Gael Garcia Bernal to Star as Saul Armendariz, aka the Liberace of Lucha Libre, in the Biopic “Cassandro”

Gael García Bernal is hitting the ring to play a Lucha Libre legend.

The 41-year-old Mexican actor/filmmaker will star in Cassandroan independent feature from Oscar winning and two-time Emmy nominee filmmaker Roger Ross Williams.

Gael García Bernal

Cassandro tells the true story of Saúl Armendáriz, a gay amateur wrestler from El Paso who rises to international stardom after he creates the “exotico” character Cassandro, the “Liberace of Lucha Libre,” and in the process upends not just the macho wrestling world but also his own life.

Armendáriz at the age of 15 quit school and began training for Lucha Libre, beginning his professional wrestling career in 1988 under the mask as Mister Romano. Ultimately he would abandon the character and take on the exotico character of Baby Sharon. Exoticos are male wrestlers who dress in drag.

Ultimately, Armendáriz would take the new ring name of Cassandro, from a Tijuana brothel keeper Cassandra whom he appreciated.

In January 1991, after bad press that he was going to wrestle El Hijo del Santo in the UWA World Welterweight Championship, Armendáriz reportedly attempted suicide by cutting his wrists with a razor blade, but was saved.

The title match occurred a week later and Armendáriz credits it as the match that earned him the lucha libre community’s acceptance.

While Cassandro failed to win the UWA World Welterweight Championship from El Hijo del Santo, he managed to win his first title, the UWA World Lightweight Championship in October 1992, by defeating Lasser, becoming the first exótico in history to hold a championship in UWA.

Bernal, who will star in M. Night Shyamalan’s new secret movie from Universal, will shoot that movie first before stepping into the ring for Cassandro, which is eyeing a November start in Mexico.

Cassandro will rep the feature narrative directorial debut for Williams, who took home the Oscar for his short docu Music by Prudence in 2010, and recently was nominated at the Emmys a second time, this time in Outstanding Documentary/Nonfiction Special category for the HBO doc The Apollo. That movie, which made its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, follows the historic and famed Harlem NYC venue and its legacy.

“As a filmmaker, my own life experience has inspired my passion to tell inspirational stories about outsiders and uplift the voices of people we don’t normally see on screen. The true story of Cassandro, Saúl Armendáriz, was one I knew I wanted to tell from the moment I met him. I look forward to being able to bring Saúl’s story to a wide audience,” said Williams.

Williams wrote Cassandro with Emmy-winner David Teague and Julián Herbert (Satelite).

Bernal is a two-time Golden Globe nominee and winner for the Amazon series Mozart in the JungleHe was part of the SAG ensemble nominated cast of Paramount’s Babeland a BAFTA nominee for Focus Features’ 2004 The Motorcycle Diaries

The filmmakers are reportedly in talks with Amazon to acquire Cassandro once complete, but that deal is contingent on several factors before it’s a negative pick-up.

Alcon Television Acquires Rights to Diego Gutierrez’s Lucha Libre-Inspired Action Drama “Luchador”

Diego Gutierrez is wrestling with a new project…  

Alcon Television Group has acquired the rights to the Latino editor, writer and director’s Mexican wrestling drama Luchador.

Diego Gutierrez

Written by Gutierrez, thecharacter-driven action drama centers on a fictional, Lucha Libre-inspired city run by colorful gangs of Mexican wrestlers at the brink of tyranny, and the unlikely young wrestler who becomes its champion and savior, both in and out of the ring.

Lucha Libre

Gutierrez will serve as the executive producer alongside Alcon Television Group’s Andrew KosoveBroderick Johnson and Ben Roberts

Roberts brought the project into Alcon, which will take the project to market later this year.

“We are thrilled to work with Diego in this exciting world he has envisioned for these rich characters,” said Kosove and Johnson. “Creatively we see this as ripe ground for many types of stories in many different mediums.”

Gutierrez is best known as the creator and executive producer of the popular Spanish-language Netflix series Monarca starring Irene Azuela and Juan Manuel Bernal

His previous credits include working as a writer and executive producer on From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, as well as Syfy Network’s Warehouse 13 and Paramount Network’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Lucha Underground’s Rey Mysterio Signs First Look Deal with El Rey Network

Rey Mysterio could become the king of television…

The 41-year-old Mexican-American professional wrestler and Lucha Underground star, whose real name is Oscar Gutierrez, has signed a one-year first look deal with Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network, the network behind the series.

Rey Mysterio

Under the pact, Mysterio will develop, produce and consult on creative projects and series, both scripted and unscripted.

Mysterio joined Lucha Underground during the second season and will appear in the upcoming third season premiering September 7 on El Rey Network.

“Rey Mysterio’s incredible talent extends far beyond the ring,” said El Rey Network president and general manager Daniel Tibbets. “He is creative and collaborative and has a keen eye for great entertainment. Rey embodies the El Rey Network brand and we are thrilled to expand our relationship with him.”

Mysterio  is a 25-year ring veteran and decorated champion in multiple North American wrestling organizations, His lightning-fast offense is credited with bringing lucha libre to mainstream American audiences.

Mysterio was trained by the Mexican professional wrestler, Rey Misterio Sr. who is also his uncle and one of the top stars and promoters of the sport through the 1970’s and 80’s.

A three-time world champion, having held the World Heavyweight Championship twice and the WWE Championship once, Mysterio made his professional debut at the age of 14.

He is also an AAA Hall of Famer and captured the Lucha Libre World Cup in May 2015, leading his trio’s tag team to victory.

Mysterio was also Lucha Underground Trios Champion in 2016.

El Rey Network Renews “Lucha Underground” for a Third Season

There’s no going underground for El Rey Network’s Lucha Libre series…

On the heels of its Season 2 premiere, the Robert Rodriguez-co-founded network has renewed the popular wrestling series Lucha Underground for a third season.

Lucha Underground

Production is set to begin in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles for premiere in 2017.

Lucha Underground has introduced American audiences to the high-flying aerial maneuvers, slingshot moves, dramatic masks, intricate, rapid-fire combinations and distinctive wrestling techniques of lucha libre, one of Mexico’s most popular sports.

Lucha Underground is produced by MGM in association with FactoryMade Ventures and AG Studios for El Rey Network.

The series airs on El Rey Network and is distributed internationally by MGM.

Rodriguez Partnering with Mark Burnett to Bring Lucha Libre to American Television

Calling Mil Máscaras! Robert Rodriguez is ready to luchar

The 45-year-old Mexican American filmmaker’s El Rey Network has partnered with television producer Mark Burnett to bring Lucha Libre wrestling, and a new league, to the United States.

Robert Rodriguez

It all begins with a weekly one-hour series featuring a new Lucha Libre AAA league, premiering on El Rey Network in the second half of 2014, El Rey vice chairman Scott Sassa announced at the TV Press Tour 2014.

Lucha Libre

Burnett’s One Three Media is partnering with the leading lucha libre league in Mexico, Lucha Libre AAA, and FactoryMade Ventures. Also joining, through their interests in Lucha Libre AAA, are Antonio Cue Sanchez-Navarro and Latin America’s largest production group, Alex Garcia’s AG Studios.

“I’m at the point in my career where I could probably try anything. I’ve earned that right,” Burnett told TV critics at the press tour. “This is building a bona fide sport within America. Clearly the Hispanic culture is really growing (here),” he said, noting it’s the No. 2 most popular sport in Mexico, behind only soccer. “Why wouldn’t you bring Mexico’s No. 2 sport to America? This is a long-term, big play for us.”

Storylines and masks are characteristic of the sport Burnett said, explaining that the logline for the U.S. introduction revolves around five of the sport’s stars who’ve discovered a secret plot that’s going to destroy the very foundation of the sport and they’ve been exiled to America.

In addition to launching the weekly series, the new venture will develop monthly and quarterly specials and live pay-per-view lucha libre events, as well as potential merchandising, licensing and product integration opportunities for the league.

Lucha libre marks a return to arena-based sports events for the award-winning Burnett, who previously produced five seasons of the unscripted boxing series The Contender.

El Rey Network, is the recently launched 24 hour English-language entertainment network founded by Rodriguez.

It targets renegades 18-49 with adrenaline-infused content including original signature dramas, feature films, grindhouse genre, cult classic action, horror/sci fi and next generation sports.

Guzman to Star in Lucha Libre-Inspired Comedy “Aztec Warrior”

It looks like Luis Guzman will be masking his acting talents in the near future…

The 55-year-old Puerto Rican actor has signed on to star in Aztec Warrior, a Lucha Libre-inspired action comedy from Pantelion Films.

Luis Guzman

In the Scott Sanders-directed film, Guzman will play the Warrior who goes up against his rival El Diablo, to be played by Mexican comedian/actor Eugenio Derbez.

Terry Crews, Nadine Velazquez and Desperate Housewives Lupe Ontiveros are set to co-star in the film.

Guzman, who starred in Boogie Nights and HBO’s How To Make It In America, most recently appeared on the big screen in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.

Filming on Aztec Warrior is set to begin next month in New Orleans.