Steve Berlin and Enrique Gonzalez), have been doing Latin music long before Latin music was cool, blending rock ‘n roll with Chicano roots.

The group, bilingual and bicultural before the concept became a buzzword, rose to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1987 with their cover of Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba,” the same year they won a Grammy in the-then newly instated category of Best Mexican American Performance for the song “Anselma.”

Los Lobos’ exploration of the musical landscape has continued unabated, spanning Latin, folk, rock and even R&B. They’ve collected three Grammy awards along the way, plus Billboard’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.

The BMI Icon Award, whose past recipients include Gloria Estefan, Paul Simon, Dolly Parton and Carlos Santana, is presented to songwriters who have had unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers.

“Los Lobos have been musical ambassadors to the Mexican-American community,” said BMI’s Orjuela in a statement. “Their music reflects the diversity and musical heritage of America, weaving together blues, rock, norteño, and cumbia.”

During the March 21 ceremony, BMI will also honor the Latin songwriter, song and publisher of the year plus the writers and publishers of BMI’s most-performed songs of the past year.

This will also mark the first time ever that BMI expands its criteria for determining winners; in addition to terrestrial radio performances, data will also include streaming and satellite radio.

Valens the Subject of a New Licensing & Merchandising deal with C3 Entertainment

Ritchie Valens is making a posthumous comeback…

The late Mexican American “La Bamba” singer’s popularity may increase in the coming months with products like La Bamba Cola, on-line video games and limited-edition guitars.

Ritchie Valens

Valens — who died with Buddy Holly in a 1959 plane crash — will be promoted through an official licensing and merchandising deal with Southern California-based C3 Entertainment.

It marks the first time that the image of the teenage Latino rock pioneer will be promoted through an official licensing initiative sanctioned by Valens’ family.

“More than a retro endeavor, the multicultural aspect of Valens’ licensing program is pivotal,” Ani Khachoian, C3 Entertainment’s Executive Vice President of Licensing, Merchandising and Distribution, told Billboard via email. “We want to make sure every fan has the opportunity to rediscover this rock ’n’ roll icon, and that we introduce Valens to new audiences. He was a talented, positive young man, who worked hard. It’s a wonderful legacy for young people.”

C3 also represents the legacy of The Big Bopper, who died in the snowy crash with Valens and Holly while on their Winter Dance Party tour.

Valens, best known for his hit “La Bamba,” signed to Del-Fi Records in 1958 and recorded two albums, releasing singles that included “Donna,” which reached no. 2 on the Billboard pop chart.

The 1978 movie La Bamba, starring Lou Diamond Phillips with music performed by Los Lobos, brought Valens’ story to new audiences; the soundtrack album sold 2 million copies in the United States.

C3’s Khachoian says that a La Bamba Cola beverage is set to be manufactured and distributed by the Rocket Fizz Soda Pop & Candy Shops chain. Online games, clothing and collectibles are also in the works.

“We’re passionate about securing limited-edition guitars – Valens played several different models of guitars,” Khachoian adds. “We are also positioning him for advertising and live events.”

Morales Releases Video Message About His Run for SAG-AFTRA National President

Esai Morales is giving his state of the union address, of sorts.

The 50-year-old Puerto Rican actor and Magic City star is the running for SAG-AFTRA’s first sole position of National President. And, he’s speaking out about his candidacy.

Esai Morales

To drum up support, the La Bamba actor shared a video statement with Deadline.com about his candidacy.

“I served on the National Board alongside Esai and I know him to be a caring and dedicated person. I believe the SAG-AFTRA membership will be well served with Esai as our National President,” said Ed Harris about Morales’ candidacy.

SAG-AFTRA is an American labor union representing more than 160,000 film and television principal and background performers throughout the world. The national position carries a two-year term.

Morales Running for SAG-AFTRA National President

Esai Morales next role could be quite presidential…

SAG-AFTRA has released the official roster of candidates for its upcoming elections, with the 50-year-old Puerto Rican actor and Magic City star in the running for the top position.

Esai Morales

Morales  is running for national president of SAG-AFTRA against Paul Edney, Ken Howard and Marilyn Monrovia.

“As an experienced ‘actorvist,’ I will refine how this merged union can benefit all members,” says the La Bamba star in his statement. “The current delay in residuals is unacceptable. I will hasten the unions promise of merging the pension and health plans. I will ensure that our readiness for the 2014 TV/Theatrical contract negotiations is unparalleled. SAG-AFTRA can no longer operate in the red. I will establish worldwide recognition, branding and proper industry respect for SAG-AFTRA. For our background performers I will lead the vetting of the costly and questionable hiring practices.”

The national position carries a two-year term.

National officer ballots will be mailed to all eligible SAG-AFTRA members nationwide on July16, with a return deadline and tabulation on August 15. Election results are expected to be announced that evening. The same schedule will apply to the Los Angeles and New York Local elections. Schedules vary for other local elections.

SAG-AFTRA is an American labor union representing more than 160,000 film and television principal and background performers throughout the world.

For more details Morales’ platform, visit www.membership1st.org.