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.

Gael Garcia Bernal to Star in Jonas Cuaron’s Showtime Thriller Drama Pilot “Hombre”

Gael Garcia Bernalis the man

The 40-year-old Mexican actor/producer has been cast as the lead in Showtime’s thriller drama pilot Hombre, which hails from BAFTA nominee Jonas Cuarón (Gravity).

Gael García Bernal

Garcia Bernal, who won a Golden Globe for his lead role in Mozart in the Jungle, will star alongside Marisé Alvarez (The Vessel), Greg Grunberg (A Star Is Born)Pepi Sonuga (Famous In Love)Adriana Santos (Taken) and newcomer Noah Reyes in the pilot, which is set to begin production at the end of April in Los Angeles.

Created by Cuarón, who also will direct the pilot, Hombre centers on a Mexican-American family man named Marcos Osuna (Bernal) who is living undocumented in the United States. When his wife Leticia is detained by ICE, Marcos, both desperate and resourceful, goes to unprecedented lengths to get her back. The project is an emotional thriller about a man enmeshed in a dangerous double life, contending with powerful forces set on thwarting his unwavering desire to unite his family.

Hombre is a co-production between Showtime and Makeready.

Alvarez will play Marcos’ smart and selfless wife Leticia, whose detention by ICE proves to be the ultimate test on her marriage and close-knit family.

Sonuga will play Adanna, a kind-hearted undocumented immigrant from Nigeria who works with Marcos at a motel. Grunberg will play Norm, a friendly and well-intended ICE trainee. 

Santos will play Leticia’s sister Teresa. Reyes will play Marcos’ and Leticia’s pre-adolescent son Anthony.

Alvarez recently appeared in the feature films The Vessel and Imprisoned, and the Spanish mini-series En el corredor de la muerte. She had her first notable role in the Puerto Rican feature Maldeamores, and starred in Steve Soderbergh’Che: Part One and Che: Part Two.

Santos can be seen in the upcoming film Night Swim directed by Victoria Riverapremiering at Tribeca. Her television credits include Taken, Sweetbitter and Daredevil.

Reyes is a newcomer from Ontario, California. Hombre marks his first television series regular role.

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).

Ana Villafañe Signs Talent Deal with ABC Studios/ABC Entertainment

Ana Villafañe has a new deal…

The 29-year-old Cuban and Salvadoran American actress and singer has a signed a one-year overall talent deal with ABC Studios and ABC Entertainment.

Ana Villafañe

Under the pact, ABC Studios and ABC will target comedy and drama projects for Villafañe.

Villafañe made her Broadway debut portraying Gloria Estefan in the TonyAward-nominated hit musical On Your Feet!, earning the 2016 Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut Performance.

On the screen, she played the female lead in Max Steel and has appeared on Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle.

Most recently, she starred in the Sony Television Studios/CBS Studios/CBS half-hour multi-camera pilot History of Them, written and executive produced by Gloria Calderon Kellett.

Villafañe will return to the New York stage later this month in a new comedy by Jen SilvermanCollective Rage, being produced by MCC.

Ana Villafañe Lands Lead Role in CBS’ Comedy Project “History of Them”

Ana Villafañe is ready to make history

The 28-year-old Cuban and Salvadoran-American actress/singer, the star of the Gloria Estefan Broadway musical On Your Feet!, will star as the female lead in CBS’ comedy project History of Them.

Ana Villafañe

From One Day at a Time co-creator/executive producer Gloria Calderon Kellett. the semi-autobiographical project is a multi-cultural (Latinx & white) romantic comedy about how two friends, Luna (Villafañe) and Adam, fell in love, narrated by their future daughter, using the couple’s social media from present-day (Instagram/Twitter/Facebook) as a guide.

Villafañe’s smart and spunky Luna runs a successful Latinx food truck business with her parents. Despite this, she struggles with what she wants and doesn’t feel like a fully-fledged grown up yet. She wants to find love and figure out who she is separate from her very tight-knit family, and her journey will be full of bumps and bruises as she navigates the rest of her twenties.

Director Pam Fryman, who helmed several episodes of Netflix’s One Day at a Time reboot, including the key opening one, has come on board as director/executive producer.

History of Them, from Sony Pictures Television Studios and CBS Television Studios, landed at CBS in August in a very competitive situation with a big pilot production commitment. While it hasn’t been formally picked up to pilot yet, attaching Villafañe and Fryman, combined with the size of the commitment, a green light is expected.

Kellett executive produces via her Glo Nation banner alongside Marc Provissiero of Odenkirk Provissiero Entertainment and Fryman.

Villafañe made her Broadway debut as Gloria Estefan in the hit musical On Your Feet!, earning the 2016 Theatre World Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut Performance. On the screen, she played the female lead in Max Steel and starred in the Hulu original series South Beach. Her other credits include Los Americans, Rizzoli & Isles and Mozart in the Jungle.

History Of Them marks Kellett’s return to CBS and to the hybrid comedy format. She began her writing career as a staff writer on the network’s hybrid comedy series How I Met Your Mother, which was executive produced and directed by Fryman.

Gael Garcia Bernal to Star in the Drama “The Kindergarten Teacher”

Gael Garcia Bernal is headed back to elementary school…

The 38-year-old Mexican actor has joined the cast of Maggie Gyllenhaal’s drama The Kindergarten Teacher, according to Variety.

Gael Garcia Bernal

Maven Pictures is producing the film, based on Nadav Lapid’s Israeli film of the same name.

Sara Colangelo is directing from her own adapted screenplay in which a kindergarten teacher who grows more and more numb each day she remains stuck in her mundane Staten Island life.

When she discovers what may be a prodigious five-year old poet in her class, she becomes obsessed with the child and his talent– risking her career, family, and freedom.

Garcia Bernal joins a list of new cast additions that includes Rosa Salazar, Michael Chernus, Anna Baryshnikov, Daisy Tahan, Samrat Chakrabarti and Ajay Naidu.

Filming is starting on July 12 in New York.

Bernal’s credits include The Motorcycle Diaries and Mozart in the Jungle.

Salazar is the lead in the upcoming Alita: Battle Angel.

The original Israeli film won the Grand Prize and $20,000 at the new talent competition at the 2015 Taipei Film Festival.

Garcia Bernal Among the Presenters at This Year’s Academy Awards

Gael García Bernal has a date with Oscar

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences has announced the second group of presenters for the 89th Academy Awards on February 26, with the 38-year-old Mexican actor, director and producer making the list.

Gael García Bernal

Garcia Bernal, a Golden Globe-winner for Best Actor for his recently renewed series Mozart in the Jungle, joins a roster that includes Halle Berry, Jamie Dornan, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Dakota Johnson, Shirley MacLaine, Kate McKinnon and Hailee Steinfeld.

Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the trophy show is set for February 26 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. ABC will carry the ceremony live.

Amazon Renews Garcia Bernal’s “Mozart in the Jungle” for a Fourth Season

Gael Garcia Bernal will be making music for another season…

Amazon has renewed its Golden Globe-winning series Mozart in the Jungle, starring the 38-year-old Mexican actor.

Gael Garcia Bernal in Mozart in the Jungle

The fourth season of Mozart in the Jungle will begin production later this year for a 2017 return. “

We’re all delighted to be back for a fourth season and to share the further tales of our orchestra and all the artists who comprise it,” said executive producer Roman Coppola. “For the fans who have been so enthusiastic about our show, we’re so happy to have an audience that wants to see stories about the arts, music, and all these characters we’ve invented.”

“Mozart” draws back the curtain at the New York Symphony, where artistic dedication and creativity collide with mind games, politicking, and survival instincts.

García Bernal — who earned a Golden Globe for his portrayal of conductor Rodrigo — stars alongside Lola Kirke, Saffron Burrows, Malcolm McDowell, Bernadette Peters, and others.

A Band of Bitches Releases Desierto-Inspired Single “El Diablo Güero,” feat. Victoria Morales

A Band of Bitches is getting political…

The masked Mexican alternative group has released the single “El Diablo Güero,” a pro-immigrant, anti-Donald Trump song, featuring singer/songwriter and studio owner Victoria Morales.

A Band of Bitches

The funky pop-punk track was recorded to coincide with the current run in Mexican theaters of director Jonas Cuaron’s “migrant thriller,” Desierto, which will be the closing film at this year’s LA Film Festival.

The film, about Mexican workers trying to cross the border to the United States who are pursued in the desert by a murderous American vigilante (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). It stars Gael Garcia Bernal, well-known to American viewers from the Amazon series Mozart in the Jungle.

Morales wrote the bilingual song inspired by the film with Latin Grammy-nominated A Band of Bitches’ member Ushka at Cuaron’s request. “El Diablo Güero” is not, however, part of the film’s original soundtrack, whose layers of ominous and sublime music were composed by Woodkid.

“[Cuaron] sort of felt the need for [another] song that could really capture the entire film,” Morales told Billboard. “El Diablo Güero” was written and recorded in a few days, with production supervised by Cuaron at Morales’ Victoria Records Studio in Monterrey.

A Band of Bitches announced the debut of the new track alongside Cuaron and Morales at the Vive Latino festival in Mexico City; it was released to Mexican radio during the second week after the film premiered in theaters in April. The movie is still playing in Mexico.

The track samples lines from the film that Morales says had the most impact on her, particularly the words “welcome to the land of the free” spoken during one chilling scene.

Although journalists in Mexico have pointed out that the title could be a reference to Trump and his statements about Mexican immigrants, Morales maintains that it was the film’s American killer who inspired the song.

“In the end everyone is going to hear what they want to hear and make their own interpretation,” Morales says. “I think that it could become sort of an anthem, because of the relation of what’s happening in the United States and with the elections.”

Desierto is set for a commercial run on the U.S. sometime before the elections. A trailer for the film used an audio clip of Trump’s infamous Mexican “rapists” comment.

Cuaron, the son of Oscar-winner Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), will next write and direct the Zorro sequel Z, also starring Garcia Bernal.

García Bernal Selected as Lead in Zorro Reboot

Gael García Bernal is the ultimate swashbuckler…

The 37-year-old Mexican American actor will star as the iconic lead character in a film entitled Z, the reboot of Zorro.

Gael Garcia Bernal

Garcia Bernal will come together again with filmmaker Jonás Cuarón for the project. Set in the near future, Z re-imagines the classic legend based on the beloved masked swashbuckler.

Cuarón’s Desierto, which stars García Bernal, will be released by STX Entertainment later in the year.

The project is written and will be directed by Cuarón and is eyeing a fall start at the Pinewood Dominican Republic studios.

García Bernal, who won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in his role in the Amazon series Mozart In The Jungle, was also in The Motorcycle Diaries and Babel.

The picture is being done as a co-production between Lantica Pictures and Mark Amin’s Sobini Films.

“I have always loved Gael for this role,” said Amin, who is producing with Lantica’s Albert Martínez Martín. “Zorro is a hero who is charming, witty and clever. Gael possesses all those characteristic and he’s able to deliver them with a modern spin to introduce the Zorro character to a new audience.”