Melissa De Sousa Signs with Mainstay Entertainment

Melissa De Sousa has new management…

The 54-year-old Panamanian American actress has signed with Mainstay Entertainment for management.

Melissa De SousaDe Sousa, best known for her role as the infamous Shelby in Universal’s The Best Man and The Best Man Holiday, films will next be seen starring opposite Morris Chestnut in the Peacock limited series The Best Man: The Final Chapters based on the films, which set to begin shooting in 2022.

Also on the television side, De Sousa recently wrapped the first season of Our Kind of People opposite Chestnut for Fox.

Her other recent credits include recurring as Chief Ana Lopez on CW’s Black Lightning and as the pill popping journalist Mirta Herrera on Showtime’s On Becoming a God in Central Floridaopposite Kirsten Dunst.

De Sousa continues to be repped by A3 Artists Agency and Meyer & Downs.

Lorenza Izzo Signs with M88 for Representation

Lorenza Izzo has new representation…

The 32-year-old Chilean actress and producer has signed with M88 and its sister company Uncmmn for representation.

Lorenza IzzoIzzo will next be seen in Greg Mottola’s Miramax comedy, Confess, Fletch, opposite Jon Hamm.

She can currently be seen in HBO Max’s Emmy-winning comedy series Hacks, and in Lissette Feliciano’s award-winning film Women Is Losers, which was released by HBO Max after premiering in competition at SXSW. Izzo also produced the latter title, in which she stars opposite Shang-Chi‘s Simu Liu.

Izzo has previously appeared on the film side in Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar winner Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood; Universal and Amblin’s The House with a Clock in Its Walls, opposite Jack Black and Cate Blanchett; and writer-director Dan Fogelman’s multigenerational Amazon drama, Life Itself, opposite Oscar Isaac and Olivia Wilde.

She also starred opposite Keanu Reeves and Ana de Armas in the Lionsgate psychological thriller Knock Knock, from director Eli Roth.

Izzo also recently starred on the television side in John Logan’s Penny Dreadful spin-off, City of Angels. Additional TV credits include AMC’s Feed the Beast, in which she starred alongside David Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess, the Gaumont/Netflix series Hemlock Grove, Hulu’s Dimension 404 and the fourth and final season of Hulu’s Casual.

Izzo is well known in Chile for starring in a pair of comedies from director Nicolas Lopez: Que Pena Tu Boda and Que Pena Tu Familia.

She continues to be represented by ICM and Viewpoint.

Former WME Partner Phillip Sun and Macro Founder & CEO Charles D. King launched M88 in 2020, with an eye toward supporting the work of the next generation of artists and cultural leaders. Sun leads the firm with partners Oronde Garrett and Gaby Mena.

Chrissie Fit to Star in Indie Comedy “The List”

Chrissie Fit is makin’ The List

The 37-year-old Cuban American actress has joined the cast of The List, the indie comedy from director Melissa Miller Costanzo.

Chrissie Fit

Fit forms part of a list of new cast additions that includes Jonah Platt, Will Peltz and Zach Reino.

They join previously announced leads Halston Sage, Christian Navarro and Gregg Sulkin.

The film written by Rob Lederer and Steve Vitolo centers on Abby (Sage), a woman who is about to get married, for whom everything is perfect. Until she finds out her fiancé Matt (Platt) has slept with a celebrity from his “free pass” list. To get her mind off things, Abby and her best friend Chloe (Fit) come up with a crazy idea: Abby should pursue a celebrity from her own list. But things become complicated when she meets Jake (Navarro), a sweet and charming waiter at a neighborhood cafe, who gives her a fresh perspective.

Peltz is portraying Avon, an LA-based rapper/pop star who is on a lot of free pass lists, including Abby’s, with Reino as Matt’s best friend and consistent bad influence, Connor.

Fit is best known for turns in Universal’s Pitch Perfect franchise and Disney Channel’s Teen Beach films. She can currently be seen in Amazon’s series reboot of I Know What You Did Last Summer, and will next be seen in Showtime comedy series I Love This for You, as well as Starz’ horror comedy, Shining Vale.

Fit has also recurred on Comedy Central’s Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens and Disney Channel’s Elena of Avalor, among other series. Additional film credits include Universal’s All My Life and HBO Max’s Women Is Losers.

Reino is a comedian and actor who has appeared on the TV side in HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Netflix’s Brews BrothersA.P. BioSofia the FirstSpeechlessCrazy Ex-Girlfriend and more. He recently wrote on Peacock’s new series Baking It with Maya Rudolph and Andy Samberg and co-hosts Off Book, a popular podcast, which originally debuted on Earwolf. Reino also co-wrote the script for Elizabeth Banks’ upcoming Amazon film Where the Fore Are We? with David Wain and Jess McKenna.

Trailer Released for Universal’s Action-Film “Ambulance,” Starring Eiza Gonzalez

Eiza Gonzalez is going on the ride of her life…

Universal has released the trailer for Ambulance, starring the 31-year-old Mexican actress and singer alongside Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Garret Dillahunt.

Eiza Gonzalez, Ambulance

The action film is directed by Michael Bay.

Gyllenhaal and Abdul-Mateen play old buddies whose plan to rob a bank in an effort to help Abdul-Mateen’s character pay for surgery for his wife goes south, and they’re forced to hijack an ambulance to try and get away. But it happens to be transporting a police officer who’d been shot while trying to stop the robbery. Gonzalez plays the paramedic in the vehicle.

The film is set to open in theaters on February 18, 2022, on Presidents Day weekend.

“It’s the kind of movie made for a big old movie theater,” said Gyllenhaal about the movie during this year’s CinemaCon.

Ambulance, based on the original Danish film Ambulancen, was adapted by Chris Fedak.

Remi Adeleke, A Martinez, Keir O’Donnell, Moses Ingram, Wale Folarin, Cedric Sanders, Jackson White, Colin Woodell and Olivia Stambouliah also star.

Zoey Luna Signs with A3 Artists Agency for Representation

Zoey Luna has new representation…

The pioneering Latina transgender youth activist turned actress, who stars in The Craft: Legacy star Zoey Luna has signed with A3 Artists Agency.

Zoey Luna

Luna portrayed Lourdes in The Craft: Legacy and currently can be seen in Universal’s Dear Evan Hansen, directed by Stephen Chbosky.

Luna was the subject of the groundbreaking documentary film Raising Zoey, chronicling her journey of how she was determined to live her authentic life, and fought school officials in the Los Angeles school system with the ACLU for her right to self-identify in school between ages 12-15.

She was also part of Laverne Cox’s documentary film Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word for MTV and the documentary 15: A Quinceañera Story for HBO.

She began her acting career with a lead role in the Rosario Dawson-directed short film Boundless and she most recently appeared in the season finale of FX’s award-winning series Pose.

Luna served as the grand marshal at the 2015 LA Pride parade, is the recipient of the San Diego Equality Award and the recipient of the ALMA AwardsYoung Trailblazer Award.

She also is a frequent featured speaker at the Human Rights Campaign’s Time to Thrive conferences.

Danny Pino to Appear on Soundtrack for Film Adaptation of Broadway Musical “Dear Evan Hansen”

Danny Pino isn’t just starring in Dear Evan Hansen… He’s also appearing on the soundtrack.

Universal has announced the track list for the film adaptation of the award-winning Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen, with the 47-year-old Cuban American actor among the talents appearing on the album.

Danny Pino

Pino appears on the film’s track “Requiem,” alongside Kaitlyn Dever and Amy Adams.

The soundtrack, which will be available on September 9 – the same day as the film’s theatrical release via Interscope Records, will also feature Sam Smith with Summer WalkerSZACarrie Underwood with Dan + Shay, Finneas, and Tori Kelly. They’ll be performing reimagined versions of the musical’s Tony Award-winning songs and as well as original recordings from the film’s score.

Dear Evan Hansen

Songwriting duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul also wrote original tracks for the movie adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen. The album also features 16 tracks that include recordings by the film’s cast.

“Pasek and Paul’s songs from the Dear Evan Hansen stage play are so amazing and timeless — newly recorded by our film’s cast for the soundtrack (and freshly produced by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, Alex Lacamoire and Dan Romer, and supervised by Jordan Carroll) — and they’re now also complemented by two new original songs written for the film (with one of them co-written and performed in the film by Amandla Stenberg),” Mike Knobloch, president of global film music and publishing at Universal Pictures, tells Billboard.

Pino portrays Larry Mora in the film.

 

Universal to Release Michelle Rodriguez’s “Fast and Furious 10” Next Easter

Michelle Rodriguez can expect a furious Easter…

Universal has set a release date of April 7, 2023, for Fast and Furious 10, starring the 43-year-old Puerto Rican and Dominican American actress.

Michelle Rodriguez

That returns the Fast & Furious franchise to its Easter weekend stomping ground where F7the highest grossing title in the series was launched in 2015 to $147.1M domestic, and ended at $353M domestic, $1.5 billion global.

Universal followed with Fate of the Furious in 2017, which notched the third biggest global debut of all-time at $541.9M (before ending at $1.2 billion worldwide).

Vin Diesel is expected to announce the title at some point in the future on social media.

Universal’s F9released on a theatrical window, is the highest grossing movie during the pandemic around the world with $681.5M. The film was the first Hollywood title during the Covid-19 era to surpass $500M overseas this past weekend. F9 repped series filmmaker Justin Lin’s return to the IP after an eight year absence in the director’s chair.

No other casting confirmations or plot lines are known about the tenth film in the franchise, but there’s a lot of speculation that Diesel, Jordan Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Michelle Rodriguez and Jason Statham are returning.

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.

Aimee Garcia to Star on Season 2 of Hulu’s “Woke”

Aimee Garcia is officially woke

The 42-year-old Puerto Rican and Mexican American actress has joined the cast of Woke.

Aimee Garcia

The Hulu series, co-created by Keith Knight and Marshall Todd, centers on Keef Knight (Lamorne Morris), an African-American cartoonist who finds himself on the verge of mainstream success when an unexpected incident changes his life. With a newfound consciousness, Keef must navigate the new voices and ideas challenging him, all without setting fire to everything he’s already built.

In the comedy’s second season, Garcia will play Laura Salgado, a likable but formidable self-made Silicon Valley venture capitalist who is interested in working with Knight.

Garcia is currently appearing as Ella Lopez on Netflix’s Lucifer and recently voiced the character of Jodie Tartleton for Hulu series Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. After wrapping Lucifer’s sixth and final season, she co-wrote a sequel to 47 Ronin for Universal, in concert with New York Times bestselling author AJ Mendez. Garcia has also penned a Wonder Woman Black & Gold comic for DC, which will be released in August.

She also recently wrapped Holiday in Santa Fe, a TV movie in which she appears opposite Mario Lopez, and Richard Grey’s feature Murder at Emigrant Gulch, which also stars Richard Dreyfuss and Gabriel Byrne. This fall, the actress will star in Match Me If You Can, a romantic comedy that she also exec produced.

On the television side, Garcia’s other credits include Rush HourDexterVegasGeorge Lopez and more.

She has been part of the voice cast of the 2019 animated adaptation of The Addams Family, as well as Elizabeth Chomko’s What They Had and José Padilha’s Robocop.

Jennifer Lopez to Star in Netflix’s Sci-Fi Thriller “Atlas”

Jennifer Lopez will be fighting to save the world…

The 51-year-old Puerto Rican superstar will star in and produce the Netflix sci-fi thriller Atlas.

Jennifer Lopez

The film will be directed by Brad Peyton, with Aron Eli Coleite is writing the most recent draft of the script based off Leo Sardarian’s original script.

Joby Harold and Tory Tunnell will produce for Safehouse Pictures along with Peyton and Jeff Fierson for ASAP Entertainment, as well as Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Benny Medina joining Lopez to produce through Nuyorican Productions.

The film follows Atlas, a woman fighting for humanity in a future where an AI soldier has determined the only way to end war is to end humanity. To outthink this rogue AI, Atlas must work with the one thing she fears most — another AI.

“I’m so honored to be working with Jennifer, Elaine and the rest of the team at Nuyorican Productions along with our partners Joby and Tory at Safehouse,” Peyton said. “Having the chance to direct Jennifer in the title role of this movie is a dream come true, as I know she’ll bring the incredible strength, depth and authenticity we’ve all come to admire from her work. Furthermore, Jeff and I are so excited to be back working with Scott, Ori and the entire team at Netflix. They have been nothing short of amazing to work with and we are blessed to have the opportunity to make another movie on the service.”

The film falls under the newly announced creative partnership between Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions and Netflix where Lopez, producing partner Goldsmith-Thomas and longtime manager Medina will produce a slate of films, television series, scripted and unscripted content, with an emphasis on projects that support diverse female actors, writers and filmmakers.

The first two announced projects both starring Lopez include The Mother, which is directed by Niki Carpo, and The Cipher, based on the novel by Isabella Maldonado.

Lopez can be seen next in the Universal rom com Marry Me opposite Owen Wilson and also has the Lionsgate action comedy Shotgun Wedding. Both films come out in 2022.