Rafael Casal to Reprise His Role in Starz’s TV Adaptation of His Acclaimed Film “Blindspotting”

Rafael Casal is ready for a repeat performance…

The 35-year-old part Spanish and Cuban American writer, performer and producer will reprise his role in Starz’s television adaptation of Blindspotting, the 2018 feature film from Casal and Daveed Diggs.

Rafael Casal

The series, a spinoff of the film written and produced by Casal and Diggs, is being turned into a half-hour dramedy. Jasmine Cephas Jones, who starred in the Lionsgate film, will reprise her role and also will serve as a producer. Casal serves as showrunner.

The series centers on Ashley (Cephas Jones), who was nipping at the heels of a middle-class life in Oakland until Miles (Casal), her partner of 12 years and father of their son, suddenly is incarcerated, leaving her to navigate a chaotic and humorous existential crisis when she’s forced to move in with Miles’ mother and half-sister.

Benjamin Earl Turner, Atticus Woodward, Jaylen Barron and Candace Nicholas-Lippman will also join the cast of the eight-part series. Casal will appear on a recurring basis, while Justin Chu Cary, who starred in the film, will play Rob.

Produced by Lionsgate Television, the series will start production in Oakland and Los Angeles.

“Diggs and I are thrilled to continue our partnership with Lionsgate by expanding the Blindspotting world as a series on Starz,” Casal said. “This story, the incredible cast and the production are a dream. We are making the kind of show we have long hoped to see on television, centered around just some of the amazing kinds of characters the Bay Area has to offer.”

Added Diggs: “Figuring out a way to bring The Bay to life in a half-hour comedy space has been so rewarding. Ultimately, this is a story about how a broken prison system affects all of us and, like the film, we’re using comedy to talk about very real systemic effects in the country with the largest prison population in the world.”

AppleTV+ GIves Series Order to Eugenio Derbez-Starrer “Acapulco,” Inspired By His “How to Be A Latin Lover” Film

Eugenio Derbez has found the Apple(TV) of his eye…

AppleTV+ has given a series order to Acapulco, a Spanish and English-language half-hour comedy executive produced and starring the 59-year-old Mexican actor, comedian and filmmaker.

Eugenio Derbez

The project is inspired by Derbez’s hit 2017 feature comedy How to Be A Latin Lover.

Acapulco hails from Lionsgate Television, studio-based The Tannenbaum Company, as well as Derbez and Benjamin Odell’s 3Pas Studios.

 

Created by Austin Winsberg, Eduardo Cisneros and Jason Shuman, Acapulcocenters on a young Mexican man, who’s dream comes true when he gets the job of a lifetime at the hottest resort in Acapulco. But he soon realizes the job is far more complicated than he ever imagined as all of his beliefs and morals start to be questioned. The show takes place in 1984 with Derbez narrating and playing the present-day version of the main character.

InHow to Be a Latin Lover,produced by 3Pas Studios and distributed by Pantelion Films, Lionsgate’s venture with Televisa, an out-of-shape former gigolo (Derbez) is left to fend for himself after the rich older woman he’d married 25 years ago dumps him for a younger man.

Gaz Alazraki will direct and executive produce the pilot.

Derbez’s feature film Instructions Not Included, which he directed, co-wrote and starred in, became the most successful Spanish language film in the U.S. and worldwide, grossing more than $100 million worldwide. Cisneros served as an associate producer on the movie.

Luis Guzmán to Appear on Season 2 of Starz’s Crime Drama Series “Hightown”

Luis Guzmán is coming to (High)town

The 64-year-old Puerto Rican actor has been cast for a season-long arc on the second season of Starz’s crime drama series Hightown, starring Monica Raymund, from Jerry Bruckheimer and Lionsgate Television.

Luis Guzman

Production is currently underway on the 10-episode second season of the series created by Rebecca Cutter, who will make her television directorial debut this season. Oscar–nominated filmmaker Rachel Morrison will return to direct two episodes. Raymund, Dawn WilkinsonRadium Cheung and Eagle Egilsson are also tapped to direct this season.

Guzmán will play Jorge Cuevas, Frankie’s (Amaury Nolasco) cousin. A charming and hilarious yet dangerous sociopath. Also joining the recurring cast are Jona Xiao as Daisy, a stripper at Xavier’s. Bubbly and working class with a hard edge. She’s got swag and can handle herself. Charline St. Charles as Henriette, first generation Haitian-American, wife of Sgt. Saintille (Dohn Norwood) and Dominic L. Santana as Chuleta, Jorge (Guzman) & Frankie’s (Nolasco) muscle.

They join returning cast members Raymund, James Badge Dale, Riley Voelkel, Nolasco, Atkins Estimond and Dohn Norwood. Tonya Glanz also returns in a heavily recurring role as Leslie Babcock, Jackie’s (Raymund) partner in the Narcotics Unit.

“I’m so in love with this cast and the way they brought my vision to life in Season One,” said Cutter, who recently entered an overall deal with Lionsgate Television. “Now I feel inspired to create in a whole new way, through directing. I will be learning from some of the best in the business – Rachel Morrison and Monica Raymund — and I can’t wait to showcase Cape Cod in a new light as we focus on the off-season. We are thrilled to be back in production and bringing you the next chapter in this story.”

Robby Ramos to Appear on Starz’s Wrestling Drama Series “Heels”

Robby Ramos is being brought to heels

The Latino actor has landed a recurring role opposite Stephen Amell, Alexander Ludwig and Mary McCormack in HeelsStarz’s eight-episode hour-long drama set in the outrageous world of independent professional wrestling.

Robby Ramos

Written by Michael Waldron, with Mike O’Malley as showrunner, Heels is a story about the men and women who chase their dreams in the world of small-town pro wrestling. Set in a close-knit Georgia community, it follows a family-owned wrestling promotion as two brothers and rivals, Jack Spade (Amell) and Ace Spade (Ludwig), war over their late father’s legacy. In the ring, somebody must play the good guy (Ludwig) and somebody must play their nemesis, the heel (Amell). But in the real world, those characters can be hard to live up to — or hard to leave behind.

Ramos will portray Diego, a wrestler at the DWL. In the ring, Diego wrestles as a Heel, but in the locker room, he’s a wisecracking and always encouraging colleague and friend.

Heels is produced by Lionsgate Television in association with Paramount Television Studios.

Ramos most recently appeared in Snowfall, Orange Is the New Black and The Blacklist.

Karla Souza to Star in ABC’s Family Comedy Pilot “Home Economics”

Karla Souza is cooking things up…

The 34-year-old Mexican actress will star in ABC’s family comedy pilot Home Economics.

Karla Souza

Starring Caitlin McGee and Topher Gracethe series is described as ‘similar to Modern Family’ and revolves around three adult siblings: one in the 1 percent, one in the middle class, and one barely holding on.

The project hails from writers Michael Colton and John Aboud, the Tannenbaum Co.Lionsgate Television and ABC Studios. It was written by 

Colton and Aboud and inspired by Colton’s family. 

McGee plays the oldest sibling, Sarah, a therapist for at-risk kids, married to a teacher, and they’re often scraping to make ends meet. Of her siblings, she earns the least money, but she does the most socially important work (as she frequently reminds them). She’s a doting mom to her two kids and tries to be a guru to her two brothers, who obviously would be lost without her wisdom. 

Grace plays Tom, the middle sibling and middle-class.

Souza will play Marina. A proud first-generation New Yorker whose parents came from Latin America, Marina is a former lawyer married to struggling novelist Tom (Grace). She’s constantly exhausted by caring for her seven-year-old daughter and toddler twin boys. Marina would like to go back to work one day, if only to escape her children. A rule-follower, Marina is often in conflict with her brother-in-law Connor, who never met a corner he didn’t try to cut. She’s pushed to the max and ready to call everyone out on how much easier they have it.

Souza is returning to ABC after starring in How To Get Away With Murder for the first five seasons. She recurred on the sixth and final season while shooting Pablo Larrain’s upcoming limited series El Presidente for Amazon

After starring in three of the highest grossing films in Mexico (Que Culpa Tiene El NinoNosotros Los Nobles and Instructions Not Included), Souza was last seen on the big screen starring in Everybody Loves Somebody for writer/director Catalina Aguilar Mastretta

Starz Revives Naya Rivera’s “Step Up” Dance Series

Naya Rivera’s steppin’ her way to Starz

Starz is bringing back to life the 33-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress and former Glee star’s dance series Step Up after its cancellation by YouTube last year.

Naya Rivera

The premium cable network has ordered a 10-episode new season of the series from creator and executive producer Holly Sorensen and Lionsgate Television

The series will feature popular characters from previous seasons, while expanding the scope and storytelling as a Starz Original series.

“Holly and her team have created a new and dynamic iteration of the series that captures the hallmarks that have made the Step Upfranchise so successful and elevates the storytelling for the premium, global audience,” said Christina Davis, president, Original Programming for Starz. “This, coupled with the worldwide appeal of the multi-talented, multicultural cast, will make this series a great addition to our slate.”

Inspired by the Step UpLionsgate film franchise that grossed more than $600 million at the worldwide box office, the series centers on Sage Odom (Ne-Yo) as the legendary founder of Atlanta’s famed High Water Performing Arts School and Collette (Rivera), his partner in High Water and in life. 

The upcoming season will see Sage, Colette and their relationship challenged as they face criminal charges, financial ruin and powerful political enemies who want to destroy Sage and High Water.

Tricia Helfer joins the series this season as Erin, alongside Ne-Yo and Rivera and returning series regulars including Petrice Jones as Tal, Faizon Love as Uncle Al, Marcus Mitchell as Dondre, Jade Chynoweth as Odalie, Carlito Olivero as Davis, Terrence Green as Rigo, Eric Graise as King, and Kendra Oyesanya as Poppy.

“The latest installment of ‘Step Up’ not only reimagines the entire franchise but is filled with high energy, lots of heart and electrifying dance moves, and we’re very excited to reunite the talented cast and creative teams for another great season,” said Lionsgate Television group chairman Kevin Beggs. “This collaboration underscores our ability to work successfully across our businesses to supply premium content to Starz.”

Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan, who both co-starred in the original Step Upfilm, will executive produce through Tatum’s Free Association production company. 

The Lionsgate film franchise spanned five films: Step Up, Step Up 2: The StreetsStep Up: 3DStep Up: Revolution and Step Up: All InThe film series also inspired the live music and dance show Step Up Dubai, All In! at the Motiongate Dubai theme park. 

The first two seasons will be available exclusively on the Starz App and On Demand prior to the launch of the new season.

Eugenio Derbez to Guest Star on Disney’s “Elena of Avalor”

Eugenio Derbez is getting animated…

The 56-year-old Mexican actor, comedian and filmmaker has signed on for a guest starring role on the Disney animated series Elena of Avalor, according to Variety.

Eugenio Derbez

The series follows Elena, Disney’s first princess inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore. Derbez will voice Guillermo, a restless spirit with a passion for music, in a special Día de los Muertos-themed episode for the series’ third season, which is set to debut next year.

Derbez was most recently seen in the remake of Overboard starring opposite Anna Farris. He’s also set to appear in the live-action Dora the Explorer movie, which is slated for a 2019 debut.

He’s known for his roles in films like Instructions Not Included, which he also directed and co-wrote, and How to Be a Latin Lover.

Derbez and his 3Pas Studios recently signed an overall deal with Lionsgate Television and previously signed a first-look feature-film deal with Lionsgate’s Pantelion Films.

Gonzalez Norvind to Star in the HBO Drama Pilot “The Devil You Know”

Naian Gonzalez Norvind is feeling devilish

The part-Mexican actress has been cast in the HBO drama pilot The Devil You Know (working title).

Naian Gonzalez Norvind

Co-written by Orange Is The New Black creator Jenji Kohan, Bruce Miller and Tracy Miller, the project is described as a provocative period drama. The Devil You Know explores the circumstances around one of the most compelling chapters in American history — the infamous Salem Witch Trials in 17th century New England, where intolerance and repression set neighbor against neighbor and led a town to mass hysteria.

Norvind will portray Samuel Parris’ niece.

Production on the pilot — a co-production between HBO and Lionsgate Television — is slated to take place in Boston in the spring.

Aguilera Developing Las Vegas-Themed Dramedy for ABC Family

What happens in Vegas may not stay in Vegas, if Christina Aguilera has her way…

The 34-year-old half-Ecuadorian American is developing and executive-producing a soapy, hourlong dramedy about Las Vegas life for ABC Family.

Christina Aguilera

Written by Jake In Progress creator Austin Winsberg, the ABC Family dramedy, tentatively titled Hearts And Clubs, was previously pursued by multiple networks.

It follows a group of Las Vegas entertainers as they fall in and out of love in Sin City.

In the vein of Love Actually, the project, produced by Lionsgate Television, intertwines the characters’ relationship dramas, obstacles, and complications.

Aguilera is actively involved in the development of the project.

NBC to Air Saldaña’s “Rosemary’s Baby” Miniseries in May

Zoë Saldaña is expecting next month…

NBC has scheduled the 35-year-old half-Dominican/half-Puerto Rican American actress’ television project Rosemary’s Baby over the course of two nights in May.

Zoe Saldana in Rosemary's Baby

The four-hour miniseries, an adaptation of Ira Levin’s 1967 best-selling novel of the same name, will air from 9:00 – 11:00 pm on Sunday, May 11 and Thursday, May 15.

The project centers on a young married couple (Saldana, Patrick J. Adams) who move in to a Paris apartment that has a haunted past.

After getting pregnant, the wife becomes increasingly suspicious that both her husband and their neighbors will have ulterior motives when her child is born.

Rosemary’s Baby, from Lionsgate Television, also stars Jason Isaacs and Carole Bouquet.