Gina Torres to Star on Season Two of Fox’s Drama Series “9-1-1: Lone Star”

Gina Torres is Texas bound…

The 51-year-old Cuban American actress has been cast as a series regular for the second season of Fox’s 9-11 spinoff series 9-1-1: Lone Star.

Gina Torres

Torres, best known for her role as Jessica Pearson on USA Network’s Suitsand Pearson, will star opposite Liv Tyler and Rob Lowe on the series.

9-1-1: Lone Star hails from 9-1-1 creators/executive producers Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear.

Set in Austin, it follows Owen (Lowe), a sophisticated New York firefighter who, along with his son, relocates to the Texas capital and must try to balance saving those who are at their most vulnerable with solving the problems in his own life.

Torres will play Paramedic Captain Tommy Vega, who was at the top of her game when she hung up her uniform to raise her twin daughters. For eight years life was great, until COVID-19 changed her life. With her husband’s restaurant going under, Tommy has no choice but to re-enter the workforce to support her family. Though it breaks her heart to be apart from her little girls, Tommy will show the world that no matter how much time has passed, when she puts on that uniform, she’s still a boss.

The role reunites Torres and Minear, who worked together on Fox’s sci-fi drama series Firefly.

“We are so excited to be expanding our 9-1-1-verse with the addition of Gina Torres,” said Minear. “I’ve been dying to write for her again ever since Firefly. Gina brings warmth, intelligence and command to everything she does. 2020 is finally looking up.”

9-1-1: Lone Star is produced by 20th Century Television in association with Ryan Murphy Television and Brad Falchuk Teley-Vision.

Season 2 is scheduled to begin production in Los Angeles later this fall for a premiere in early 2021 as part of the network’s midseason schedule.

Torres earned an ALMA Award, an Imagen Award and the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s Award for Outstanding Performance in a Television Series for her role as Jessica Pearson.

She most recently was cast as the lead of the Dracula reimagining drama pilot The Bridesat ABC. The Alias and Angel alumna also did an arc on HBO’s Westworld.

Martin Sheen & His “The West Wing” Cast Mates to Reunite for ‘When We All Vote’ Special on HBO Max

Martin Sheen is returning to the West Wing

Aaron Sorkin is reuniting his The West Wing cast, including the 80-year-old half-Spanish American actor, for the first time in 17 years with a special for HBO Max.

Martin Sheen The West Wing

Sheen, Rob Lowe, Dulé Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney, Richard Schiff and Bradley Whitford are getting back together with Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme for A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote.

The special will feature a theatrical performance of Hartsfield’s Landing, an episode from the NBC drama’s third season that featured Sheen’s President Barlet playing chess against Sam (Lowe) and Toby (Schiff), while the Chinese are playing war games in the Taiwan Strait and Josh (Whitford) is nervous about the 42 votes in a remote New Hampshire town’s election, which always predict the winner of that state’s primary.

It marks the second high-profile special of a classic NBC series produced by Warner Bros. set to air on HBO Max following the much-delayed Friends reunion special.

The West Wing reunion has long been in the works with Schiff saying in June that the gang was getting back together in support of Black Lives Matter following the death of George Floyd. The crew have reunited in various forms, including at ATX in Austin, for The West Wing Weekly podcast, and for an ad for Bridget Mary McCormack, a candidate for Michigan’s Supreme Court. However, this is the first time that it will air on television.

The team behind the Warner Bros. Television-produced series have organized the reunion to raise awareness for and support When We All Vote, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization co-chaired by Michelle Obama, which was founded to increase participation in every election in America.

WarnerMedia will make a donation to When We All Vote.

Michelle Obama will make a guest appearance in the special, while additional cast members and special guests from the worlds of public service and the arts will be announced in the coming weeks.

A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote will shoot over multiple days at the Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles in early October. Sorkin will write original exclusive material for the special, while Schlamme will serve as director of the production.

 “Tommy and I are incredibly excited to be getting The West Wing cast back together for this staged reading and to support When We All Vote in their efforts to get all of us involved in this election,” said Sorkin.

“With A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote, we are excited to revisit this legendary series and offer our passionate fans something that is substantial, meaningful and unforgettable, while also promoting an important message for our time,” added Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max. “Combined with WarnerMedia’s donation to When We All Vote, this special not only entertains, but also help ensure the organization can carry forth its mission to increase voter participation in every election.”

Sheen appeared on 140 episodes of The West Wing from 1999-2006. The won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of fictitious U.S. President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet.

Aubrey Plaza to Appear in NBC’s Special “Parks and Recreation” Reunion Episode

Aubrey Plazais going back to Pawnee, to Pawnee…

The 35-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress/comedian and her fellow Parks and Recreation cast mates will return to Pawnee, Indiana, for a one-time special amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Aubrey Plaza

The half-hour scripted special to benefit Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fundis set to air on Thursday, April 30 at 8:30 pm ET/PT.

All of the original characters from the series will return in the Universal TV-produced special, played by original cast members Amy PoehlerRashida Jones, Aziz AnsariNick Offerman, Plaza as April Ludgate, Chris PrattAdam ScottRob LoweJim O’Heir, and Retta.

Parks and Recreation

 

Several guest stars from the Pawnee universe may pop in as well.

The story comes from the events of the day – Pawnee’s most dedicated civil servant, Leslie Knope (Poehler), is determined to stay connected to her friends in a time of social distancing.

 “Like a lot of other people, we were looking for ways to help and felt that bringing these characters back for a night could raise some money,” said executive producer Michael Schur. “I sent a hopeful email to the cast and they all got back to me within 45 minutes. Our old ‘Parks and Rec’ team has put together one more 30-minute slice of (quarantined) Pawnee life and we hope everyone enjoys it. And donates!”

The special comes five years after viewers said farewell to the iconic comedy series.

“In such uncertain times, we can’t think of anyone better than Leslie Knope to unite our country with her unbridled enthusiasm and compassion,” said Lisa Katz and Tracey Pakosta, Co-Presidents of Scripted Programming, NBC Entertainment. “A huge thank you to Mike Schur and the cast of Parks and Recreationfor putting this wonderful special together and bringing a smile to all our faces while raising money for such a worthwhile cause.”

State Farmand Subaru of Americawill each make matching donations of $150,000 and, combined with NBCUniversaland the writers/producers/cast of Parks and Recreation, a total of $500,000 in matching donations will be made through May 21. 

Parks and Recreationreceived a Peabody Award for excellence in television programming, an AFIhonor as one of the Top 10 Television Shows of the Yearand several Emmynominations including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Writing and lead actress for Poehler, who won a Golden Globe for her performance in 2014.

Eugenio Derbez Renews First-Look Deal with Pantelion Films

It’s a special re-up for Eugenio Derbez

Following the impressive U.S. box office returns of the 54-year-old Mexican comedian’s English-language debut How to be a Latin Lover, Lionsgate-Televisa joint venture Pantelion Films has renewed its first-look deal with Derbez and producing partner Benjamin Odell’s production company, 3Pas Studios. The companies originally inked a first-look pact in August 2014.
Eugenio Derbez

The comedy about a gold-digging Lothario getting his comeuppance stars Derbez, Salma Hayek and a clutch of American actors led by Raquel Welch, Rob Lowe, Rob Corddry, Kristen Bell and Rob Riggle.

Ken Marino’s directorial feature debut grabbed the number two slot at the box office the weekend of April 28, grossing $12 million on just 1,118 screens. Its opening weekend audience was 89% Hispanic.

“It has always been our goal to reach deep into the acculturated Hispanic market,” said Pantelion CEO, Paul Presburger, adding: “I think we also accomplished what we have always wanted to do, which is to start bridging across acculturated Latinos to the general market.”

The deal renewal reflects Lionsgate’s commitment to underserved Hispanic audiences in the U.S. Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer has long been a strong advocate for Pantelion and its initiatives.

“We are really happy to continue our relationship with Pantelion, Lionsgate and Televisa,” said Odell, adding: “They provide us very strong support but allow us a lot of creative freedom as we continue to strengthen the 3pas Brand and expand both into the mainstream and internationally. We couldn’t think of better partners.”

How to be a Latin Lover is Pantelion’s second breakout hit with Derbez after his directorial debut Instructions Not Included, which became the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S. ($44 million) and the highest-grossing Mexican film in Mexico ($48 million). Televisa’s distribution arm Videocine releases the comedy in Mexico May 5 on more than 3,000 screens. Hayek will be at the premiere Wednesday in Mexico City.

Founded some two years ago by Derbez and former Pantelion executive Ben Odell, 3Pas Studios has a packed slate of comedies in development.

Next out of the gate is Overboard, a remake of Garry Marshall’s ‘80s comedy starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. Comedy is slated to start principal photography May 23 in Vancouver with Anna Faris starring opposite Derbez.

Aside from remakes of French comedy The Valet and Korean comedy Miss Granny and live action comedy Ponce, 3Pas is also producing animated feature La Familia Peluche, based on Derbez’s popular live action TV show that aired on Univision and Televisa.

Pantelion is also collaborating with Televisa and Starz on the series Teresa, based on the popular telenovela, and gearing up for the July launch of the still-unnamed streaming movie service with partners Univision and Hemisphere Media.

Derbez’s 3Pas Studios Extends First-Look Deal with Universal Television

Eugenio Derbez is staying Universal

The 54-year-old Mexican television actor and filmmaker’s 3Pas Studios, which has had a first-look with Universal Television since last year, just extended his agreement with the studio for another year.

Eugenio Derbez

The deal comes after he and his business partner Ben Odell set up two comedy projects last season: one at NBC (The Great Brown Hope) and the other at ABC (Don’t Judge Me).

3Pas Studio, based in Santa Monica, also has a first-look deal with Lionsgate’s Pantelion Films and recently set up their first film there: How to Be a Latin Lover in which Derbez stars along with Salma Hayek, Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell, Raquel Welch, Rob Riggle, Linda Lavin, McKenna Grace, Renee Taylor, Rob Huebel and Michaela Watkins.

Written by Chris Spain and Jon Zack, the film is being directed by The State alum and Wet Hot American Summer co-star Ken Marino.

Other projects 3Pas has in development include Ponce written by Max Botkin, about the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León and his search for the fountain of youth although set in modern-day America; The Valet, a remake of the 2006 French comedy; and the animated Speedy Gonzalez at Warner Bros.

“I couldn’t be happier to be spending another year with Universal,” Derbez said. “The team has been a true pleasure to collaborate with, and I am excited about what’s to come.”

Hayek to Star Opposite Eugenio Derbez in “How to Be a Latin Lover”

Salma Hayek has a new lover

The 49-year-old Mexican actress has joined the cast of Lionsgate and Pantelion Films’ How to Be a Latin Lover, the comedy that marks Eugenio Derbez’s first English-language starring role.

Salma Hayek

Hayek joins Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell, Raquel Welch, Rob Riggle and McKenna Grace in the film being directed by The State alum and Wet Hot American Summer co-star Ken Marino.

The story, written by Chris Spain and Jon Zack, is about an aging Latin lover forced to return to live with his estranged sister and her young son after being dumped by his sugar mama.

Other actors who have also joined are Renee Taylor, Rob Huebel, Michaela Watkins and Linda Lavin.

Latin Lover is a joint venture between 3Pas Studios, Pantelion Films, Lionsgate and Televisa Cinefrom.

Derbez’s previous collaboration with Pantelion Films, Instructions Not Included, became the highest grossing Spanish-language film released in North America, breaking box office records with a combined domestic and international gross of over $99M.

Hayek, who is a filmmaker as well as an actress, just finished Hitman’s Bodyguard starring opposite Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Gary Oldman.

She was honored only a week ago by Pope Francis with the Olive Medal for her work in the arts, and for the responsible use of her celebrity to promote unity and peace.

Lionsgate to Release Derbez’s “How to Be a Latin Lover” in April 2017

Eugenio Derbez will spread the Love(r) next spring…

Lionsgate has scheduled the 54-year-old Mexican actor’s comedy How to Be a Latin Lover for release on April 28, 2017.

Eugenio Derbez

The film centers on Maximo (Derbez), a fading gigolo who is kicked out of the house by his aged mistress and is forced to return to live with his estranged sister and her preteen son in their humble home. Sporting a wardrobe consisting mostly of Versace speedos, Maximo focuses on finding another sugar mama to support his expensive tastes.

Rob Lowe, Kristen Bell, Raquel Welch and Rob Riggle co-star in the film for Lionsgate’s Pantelion label.

Ken Marino is directing from a script by Chris Spain and Jon Zack.

Derbez to Star in Pantelion Films’ “How to Be a Latin Lover”

Eugenio Derbez is looking for a sugar mama…

The 54-year-old Mexican actor, director and producer will star in the comedy How to Be a Latin Lover for Lionsgate’s Pantelion Films label.

Eugenio Derbez

Derbez will star opposite Rob LoweKristen BellRaquel Welch and Rob Riggle in the film, which will be directed by Ken Marino.

The film centers on an aging Latin lover who gets dumped by his sugar mama and is forced to return to live with his estranged sister and her preteen son in their humble home. Sporting a wardrobe consisting mostly of Versace speedos, the man focuses on finding himself another sugar mama to support his expensive tastes.

Other actors who have also joined are Renee Taylor, Rob Huebel, Michaela Watkins and Linda Lavin.

Lowe plays a jaded, legendary gigolo who is a “Yoda-like” source of war stories.

Written by Chris Spain and Jon Zack, the comedy is said to be in the vein of Bad Teacher.

The film is a joint venture between Derbez’s 3Pas Studios, Pantelion Films, Lionsgate and Televisa Cine. The project not only marks Derbez’s first English-language starring role, but is also 3Pas Studio’s first film under its first-look deal with Pantelion.

The project is now before the cameras.

Cannavale to Appear in “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors” Series

Bobby Cannavale is ready to talk shop…

Variety and PBS SoCal have announced the line-up for the fourth installment of their awards season series “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors,” with the 45-year-old half-Cuban American actor making the final cut.

Bobby Cannavale in Vinyl

Available to stream on Variety.com, the new “Actors on Actors” season will feature one-on-one discussions between this year’s Emmy contenders.

Along with Cannavale, who stars in HBO’s Vinyl, this year’s conversations, which will be printed in the June 7 issue of Variety, will also include Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”), Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”), Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”), Jamie Lee Curtis (“Scream Queens”), Kirsten Dunst (“Fargo”), Jay Duplass (“Transparent”), Billy Eichner (“Difficult People”), Sam Heughan (“Outlander”), Tom Hiddleston (“The Night Manager”), Felicity Huffman (“American Crime”), Lady Gaga (“American Horror Story”), Jennifer Lopez (“Shades of Blue”), Rob Lowe (“Grinder”), Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”), Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley”), Aaron Paul (“The Path”), Sarah Paulson (“American Crime Story”), Krysten Ritter (“Jessica Jones”), Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”), Patrick Stewart (“Blunt Talk”), John Travolta (“American Crime Story”), Courtney B. Vance (“American Crime Story”) and Kerry Washington (“Confirmation”).

“Variety is thrilled to cover the best actors on television in this season’s ‘Actors on Actors’ for PBS stations,” said Variety‘s executive TV editor Debra Birnbaum in a statement. “This season’s lineup includes actors from some of the top new television programs and showcases the wide diversity of roles for actors on broadcast, cable and streaming platforms.”

PBS SoCal will premiere the segment in two episodes, one on June 12 and the other on June 19.

“Through their craft, the actors interviewed on ‘Actors on Actors’ effortlessly spark our imaginations and take us to new places,” said PBS SoCal president and CEO Andy Russell in a statement. “Through this partnership with Variety we are pleased to enhance the experience of fans of great television – providing them greater insight into the people who bring them their favorite dramas, comedies and more.”

Morales to Star Opposite Rob Lowe & Fred Savage in Fox’s Comedy Pilot “The Grinder”

Natalie Morales is ready for the daily grind(er)

The 30-year-old Cuban American actress will co-star opposite Rob Lowe and Fred Savage in The Grinder, Fox’s comedy pilot from Andrew Mogel, Nick Stoller and Jarrad Paul.

Natalie Morales

Written by Mogel and Paul and directed by Jake KasdanThe Grinder stars Lowe as beloved TV lawyer Dean Sanderson (aka “The Grinder”). When his long-running hit series comes to an end, he finds himself at a crossroads in life and decides to move back to his small hometown, thinking he has the experience to take over his family’s law firm. Once there, he butts heads with his brother, Stewart Sanderson (Savage).

Morales will play Claire, a paralegal who works at Stewart’s law firm. She has never seen an episode of Dean’s TV show and is unimpressed with his celebrity.

The project will also star Mary Elizabeth Ellis and William Devane.

Morales’ credits include the feature films Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Going the Distance, as well as television roles on Girls, Parks and RecreationTrophy Wife and The Newsroom.