Gael García Bernal to Star in Good Film Collective’s “People of the Book” Film

Gael García Bernal is hittin’ the book(s)…

The 41-year-old Mexican actor and producer will star in People of the Book, a film that Good Films Collective has put together, based on the New York Times bestseller from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks.

Gael García Bernal

Garcia Bernal will star opposite Nazanin Boniadi and Jason Isaacs will star in the film, which tells the moving history behind the creation of the Sarajevo Haggadah— an illuminated manuscript that contains the illustrated traditional text of the Passover Haggadah which accompanies the Passover Seder

It originated in Barcelona in 1350, and the film will tell the journey taken by people from different cultures and religions who risked their lives to save it. 

The film will be helmed by Academy Award winner Danis Tanovic and is written by Petter Skavlan.

Disney Bringing Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hit Broadway Musical “Hamilton” to the Big Screen

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadwayhit is heading to the big screen. 

Disney will release a feature film of the original Tony Award-winning stage musical Hamilton, created by the 40-year-old Puerto Rican composer/lyricist, actor and creator, in the U.S. and Canada on October 15, 2021.

Hamilton

The studio is teaming with Miranda, Jeffrey Sellerand Thomas Kail on the project, which is billed as a “leap forward in the art of ‘live capture.’” It explains the live capture method as “combining the best elements of live theater and film,” resulting in “a cinematic stage performance that is a wholly new way to experience Hamilton.”

Producers for this version of Hamilton include Miranda, Seller and Kail, who also directs. 

The film was shot in June 2016 at the Richard Rodgers Theatreand reports began circulatingin 2018 that bidders were circling the film version of the stage production. Studios had to pledge not to release it until at least 2020.

The original Broadway cast of the record-smashing show will appear in the new film. Cast members include Miranda as Alexander HamiltonDaveed Diggsas Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas JeffersonRenée Elise Goldsberryas Angelica Schuyler; and Leslie Odom, Jr.as Aaron Burr. Also due to star are Christopher Jacksonas George WashingtonJonathan Groffas King GeorgePhillipa Sooas Eliza Hamilton; and Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler/Maria ReynoldsOkieriete Onaodowanas Hercules Mulligan/James Madison; and Anthony Ramosas John Laurens/Philip Hamilton.

“Lin-Manuel Miranda created an unforgettable theater experience and a true cultural phenomenon, and it was for good reason that Hamiltonwas hailed as an astonishing work of art. All who saw it with the original cast will never forget that singular experience,” Disney CEO Bob Igersaid. “And we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share this same Broadway experience with millions of people around the world.”

Miranda, who starred in an update of Mary Poppinsin 2018, affirmed his connection with Disney. “I fell in love with musical storytelling growing up with the legendary Howard AshmanAlan MenkenDisney collaborations – The Little MermaidBeauty and The BeastAladdin,” he said. “I’m so proud of what Tommy Kail has been able to capture in this filmed version of Hamilton – a live theatrical experience that feels just as immediate in your local movie theater. We’re excited to partner with Disney to bring the original Broadway company of Hamilton to the largest audience possible.”

Kail added, “We are thrilled for fans of the show, and new audiences across the world, to experience what it was like on stage – and in the audience – when we shot this. … We wanted to give everyone the same seat, which is what this film can provide.”

According to sources, Disney beat out other suitors and paid $75 million for worldwide rights to the show that won 11 Tony Awards in 2016, as well as the Pulitzer Prizefor Drama. Disney won the deal with a commitment for a wide global theatrical release for the 2 hour, 40 minute movie, which was shot two weeks before the original cast left.

Rodrigo Garcia to Direct the Drama “Four Good Days”

There are good days in store for Rodrigo Garcia.

The 60-year-old Colombian television and film director is set to direct the drama Four Good Days, about a mother helping her daughter work through four crucial days on the road to recovery from substance abuse.

Rodrigo Garcia

The film will star Glenn CloseMila Kunisand Stephen Root

Launched at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the project is due to begin shooting next week in Los Angeles. 

Root will play the role of Chris, a man worn down by the emotional stress caused by his stepdaughter’s (Kunis) addiction and his wife’s (Close) attempts to save her.

Garcia directs from his own script, co-written by Washington Post 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner Eli Saslow, based on Saslow’s article.

Garcia’s credits include the films Nine LivesMother and ChildAlbert NobbsLast Days in the Desert, as well as the HBO drama series In Treatment.

Newcomer Rachel Zegler Lands Maria Role in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story”

Rachel Zegler is headed to the West Side

The 17-year-old Colombian American actress/singer,New Jersey High School studentand Hollywood newcomer has landed the lead role of Maria in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story.

Rachel Zegler

Zegler, who beat out more than 30,000 people from around the world, will make her film debut opposite Ansel Elgortas Tony.

Rounding out the principal Shark roles are Broadway veterans Ariana DeBose as Anita and David Alvarezas Bernardo. Theater performer Josh Andrés Rivera has been cast as Chino.

Spielberg and his team were committed to finding the best actors within the Puerto Rican as well as the broader Latinxcommunity. The team has been conducting research and having conversations with Hispanic heritage and advocacy groups. In December 2018, Spielberg and Tony Kushner, who is adapting West Side Story, sat with professors and students at the University of Puerto Rico(Universidad de Puerto Rico – Río Piedras) to learn more about performing arts on the island.  The production team maintains a dialogue with the University and Puerto Rican filmmakers there.

The new castmembers join Rita Moreno, who won an Oscarfor her portrayal of Anita in the 1961 movie, who will play Valentina, a reconceived and expanded version of the character of Doc, the owner of the corner store in which Tony works. Moreno also serves as executive producer. 

“When we began this process a year ago, we announced that we would cast the roles of Maria, Anita, Bernardo, Chino and the Sharks with Latina and Latino actors. I’m so happy that we’ve assembled a cast that reflects the astonishing depth of talent in America’s multifaceted Hispanic community,” said Spielberg. “I am in awe of the sheer force of the talent of these young performers, and I believe they’ll bring a new and electrifying energy to a magnificent musical that’s more relevant than ever.”

“I simply cannot wait to get on set to work with this group of young actors,” said Moreno. “What an ensemble, and I look forward to passing the baton to this next generation of Sharks!”

Zegler saw the notice on Twitterback in January 2018 for Latinx actors and submitted a video of herself singing “Tonight” and “Me Siento Hermosa” (“I Feel Pretty”).

“I am so thrilled to be playing the iconic role of Maria alongside this amazing cast,” said Zegler. “West Side Story was the first musical I encountered with a Latina lead character. As a Colombian-American, I am humbled by the opportunity to play a role that means so much to the Hispanic community.”

DeBose, who was nominated for a Tony Award in 2018 for her portrayal of Donna Summerin Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, will play Anita, the role made famous on film by Moreno. DeBose’s other Broadway credits include the original cast of HamiltonA Bronx Tale: The MusicalPippinMotown: The Musical and Bring It On: The Musical. Her screen debut came in 2009 as a competitor on So You Think You Can Dance.

“I’m honored to follow in the footsteps of the remarkable women who have played Anita – including Chita Rivera and, of course, the incomparable Rita Moreno,” said DeBose. “I relate so strongly to Anita – a strong Puerto Rican woman who came to New York in search of opportunity – and I feel so fortunate for the chance to work with this amazing cast and creative team.”

Alvarez, who won a Tony in 2009 for originating the title role in Billy Elliot: The Musical, will play Bernardo, Maria’s brother and the leader of the Sharks. Following his appearance in Billy Elliot, Alvarez served in the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Division, before returning to Broadway in 2014 to join the company of On the Town.

“My parents emigrated from Cuba with no connections, knowing no English, driven only by the hope of a better life. I know how challenging the decision was for them, and I see a lot of that internal conflict in Bernardo,” said Alvarez. “I have dreamt of playing this part since I first saw the original film, and I am so grateful for the chance to bring my own perspective and journey to this role – as an artist, a Veteran and a Latino – and to work with this incredible cast to breathe new life into these characters’ experiences.”

Rivera – an actor, singer and dancer who most recently appeared in the first national tour of Hamilton – will play the role of Chino.

West Side Story is the dream for any performer, and to tackle it with this creative team is truly a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” said Rivera. “I feel very fortunate to be able to portray the Nuyorican experience alongside these amazingly talented actors. I’m confident Puerto Ricans on and off the island will see ourselves reflected in this project.”

West Side Story will be produced and directed by Spielberg from a script by Oscar-nominated screenwriter and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner. The film will be adapted for the screen from the original 1957 Broadway musical, which was written by Arthur Laurentswith music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and concept, direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins. Also leading the production are Tony Award-winning producer Kevin McCollumand Academy Award-nominated producer Kristie Macosko Krieger.

West Side Story will be released by Twentieth Century Fox. Filming is slated to start in the summer of 2019.

Additional casting announcements will be made in the coming weeks, specifically in regards to The Sharksand The Jets.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Bringing Jimmy Fallon & “The Tonight Show” to Puerto Rico

Lin-Manuel Miranda is helping Jimmy Fallon take his show on the calle 

The Tonight Show will air a special episode from Puerto Rico on January 15, during the 24-show run of the 38-year-old Puerto Rican composer, lyricist, playwright, rapper, and actor’s Hamilton on the island to raise relief funds in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

The news was announced during an interview with Miranda on The Tonight Show.

The January show, on which Miranda will be a guest, will highlight the nation’s efforts to rebuild after the hurricane that struck in September. The episode will feature an exclusive performance of the musical’s new touring cast along with Miranda, who is reprising his lead role.

Hamilton will run from January 8-27 at the University of Puerto Rico to raise money for the Flamboyan Arts Fund to benefit the arts, artists and arts institutions in the recovery.

Miranda also wrote the book, music and lyrics and starred in the original, which won 11 Tony Awardsand the Pulitzer Price.

Lin-Manuel Miranda to Reprise Lead Role in His Hit Musical “Hamilton” During Puerto Rico Run

Lin-Manuel Miranda is heading back to the stage…

The 37-year-old Puerto Rican composer, lyricist, playwright, and actor will return to play Alexander Hamilton in his smash musical Hamilton when it plays in San Juan, Puerto Rico in January.

Javier Muñoz in Hamilton

Miranda and producer Jeffrey Seller broke the news on the stage of the Teatro UPR theater in San Juan. The University of Puerto Rico venue was damaged during Hurricane Maria in September but will be restored and repaired in time for the musical’s open.

It will mark the first time Miranda, the creator-star of the Tony Award– and Pulitzer Prize-winning show, will perform the title role since he stepped down in July 2016. The three weeks of performances will run January 8-27.

“Bringing [Hamilton] to Puerto Rico is a dream that I’ve had since we first opened at The Public Theater in 2015,” Miranda in a statement, as reported by Playbill. “When I last visited the island, a few weeks before Hurricane Maria, I had made a commitment to not only bring the show to Puerto Rico, but also return again to the title role. In the aftermath of Maria we decided to expedite the announcement of the project to send a bold message that Puerto Rico will recover and be back in business, stronger than ever.”

Miranda is in Puerto Rico to aid recovery efforts. On Monday, he joined forces with the Hispanic Federation to announce the launch of a $2.5 million recovery fund and the first seven recipients to help seed projects encompassing micro-enterprise, housing, arts and culture, and conservation efforts, among others.

Hamilton, which won 11 Tony Awards, is on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers and is amidst a Los Angeles run that ends December 30.

Netflix ThisClose to Renewing Navarro’s “13 Reasons Why” for a Second Season

Christian Navarro may soon find more Reasons

It appears that Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, starring the 25-year-old Puerto Rican actor, may be getting a second-season renewal soon, according to reports by Deadline.com.

Christian Navarro

The series, executive produced by Selena Gomez, is an adaption of the bestselling 2007 Young Aduly book by Jay Asher.

13 Reasons Why has been well received by critics and has created buzz on social media, quickly developing a following. There had been talks about how to extend the premise beyond Season 1.

The series follows teenager Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) as he returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (newcomer Katherine Langford) —his classmate and crush—who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Will Clay be one of them? If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

In addition to Navarro, who portrays Tony Padilla, the series also stars Kate Walsh, Brian D’Arcy James, Derek Luke, Brandon Flynn, Justin Prentice, Alisha Boe and Tommy Dorfman.

13 Reasons Why is directed by Oscar winner Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), written by Tony and Pulitzer Prize Winner Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal), and executive produced by Gomez.

The series is produced for Netflix by Paramount Television.

Netflix to Premiere the Gomez-Executive-Produced Series “13 Reasons Why” in March

It’s a Netflix and thrilled moment for Selena Gomez

Netflix has scheduled the global premiere of 13 Reasons Why for March 31.

Selena Gomez

The highly anticipated adaption of the bestselling 2007 young adult book by Jay Asher is being executive produced by the 24-year-old Mexican American actress/singer.

Gomez announced the news via her Instagram account, along with a sneak peek at the series.

Netflix also released key art with the tagline “If you’re listening, you’re too late.”

The series follows teenager Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) as he returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) —his classmate and crush—who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Will Clay be one of them? If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Kate Walsh, Brian D’Arcy James, Derek Luke, Brandon Flynn, Justin Prentice, Alisha Boe, Christian Navarro and Tommy Dorfman also star.

13 Reasons Why is directed by Oscar Winner Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), Written by Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal).

The series is produced for Netflix by Paramount Television.

Miranda’s “Hamilton: An American Musical” Original Cast Recording Surpasses 1 Million in U.S. Album Sales

Lin-Manuel Miranda has a platinum hit on his hands…

The original Broadway cast recording of Hamilton: An American Musical, created by the 36-year-old Puerto Rican actor, playwright, composer, rapper and writer, has now surpassed 1 million in U.S. album sales, according to Nielsen Music.

Lin-Manuel Miranda's final Hamilton curtain call

The set, which won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album last year, sold another 16,000 copies in the week ending January 5, which brings its total sales sum to 1.005 million since its release on September 25, 2015.

Hamilton is only the ninth cast recording to sell a million since Nielsen began electronically tracking music sales in 1991.

The top selling cast album in Nielsen’s history is the highlights edition of the original London cast recording of The Phantom of the Opera, with 4.97 million sold. (The complete recording of The Phantom of the Opera — which is tracked and charts separately — has sold 503,000 since 1991.)

Aside from The Phantom of the Opera (Highlights) and Hamilton, here are the other million-selling cast albums of the Nielsen era: the original Broadway cast recordings of Wicked (2.67 million), Les Miserables (1.65 million), Jersey Boys (1.44 million), Rent (1.28 million) and The Lion King (1.04 million), along with the original cast recording of Mamma Mia! (1.71 million) and the highlights edition of the complete symphonic recording of Les Miserables (1.03 million).

In 2016, Hamilton received a record-setting 16 Tony Award nominations, winning 11, including Best Musical and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The Associated Press Names Miranda Its Entertainer of the Year

Lin-Manuel Miranda isn’t just the man of the hour… He’s the man of the last 8,000-plus hours.

The 36-year-old Puerto Rican actor, playwright, composer, rapper, and writer, bested Beyonce, Adele and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, among others, to earn the honor of The Associated Press Entertainer of the Year, voted by members of the news cooperative and AP entertainment reporters.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Best known for creating and starring in the Broadway musicals Hamilton and In the Heights. Miranda has had a banner year, winning a Pulitzer Prize and a pair of Tony Awards.

The Hamilton writer-composer also earned a Golden Globe nomination, won the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, wrote music for a top movie, and inspired a best-selling book, a best-selling album of Hamilton covers and a popular PBS documentary.

“There’s been more than a little good luck in the year itself and the way it’s unfolded,” Miranda said after being told of the honor. “I continue to try to work on the things I’ve always wanted to work on and try to say yes to the opportunities that I’d kick myself forever if I didn’t jump at them.”

Miranda joins the list of previous AP Entertainer of the Year winners who in recent years have included Adele, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence, Lady Gaga, Tina Fey and Betty White.

The animated Disney juggernaut Frozen captured the prize in 2014, and Star Wars won last year. (Miranda wrote one of the songs in The Force Awakens.)

When he hosted Saturday Night Live in October, he somewhat tongue-in-cheek acknowledged the rarity of having a theater composer as host, saying: “Most of you watching at home have no idea who I am.”

But that has definitely changed… Miranda was virtually everywhere in popular culture this year — stage, film, TV, music and politics — engaging on social media as he went. Like a lyric he wrote for Alexander Hamilton, it seemed at times that the non-stop Miranda was working as if he was “running out of time.”

Julio D. Diaz, of the Pensacola News Journal, said Miranda “made the whole world sing, dance and think. Coupled with using his prestige to become involved in important sociopolitical issues, there was no greater or more important presence in entertainment in 2016.”

Among the things Miranda did this year are asking the U.S. Congress to help dig Puerto Rico out of its debt crisis, getting an honorary doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, performing at a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton on Broadway, lobbying to stop gun violence in America, and teaming up with Jennifer Lopez on the benefit single “Love Make the World Go Round.”

He and his musical Hamilton won 11 Tony Awards in June, but perhaps his deepest contribution that night was tearfully honoring those killed hours before at an Orlando nightclub with a beautiful sonnet: “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside,” he said. “Now fill the world with music, love and pride.”

He started the year onstage in the Broadway hit Hamilton (which in 2015 had won a Grammy and earned Miranda a MacArthur genius grant) and ended it with a Golden Globe nomination for writing the song “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana, which was on top of the box office for three weeks this month, earning $165 million.

“I’ve been jumping from thing to thing and what’s been thrilling is to see the projects that happen very quickly kind of exploding side-by-side with the projects I’ve been working on for years,” Miranda said.

Though theater fans have long cherished his fluency in both Stephen Sondheim and TupacHamilton helped Miranda break into the mainstream in 2016. The groundbreaking, biographical hip-hop show tells the true story of an orphan immigrant from the Caribbean who rises to the highest ranks of American society, performed by a young African-American and Latino cast.

The cast went to the White House in March to perform songs from the show for the first family and to answer questions from school children. A version of the show opened in Chicago in October and a production is slated to land in California next year and in London soon.

Erin O’Neill of The Marietta Times said Miranda dominated entertainment news this year but, more importantly, “opened a dialogue about government, the founding of our country and the future of politics in America.”

There’s more Miranda to come in 2017, including filming Disney‘s Mary Poppins Returns with Emily Blunt (due out Christmas 2018) and an ambitious TV and film adaptation of the fantasy trilogy The Kingkiller Chronicle.

“I’m back in a planting mode after a harvest,” Miranda said, laughing.