J Balvin Partners with Hasbro for the Brand’s First Celebrity Figure, the “J Balvintron” Transformer

J Balvin is experiencing a career Transformer-ation

The 36-year-old Colombian singer, known as the “Prince of Reggaeton,” is getting his own Transformers figure.

J Balvin

On July 13, Hasbro will make available for pre-order the “J Balvintron,” a 7-inch tall figure with two mini cassette accessories inspired by Balvin’s Energía and Vibras albums that transform into a condor and a tiger to create a mash-up J Balvintron 3-pack. The figure also wields a blaster, and incorporates Balvin’s signature rainbow colors and smiley face icon.

While Hasbro has previously partnered with brands like Marvel and Universal to create figures from their respective universes, the J Balvintron is the first figure created with a musical artist or actual living celebrity since Hasbro launched its collaborative program in 2019.

J Balvin, Hasbro, J Balvintron, Transformer

The figure, which will be available exclusively on the NTWRK platform as a limited edition, will retail for $69.99.

“I’ve loved Transformers since I was a kid so this was a dream come true,” Balvin told Billboard.

“The J Balvintron Transformers that are coming out are a reflection of my dream toy. Ever since the proposal came to me I had this vision in mind.”

The Transformer proposal came to Balvin via livestream shopping platform NTWRK, which is known for its exclusive, celebrity-partnership product drops, and which had a strong relationship with both Balvin and Hasbro.

“NTWRK approached J Balvin and Hasbro with the idea to collaborate with Transformers because Balvin is a huge fan of Transformers and we thought it would be an amazing fan experience and cultural moment — For Balvin and Transformers fans,” says president Moksha Fitzgibbons.

Balvin, whose affinity for games in general is well known, was excited.

“I asked them to include elements from my past albums in the design. This is why they have two cassette options, one for Vibras and then one for Energia,” he says. “The colors, the names, I suggested all of these to them for inspiration. When we were in the process of making the design, Colores had just come out so we wanted to make many different color options.”

Evan Brooks, the designer in charge of the Balvintron, knew the singer was a big G1 Transformer fan, so his starting point was Soundwave, a popular Gen 1 transformer whose best-known disguise is as a cassette player. Brooks designed two small cassette players that transform into Balvin albums. Because the cassettes are usually animal-themed, “We looked at his tatoos and saw he had four or five tigers. We ran it past him and had one of them turn into a tiger that turns into Vibras, and the other one is a condor that turns into Energia.”

The first step in designing based on an actual person, says Brooks, is taking the visual elements that define the person and extrapolating them onto a robot. The biggest challenge, he says, was trying to balance Balvin’s many color associations.

“If you look at Balvin’s figure, I found his rainbow hair style very iconic. We went through ten iterations. The robot head has the five color break. We made sure the smiley face was present.”

The whole process, he says, was “very easy and very smooth,” with a bonus. Brooks, who hadn’t heard Balvin before, became a fan, and “Rojo” is now his favorite track.

The J Balvintron will only be available on the NETWRK App, which will premiere the figure along with an animated video and an interview with the Balvintron designers. Balvin will also promote the figure on social media.

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.

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.

Roberto Orci Bringing Galaga Arcade Game to Television

Roberto Orci is helping bring the popular arcade game Galaga to the small scree…

The 45-year-old Mexican film and television screenwriter and producerand Emmy-winning animation studio ShadowMachine have joined the effort by digital studio The Nuttery Entertainment to bring to life the animated sci-fi saga Galaga Chronicles, a story based on Bandai Namco’s classic arcade game.

Roberto Orci 

The Nuttery announced the project at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con. The animated re-imagining of the iconic game is planned for a 12-episode inaugural season. The series is being shopped for distribution but anticipates a late 2019/early 2020 premiere.

Long before the days of Call of Duty and Mario Kart, Galaga, was the arcade video game to play. In the retro video game similar to Space Invadersthe player controlled a starfighter and the objective was to destroy insect-like alien creatures to rack up as many points as possible.

Orci will work with The Nuttery to shape the vast and sprawling Galaga Chronicles universe and also will serve as an executive producer. Known for the films Transformers, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Star Trek and creator of the television shows Sleepy Hollow and ScorpionOrci also will serve as an executive producer.

“Galaga is one of the games I played growing up,” Orci said. “I have fond memories of the quarters and hours upon hours I spent playing the game. I look forward to working with The Nuttery and to capture that magic in an exciting new format.”

ShadowMachine, producer of television shows BoJack Horseman, Robot Chicken and Final Spacewill be the animation production company. “This is by far one of the best video game adaptations I’ve ever read or been a part of. It is an absolute playground for animation.” ShadowMachine founder and CEO Alexander Bulkley said.

“We couldn’t be more stoked to have this level of creativity and craftsmanship on board our space adventure,” said Magnus Jansson, CEO of The Nuttery. “Roberto’s incredible sense of story and science fiction mastery and ShadowMachine’s excellent animation and design chops have already elevated the project to the next level. I think we are sitting on an amazing origin story for Galaga that will not disappoint.”

John Ortiz to Star in Netflix’s Drama Series “Messiah”

John Ortiz has landed the king of all projects…

The 49-year-old Puerto Rican actor has joined the cast of Netflix’s drama series Messiah, from writer Michael Petroni and producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.

Created by Petroni, the 10-episode Messiah explores the lines among religion, faith and politics. It chronicles the modern world’s reaction to a man who first appears in the Middle East creating a groundswell of followers around him claiming he is the Messiah. Is he sent from God or is he a dangerous fraud bent on dismantling the world’s geopolitical order? The story unfolds from multiple points of view, including a young CIA agent, an Israeli Shin Bet officer, a Latino preacher and his Texan daughter, a Palestinian refugee and the media, among others.

Ortiz plays Felix, smart, humble and unassuming on the outside. Though blessed with a strong faith and a loving family, Felix struggles with his lot in life leading a tiny, uninspired congregation in a border town in Texas where he assumes he will live out the rest of his days. Felix’s life is about to change as he gets swept up into Al-Massih’s world. With growing power comes corruption and Felix must choose between remaining true to himself or going down a darker path.

Ortiz will next be seen on the big screen alongside Hailee Steinfeld and Jon Cena in Paramount Pictures’ Transformers spinoff Bumblebee and in a co-starring role in revenge thriller Peppermint opposite Jennifer Garner.

Orci Signs with ICM Partners

Roberto Orci has a new Partner in crime…

The 43-year-old Mexican film and television writer, producer and director has signed with talent and literary agency ICM Partners.

Roberto Orci

Orci’s writing and producing credits include some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, including credits two Transformers and Star Trek films and Mission: Impossible III.

Orci, longtime partner of Alex Kurtzman, is also an Emmy-winning television writer-producer, who co-created Fox’s Fringe and Sleepy Hollow. He has also been a writer-producer on Alias and Hawaii Five-O, among other shows.

Orci had previously been at Creative Artists Agency, and he continues to be lawyered by Michael Gendler.

Gomez Earns Kids’ Choice Award Nomination for Favorite Female Singer

Selena Gomez
 is the people’s choice… At least the young people’s choice.

The 21-year-old half-Mexican American actress/singer is among the nominees at the 27th annual Kids’ Choice Awards, earning the eighth nomination of her career.

Selena Gomez

Gomez, a six-time Kids’ Choice Award winner, earned her nod in the Favorite Female Singer category. She’ll face-off against Lady Gaga, Katy Perry
and Taylor Swift
for the award she previously won in 2012.

This year’s fan-voted event will be hosted by Mark Wahlberg, who stars in the fourth installment in the Transformers franchise.

This year, the Kids’ Choice Awards has added several new categories: favorite app, favorite villain, favorite funny star, favorite animated animal sidekick and most enthusiastic athlete.

Other notable Latino nominees include Bruno Mars and Pitbull, who have armed nods for Favorite Male Singer, Sofia Vergara for Favorite Funny Star, baseball star David Ortiz for Most Enthusiastic Athlete
and Benjamin Flores, Jr.
for Favorite Television Actor.

Voting in the 22 categories is currently underway across all Nickelodeon digital platforms, including the Nick.com website and the official Nickelodeon page, where users can vote by using custom Kids’ Choice Awards hashtags.

The Kids’ Choice Awards take place Saturday, March 29, from 8-9:30 pm ET/PT at the University of Southern California‘s Galen Center.

Here’s a complete look at this year’s nominees:

Favorite TV Show
The Big Bang Theory
Good Luck Charlie
Jessie
Sam & Cat

Favorite Reality Show
America’s Got Talent
American Idol
The Voice
Wipeout

Favorite Cartoon
Adventure Time
Phineas & Ferb
SpongeBob SquarePants
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Favorite TV Actor
Benjamin Flores, Jr.
Jack Griffo
Ross Lynch
Jake Short

Favorite TV Actress
Ariana Grande
Jennette McCurdy
Bridgit Mendler
Debby Ryan

Favorite Movie
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Iron Man 3
Oz the Great and Powerful
The Smurfs 2

Favorite Movie Actor
Johnny Depp
Robert Downey Jr.
Neil Patrick Harris
Adam Sandler

Favorite Movie Actress
Sandra Bullock
Mila Kunis
Jennifer Lawrence
Jayma Mays

Favorite Animated Movie
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2
Despicable Me 2
Frozen
Monsters University

Favorite Voice From an Animated Movie
Steve Carell
Miranda Cosgrove
Billy Crystal
Katy Perry

Favorite Male Buttkicker
Johnny Depp
Robert Downey Jr.
Hugh Jackman
Dwayne Johnson

Favorite Female Buttkicker
Sandra Bullock
Jennifer Lawrence
Evangeline Lilly
Jena Malone

Favorite Music Group
Maroon 5
One Direction
One Republic
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Favorite Male Singer
Bruno Mars
Pitbull
Justin Timberlake
Pharrell Williams

Favorite Female Singer
Lady Gaga
Selena Gomez
Katy Perry
Taylor Swift

Favorite Song
“I Knew You Were Trouble”
“Roar”
“Story of My Life”
“Wrecking Ball”

Favorite Book
Diary of a Wimpy Kid series
Harry Potter series
The Hobbit
The Hunger Games series

Favorite Video Game
Angry Birds
Star Wars
Disney Infinity
Just Dance 2014
Minecraft

Favorite App Game
Angry Birds
Star Wars II
Candy Crush Saga
Despicable Me: Minion Rush
Temple Run
 


Favorite Funny Star
Kaley Cuoco
Kevin Hart
Andy Samberg
Sofia Vergara
 
 

Favorite Animated Animal Sidekick
Patrick Star
Perry the Platypus
Sparky
Waddles

Most Enthusiastic Athlete
Dwight Howard
Cam Newton
David Ortiz
Richard Sherman

Fresnadillo to Direct Shia LaBeouf in “Villain”

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo has found his villain… And his name is Shia LaBeouf.

Start Motion Pictures has named the 45-year-old Spanish filmmaker as the director of Villain, a psychological thriller that will star the Transformers actor.

Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Villain follows two brothers who mysteriously re-connect in an unforgiving wilderness. The role of the other brother has yet been named.

Fresnadillo’s credits including helming the Intacto and 28 Weeks Later, the sequel to Danny Boyle‘s 28 Days Later.

His film Esposados was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 1996.

Orci to Pen the Sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man

Roberto Orci and his partner Alex Kurtzman will be the spinning the tale for the sequel to a highly anticipated superhero film franchise reboot.

The 38-year-old Mexican-born screenwriter and Kurtzman have been hired by Sony Pictures to write the screenplay for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and executive produce the film, according to Variety.

Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci

“Alex and Bob have a unique ability to write great characters and spectacular action that makes them pitch perfect for ‘Spider-Man,’” producer Matt Tolmach said. “They have an exciting take on the franchise.”

Orci and Kurtzman, meanwhile, issued a statement expressing their enthusiasm for the project.

“We grew up as huge Spider-Man fans so, to us, the opportunity to work on this film is akin to being handed the Holy Grail. We love the direction Sony and the filmmakers are taking the Peter Parker/Spider-Man mythology,” the statement read.

The Amazing Spider-Man

James Vanderbilt, who co-authored the screenplay for The Amazing Spider-Man, which will open in U.S. theaters on July 3, has written the first draft of the script for the follow-up film.

Production on the sequel—slated for a May 2014 release—is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2013.

Orci and Kurtzman, two of Hollywood’s most sought-after screenwriters, have written the scripts for films such as Mission: Impossible III, Transformers, Star Trek and Cowboys & Aliens.

Nolasco Ready to “Work It” in Heels on ABC…

He’s best known for playing an escaped felon on the run. But that doesn’t mean Amaury Nolasco isn’t afraid to show his feminine side… even in a restroom.

The 40-year-old Puerto Rican actor is starring as Angel Ortiz in ABC’s new cross-dressing comedy Work It, which centers on two unemployed car salesmen who realize that they’re living in a woman’s world.

Amaury Nolasco

In order to find new work, the bosom buddies decide to dress as women to get jobs as pharmaceutical reps, which leads them to become better men, husbands and fathers.

ABC recently released the provocative promotional poster for the show, which features Nolasco and his co-star Ben Koldyke standing in a bathroom… at the urinals.

Amaury Nolasco ABC Work It

Along with starring as Fernando Sucre on Fox’s Prison Break, Nolasco starred in the second season of Southland, as well as appeared in the movies Transformers and Max Payne

Work It premieres on Tuesday, January 3 at 8:30pm EST on ABC.