Hulu Orders Drama Pilot for TV Adaptation of Xochitl Gonzalez’s “Olga Dies Dreaming”

Xochitl Gonzalez is die-dreaming…

Hulu has given an official pilot order to Olga Dies Dreaming, a one-hour drama based on the forthcoming novel by the Latina writer.

Xochitl Gonzalez

In anticipation of the official green light for the project from Gonzalez, Emmy-nominated and Sundance-winning filmmaker Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and 20th Century Television , the pilot has already has been casting.

Written by Gonzalez and to be directed by Gomez-Rejon, Olga Dies Dreaming is the story of a Nuyorican brother and sister from a gentrifying Sunset Park, Brooklyn, reckoning with the absent, politically radical mother and their glittering careers among New York City’s elite in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Olga Dies Dreaming

Gomez-Rejon partnered with Gonzalez after reading her novel in manuscript form. Together, they developed the series from the ground up and will executive produce the pilot. 20th Television is the studio.

Gonzalez is an MFA candidate in fiction at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she is an Iowa Arts Fellow and the recipient of the Michener Copernicus Award for Fiction. She was the winner of the 2019 Disquiet Literary Prize and her work has been published by Vogue, The Cut, Ninth Letter and Joyland magazine. Her debut novel, Olga Dies Dreaming was sold to Flatiron Books after a 10-way auction and will publish in January.

Prior to beginning her MFA, Gonzalez was an entrepreneur and strategic consultant for nearly 15 years.

Gomez-Rejon directed the award-winning Sundance film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and The Current War: Director’s Cut among others. He most recently served as executive producer and director on Hunters

Angel Manuel Soto to Direct New Paramount “Transformers” Feature

Angel Manuel Soto is ready for a transformation

There’s a new Transformers feature is in the works at Paramount, according to Deadline, with the 38-year-old Puerto Rican filmmaker set to direct the project.

Angel Manuel Soto

The new film is said to be separate from the studio’s main Transformer franchise, which includes the five installments directed by Michael Bay, as well as the Bumblebee spin-off.

Soto, who made a splash with his Sundance and HBO Max drama Charm City King, will direct the standalone film based on the popular Hasbro brand.

Marco Ramirez, the former showrunner and co-creator of the Netflix Marvel series The Defenders, will pen the screenplay.  The film is in the early stage of development and no details on the plot were made available at this time.

Rita Moreno to Take Part in This Year’s Sundance Film Festival Semi-Virtual Edition

Rita Moreno is ready to rock Sundance…

The 2021 Sundance Film Festival has announced a schedule of the talks and events to be presented on the Sundance platform, with the 89-year-old Puerto Rican actress, dancer and singer set to participate.

Rita Moreno

The festival, which runs from January 28 to February 3, opted for a semi-virtual option in lieu of its traditional exhibition in Park City, UT. Among the guests taking part in this year’s virtual “Cinema Cafe” talks are Moreno, Questlove, Robin Wright and others.

Moreno will be joined by beloved Sesame Street alum Sonia Manzano for a little café talk on Saturday, January 30 from 10:30-11:15 am.

The EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscars & Tony Awards) winner will also take part in the Conjuring the Collective: Womxn at Sundance Speakeasy later that night, from 8:00 – 9:00 pm.

The virtual speakeasy will feature performances from an array of talented women from the Festival and beyond, honoring a multiplicity of perspectives through our myths and stories, dance, art, music, and culture.

In addition to Moreno, guests include poet Apiorkor, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison (Ailey), actor Marlee Matlin and director Siân Heder.

The following is the roster of scheduled events. All talks and events are free to view, and all times are U.S. Mountain time.

2021 Sundance Film
Festival Opening Night Welcome
Thursday, January 28,
5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The Sundance Dailies
#SundanceDailies
Friday, January 29–Tuesday, February 2,
9:00 a.m.–9:30 a.m.

2021 Cinema Café guests:

Shaka King & Ahmir
“Questlove” Thompson
Friday, January 29, 10:30-11:15 a.m.

Sonia Manzano & Rita Moreno
Saturday, January 30, 10:30-11:15 a.m.

Rebecca Hall & Robin Wright
Sunday, January 31, 10:30-11:15 a.m.

Tyson Brown, Patti Harrison & Emilia Jones
Monday, February 1, 10:30-11:15am

The Big Conversation
#SundanceBigConversation
Friday, January 29-Monday, February 1,
1-2 p.m., individual slots TBA
The Big Conversation tackles science, art, culture, and the movements that are fueling the imaginations of today’s independent artists. A compelling selection of speakers discuss topics centered on the themes of this year’s program and explore broader trends in art and culture around the world. In considering how
artists — through their practice and their work — make meaning of the world, we’re reminded that it’s the big conversation that connects us to the big ideas. The topics are “Barbed Wire Kisses Redux,” “Come Together” and “The Past In the Present: A Personal Journey through Race, History and Filmmaking.”

Power of Story
Timing TBA
The Sundance Film Festival’s Power of Story looks to deepen public engagement with storytelling, delve into cinema culture, and celebrate artists whose work propels the form and reinvents storytelling as we know it.

Power of Story: Speculative Fiction Is the Place
Black speculative fiction and historiography, Afrofuturism, and utopian/dystopian visions speak to an enduring, evolving, and vibrant storytelling sensibility.

Conjuring the Collective: Womxn at Sundance Speakeasy
Saturday, January 30, 8-9 p.m.
A virtual speakeasy featuring performances from an array of talented women from the Festival and beyond, honoring a multiplicity of perspectives through our myths and stories, dance, art, music, and culture. Guests include: poet Apiorkor, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison (Ailey), actor Marlee Matlin and director Siân Heder (CODA), actor Rita Moreno (Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided to Go For It), actor SOKO (Mayday, The Blazing World), and more TBA.

Awards Night
Tuesday, February 2, 6 p.m.
Free and open to all, the event will be live-streamed on our online screening platform.

It’s a Wrap
Wednesday, February 3, 9-9:30 a.m.
Festival director Tabitha Jackson leads a ceremonial end to this all-new Sundance experience by bringing audiences together for one last moment together in the virtual space.

La La Anthony to Executive Produce the Horror Comedy “Juju”

La La Anthony is dealing with some bad Juju

The 39-year-old Puerto Rican television personality, actress and entrepreneur has teamed up with Issa Rae for Juju.

La La Anthony

Anthony and Rae will executive produce the upcoming horror comedy for Universal Pictures, according to Deadline.com.

The project will be based on an original concept by Angelica Nwandu, founder of Instagram-based info hub The Shade Room and a Sundance fellow, who will write the script.

Juju will be the studio feature directorial debut for Thembi Banks, a Sundance alum who has been a director on Rae’s Insecure and Frankie Shaw’s SMILF.

Anthony to prominence as an MTV VJ on Total Request Live. She hosted several VH1 reality television reunion shows, including Flavor of Love and I Love New York.

 

Her acting credits include You Got Served, Think Like a Man and Starz’s Power series.

Focus Features Releases Trailer for Gina Rodriguez’s Grifter Comedy “Kajillionaire”

Gina Rodriguez wants to be a kajillionaire

Focus Features has released the first trailer for KajillionaireMiranda July’s Sundance comedy about a family of grifters starring the 36-year-old Puerto Rican actress and former Jane the Virgin star.

Gina Rodriguez

“Most people wanna be kajillionaires,” Dad says in the clip. “That’s the dream. That’s how they get you hooked — hooked on sugar, hooked on caffeine. Ha, ha, ha, cry, cry, cry. Me? I prefer to just skim.” His daughter looks up and says, “So do I.”

Here is your logline: Con artists Theresa (Debra Winger) and Robert (Richard Jenkins) have spent 26 years training their only daughter, Old Dollo (Evan Rachel Wood), to swindle, scam and steal at every opportunity.

“She learned to forge before she learned to write,” Pops boasts of Old Dollo. “Actually, that’s how she did learn to write.”

During a desperate, hastily conceived heist, they charm a stranger (Rodriguez) into joining their next scam, only to have their entire world turned upside down.

July wrote and directed Kajillionaire as her first feature since 2011’s The Future.

The trailer features “Mr. Lonely,” a song performed by Angel OlsenEmile Mosseri, the latter being the film’s composer. 

Produced by Plan B and Annapurna Pictures,Focus Features plans to release the film in theaters in September.

Netflix to Premiere the Walter Mercado Documentary “Mucho Mucho Amor” in July

There’s mucho mucho amor for Walter Mercado, it’s that love’s coming your way…

Netflix has released the official trailer for Mucho Mucho Amor, the documentary on the late Puerto Rican astrologer, television personality and gay icon.

Walter Mercado

For decades, Mercado captivated the Latin American world with his with his glamorous style, gender-nonconforming persona and warmhearted cosmic readings, before disappearing

from public eye. He began having cardiac problems in 2012, and said he “had gone and seen death and came back to life again,” and experience that seemed to change him. Hepassed away last November reportedly from kidney failure.

But Mercado is poised to reach a new level of fandom with a lovingly crafted documentary about his life and career, directed by Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch

Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in January, and will begin streaming on Netflix next week.

The official synopsis reads: “Every day for decades, extravagant Puerto Rican astrologer, psychic, and gender nonconforming legend Walter Mercado charmed the world with his televised horoscopes. Equal parts OprahLiberace, and Mr. Rogers, Walter reached over 120 million viewers at his peak, enthralling the Latin world with sequined capes, opulent jewelry and horoscopes that shared a message of love and hope to his devoted viewers. Then, he mysteriously disappeared. Over a decade later award-winning directors Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch and producer Alex Fumero capture Walter’s final two years, when the pioneering icon grappled with aging and his legacy, and prepared for one last star-studded spectacle.”

“From the moment that I was born, I knew that I was not like everybody,” Mercado says in the trailer for the film about his life. “Everything about me was different.” With a dizzying array of glittering blazers and luminescent capes, at one point Mercado is seen being escorted on a gilded throne through a crowd of clamoring fans. 

The film will also explore his mysterious disappearance from public life, which one subject speculates was motivated by a fear of aging in view.

Mucho Mucho Amor arrives on Netflix on Wednesday, July 8. 

Wilmer Valderrama Renews First-Look Deal with CBS Television Studios

Wilmer Valderrama still has the (first) look…

The 40-year-old Colombian/Venezuelan American actor and NCIS co-star has renewed his first-look deal with CBS Television Studios, the studio behind the popular CBS drama series.

Wilmer Valderrama 

Valderrama stars as Special Agent Nick Torres on NCIS, which was just renewed for an 18th season. He has been on the show since Season 14, with the first-look producing pact running parallel to his acting deal for the show.

Under the first-look agreement, Valderrama has developed several series projects for CBS Television Studios through his WV Entertainment banner, including Hipster Death Rattle, a dark comedy based on the book by Richie Narvaez, with writer Rafael Agustin and Corinne Brinkerhoff; as well as the previously announced, The Turners, a half-hour single-camera autobiographical family doctors comedy from writer Naomi Ekperigin at ABC with Two Shakes Entertainment co-producing; and Patriots From the Barrio, a WWII drama about a Mexican-American unit, based on the book by Dave Gutierrez, from writer John Covarrubias.

Valderrama previously created and produced the MTV series Yo Momma, also serving as the host for all three seasons, in addition to producing other MTV series like Punk’dBlowin’ Up and Trippin’.

On the film side, Valderrama most recently was featured in Blast Beat, a coming of age drama that premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. He voiced the first Latino Prince Charming in the 2018 animated feature film Charming. Valderrama also voiced the main character of Disney’s popular animated children’s show Handy Manny, which introduced preschoolers to Spanish. 

Chelsea Rendon to Appear on New Season of Showtime’s “Shameless”

There’s a little Shame in Chelsea Rendon’s game…

The Latina actress has landed a recurring role on Showtime’s long-running series Shameless.

Chelsea Rendon

The 10th season of the William H. Macy-fronted series from Warner Bros. Televisionpicks up six months after last season’s finale with Frank (Macy) using his leg injury to collect as many prescription drugs as possible and his exploits leading him to an old friend. Meanwhile, Debbie (Emma Kenney), emboldened by the $50,000 left to her by Fiona, has stepped in as the new matriarch, ruling over the Gallagher household with an iron fist. Lip (Jeremy Allen White) navigates his relationship with a newly affectionate Tami (Kate Miner). Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) has to decide what to do with his life as he finishes military school and heads back to the South side. Liam is committed to learning more about black history and culture under the tutelage of V (Shanola Hampton) as Kev (Steve Howey) faces an identity crisis. Gallavich returns this season as Ian (Monaghan) and Mickey (Noel Fisher) rekindle their romance in prison as both cellmates and lovers.

Rendon will portray Anne, the charismatic — and dangerously fun — new coworker of Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) at Captain Bob’s. Early on, the two have contentious relationship but then she shows Carl a different perspective on being poor on the South Side.

Shameless returns on Sunday, November 3 on Showtime.

Rendon stars in Tanya Saracho’s critically acclaimed Starzseries Vida as well as theSundancedrama The Infiltrators from Cristina Ibarraand Alex Rivera.

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.