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.

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.

Paramount/Skydance Moves Up Release Date for Monica Barbaro’s “Top Gun: Maverick”

Monica Barbaro has been cleared for takeoff earlier than expected…

Paramount/Skydance’s long-awaited sequel Top Gun: Maverick, starring the 29-year-old part-Mexican American actress, will fly into theaters on Wednesday, June 24 instead of Friday, June 26. 

Monica Barbaro,

That’s standard for Paramount to take a big summer event tentpole out on a Wednesday, ala their Transformers movies and even Tom Cruise’s Steven Spielberg-directed 2005 hit War of the Worlds

Joseph Kosinskidirects the Top Gunsequeloff a script by Ehren KrugerEric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie.

Barbaro stars as ‘Phoenix,’the sole female pilot in the action drama film that sees Tom Cruise return to his iconic role as Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.

Monica Barbaro Signs with United Talent Agency (UTA)

Monica Barbaro has new representation…

The 29-year-old part-Mexican American actress has signed with United Talent Agency (UTA).

Monica Barbaro

Barbaro will appear as ‘Phoenix,’ the sole female fighter pilot, in the upcoming Paramount/SkydanceTom Cruisesequel Top Gun: Maverick set for release on June 26.

Barbaro recently appeared in ABC’s Stumptownand reprised her recurring role in Splitting Up Together for the same network.

Additionally, Barbaro starred in the Netflix series The Good Cop opposite Josh Groban and Tony Danza. She’s best known for her role as Yael on the second season of Lifetime’s critically acclaimed series UnREAL

She continues to be represented by Main Title Entertainmentand Meyer & Downs.

Silvia Lara Wins Deutsche Bank’s Frieze Los Angeles Film Award

There’s nothing lostabout Silvia Lara’s latest project… 

The up-and-coming Latina filmmaker was named the recipient of the inaugural Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Film Award at the opening of Frieze LA, beating out nine other finalists for the $10,000 prize. 

Silvia Lara

The award, granted in partnership with the nonprofit academy Ghetto Film School, aims to recognize emerging Los Angeles-based filmmakers between the ages of 20 and 34 years old. It’s part of the second annual Frieze Los Angelesart exhibit, which takes place on the Paramount studio lot and brings works from over 70 galleries from around the world. 

Lara’s film, Beauty Never Lost, was created during a three-month program at the Ghetto Film School and captures the life and inhabitants of Whittier, California, through a series of vignettes. 

“I began as a writer and photographer, but even as a writer I always hoped to one day see my ideas onscreen. It took some time, but I eventually learned that there was such a thing as cinematography and that it would prove to be a harmonious union between my two passions: storytelling and creating images,” Lara said in a statement.   

The finalists included Danielle BoydMya DodsonMichelle Jihyon KimNabeer KhanAlima LeeTimothy Offor,Toryn SeabrooksNoah Sellmanand Nicole L. Thompson, and their works were voted on by a jury of art and entertainment figures including artist Doug Aitken; filmmakers Shari Frilot,Jeremy Kaganand Sam Taylor-Johnson; and curator Hamza Walker.

Paramount Releases New Trailer for Monica Barbaro’s “Top Gun: Maverick”

Monica Barbarois ready to take flight…

Paramount has released the second trailer for Top Gun: Maverickthe studio’s long-anticipated sequel to the action classic about a U.S. Navy pilot’s daring airborne exploits starring the 29-year-old part-Mexican American actress.

Monica Barbaro,

The new footage unveils a little more plot of the film, with Tom Cruise’s fighter pilot Maverick now in an instructor role, training the next generation of pilots including Miles Teller’s Bradley Bradshaw, the son of the character Goose from the original movie.

Maverick appears to be putting his recruits through an intense training program, with the trailer featuring one hair-raising shot where he flies his jet narrowly between two of their planes.

It appears the film will also contain a tragic subplot, with shots of Maverick and Jennifer Connelly’s character – reportedly playing the protagonist’s love interest – getting emotional while attending a Navy funeral.

Rounding out the footage are the expected motorcycle shots, dialogue exchanges highlighting Maverick’s disregard for authority, plus some shirtless volleyball for good measure.

In addition to Cruise, Connelly and Barbaro, who portrays pilot trainee “Phoenix,”the movie’s cast also includes Jon Hamm, Glen PowellLewis PullmanCharles ParnellBashir Salahuddin, Jay EllisDanny RamirezGreg Tarzan Davis and Ed Harris.

The film, directed by Joseph Kosinski, flies into theaters on June 26, 2020.

Michael Peña to Star in the Film Adaptation of the Classic Television Series “Fantasy Island”

It’s a sweet, sweet fantasy project for Michael Peña

The 42-year-old Mexican American actor has been tapped to portray the iconic Mr. Roarke in the Sony Pictures and Blumhouse-produced Fantasy Island film adaptation from director Jeff Wadlow.

Michael Peña

Peña will take on a role that was originated by Ricardo Montalban when the television series, from Aaron Spelling, launched in 1978 on ABC.

Mr. Roarke, joined by his sidekick, Tattoo (Hervé Villechaize), was the mysterious overseer of the island who granted the fantasies of visitors for a price. Created by Gene Levitt, the series dealt with dark themes and the supernatural as visitors come to the island to live out their fantasy wishes.

Wadlow co-wrote the screenplay with Truth or Dare scribes Chris Roach and Jillian Jacobs.

Sony holds the rights to property and will distribute.

Peña has had a solid 2018 lineup appearing in blockbusters like A Wrinkle in Time and Ant-Man and the Wasp. Up next, he co-stars opposite Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper in The Mule at WB, and is part of the main cast of the upcoming fourth season of Netflix’s Narcos.

Peña is also currently in production on Paramount’s Dora The Explorer live-action film.

Isaac in Talks to Star in Steven Spielberg’s “The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara”

Oscar Isaac is Amblin-g for a new role…

The 37-year-old Guatemalan and Cuban American actor and Star Wars star is in talks to star opposite Mark Rylance in Amblin Entertainment’s The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara.

Oscar Isaac

Steven Spielberg is putting together the true-life religious drama to tackle after he wraps the sci-fi thriller Ready Player One.

Tony Kushner, who worked on Spielberg’s Lincoln and Munich, wrote the script adapting the David Kertzer novel, which has been in development with the filmmaker since 2008.

The true story centers on a 6-year-old Jewish boy in Bologna, Italy, in 1858 who was seized by the police and removed from his parents’ home. He was subsequently raised as a Catholic and became a priest in the Augustinian order. Rylance will star as Pope Pius IX.

Isaac had a breakout year in 2015 with a buzzy turn in Alex Garland’s sci-fi thriller Ex Machina then scene-stealing work in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He last appeared as the villain in X-Men: Apocalypse.

Isaac recently wrapped Star Wars: Episode VIII as well as the Paramount sci-fi thriller Annihilation, which reteamed him with Garland.

Serna Joins Cast of Alexander Payne’s Satire “Downsizing”

Pepe Serna is downsizing…

The 71-year-old Mexican American veteran character actor and artist has joined the cast of Alexander Payne’s satire Downsizing, joining Matt DamonKristen WiigChristoph Waltz and Hong Chau, according to Variety.

Pepe Serna

The Paramount film, currently shooting in Toronto, centers on an Omaha man who joins the throngs of people undergoing a new process that reduces humans to a tiny fraction of their size. Then they move to one of the many communities of small people that are sprouting up around the world.

“It’s the smallest part I’ve ever had, four inches to be exact,” Serna said.

Payne is co-writing the script with Jim Taylor. The duo won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for Sideways and collaborated on the scripts for Citizen Ruth, Election, Jurassic Park III, About Schmidt and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.

Serna is also one of the new members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, announced on Wednesday.

His career dates back nearly 50 years with credits including Scarface, American Me, Car Wash, The Black Dahlia and The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez.

First Trailer Released for Alba’s “A.C.O.D.”

There’s no denying Jessica Alba is a sex symbol… And, now she’s adding a little sizzle to her next project.

The 32-year-old half-Mexican American actress is starring in the drama comedy, A.C.O.D., Adult Children of Divorce, which released its first trailer via Yahoo! Movies.

Jessica Alba

As suggested by the title, the film examines the impact of splitting up when the children are all grown-up. A.C.O.D. tells the story through the life of a successful career man named Carter, played by Adam Scott.

Introduced as Scott’s on-screen bitterly divorced parents are Richard Jenkins and Catherine O’Hara, both of whom are clearly not on very good terms. In the story, Carter is forced to reunite them and their new spouses as his younger brother (Clark Duke) marries his girlfriend of four months.

Things will be far more chaotic for Carter as his own personal problem arise. Already seeing Lauren (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), he’ll soon find himself attracted to the tattooed Michelle (Jessica Alba).

Set for limited release on October 4, A.C.O.D. also stars Amy Poehler and Jane Lynch. It is the directorial debut of Stuart Zicherman, who co-created on ABC‘s series Six Degrees. The Film Arcade and Paramount picked up the movie in April.

A.C.O.D. is one of the funniest Sundance films we’ve seen … Stu and his incredible cast have shown us that divorce hurts until you laugh,” said The Film Arcade partners in a statement.