Tanya Saracho to Make Film Directorial Debut with Adaptation of Her Off Broadway Play “Mala Hierba”

Tanya Saracho is in the (bad) weeds…

The Mexican-American actress, playwright, dramaturge, screenwriter and Vida creator is bringing her 2014 Off Broadway play Mala Hierba to the big screen, and she’ll be directing the film adaptation of her acclaimed project.

Tanya Saracho

In her film directorial debut, Saracho has teamed up with Anonymous Content to adapt the Texas border town set drama.

The film version of Mala Hierba  will be produced by AC Studios, with Dawn Olmstead, David Levine, and Whitney Dibo overseeing the project for outfit.

Former Vida EP Stephanie Langhoff, and Christine Davila, head of development and production at Saracho’s Ojala Productions, will serve as producers on Mala Hierba.

Originally opening at Second Stage Uptown nearly six years ago, the play unravels the coiffured life of a Lone Star State trophy wife who begins to see the cracks in her life of wealth and privilege as her first and perhaps true love reappears. The possibility of a renewed life together for the two women forces the Liliana character to make a searing decision about what she wants and who she is.

The stage production of Mala Hierba was directed by Jerry Ruiz and starred Marta Milans, Sandra Marquez, and Ana Nogueira in the primary roles.

The union with Anonymous comes just over a couple of weeks after the active Saracho launched the Ojalá Ignition Lab in conjunction with UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group.

Part of the acclaimed playwright and filmmaker’s 2020 inked development deal with the studio, the incubator program for Latinx voices will provide five writers and their own proposed projects with mentoring from experienced showrunners and EPs, including self-described “den mother” Saracho and an extended network to draw on for the future.

Since Vida, which won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, finished its three-season stint on Starz in May 2020, Saracho stayed in Britain during the pandemic to work with musician and Lovesick actor Johnny Flynn for an upcoming project.

Lisa Vidal to Star in the Crime-Action Heist Feature “Shelter”

Lisa Vidal is sheltering…

The 56-year-old Puerto Rican actress will star in the crime-action heist feature Shelter.

Lisa Vidal

Vidal joins a cast that includes Cam Gigandet, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Carlos Miranda and Hollywood newcomer Sasha Merci.

In pre-production, filming is scheduled to start shortly in Los Angeles on the movie about the head of a secret organization who assembles a crew to steal back artwork from a neo-Nazi billionaire oligarch who plundered it during World War II.

Produced by Jolene Rodriguez of Broken English productions and financed by Ruben IslasGrandave Capital, the film is an original screenplay by Michael Corcoran, directed by Anthony Nardolillo.

“I’m thrilled to work with such a talented group. I’ve followed many of their careers and to make a movie with them is such a privilege. Shelter is a great example of taking any script and making it inclusive. It takes effort but it’s possible and it matters,” said Rodriguez.

Vidal has starred on ABC’s The Baker and The BeautyBET TV series Being Mary Jane and Grey’s Anatomy.

Ortiz will star in her fifth season of Shondaland’s ABC series Station 19 after a successful run in Fox’s Rosewood and a consequent role in Shooter.

Miranda will join the cast of ABC’s Station 19 as a series regular in the coming season and has had recurring roles in Amazon Original series Bosch and Comedy Central’s Ana as well as being a series regular in Starz series Vida.

Merci recently starred in the HBO feature film De Lo Mio.

Roberta Colindrez to Star in Amazon’s Film “Cassandro,” About The Liberace of Lucha Libre

Roberta Colindrez is preparing for the Lucha of her life…

The 35-year-old Mexican actress will star opposite Gael Garcia Bernal in his Amazon film about “The Liberace of Lucha Libre”, Cassandro.

Roberta Colindrez

Colindrez will play best friends with Bernal’s Saúl Armendáriz as she finds community in the Lucha Libre world training young fighters.

The film, produced by Ted Hope and Todd Black, is shooting in Mexico City.

Cassandro, directed by Oscar and Emmy-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams, tells the true story of Armendáriz, a gay amateur wrestler from El Paso who rises to international stardom after he creates the “exotico” character Cassandro, the “Liberace of Lucha Libre,” and in the process upends not just the macho wrestling world but also his own life.

Armendáriz at the age of 15 quit school and began training for Lucha Libre, beginning his professional wrestling career in 1988 under the mask as Mister Romano. Ultimately he would abandon the character and take on the exotico character of Baby Sharon. Exoticos are male wrestlers who dress in drag.

Colindrez is best known for her work in the Tony award winning musical Fun Home as well as her stand-out roles in Amazon’s I Love Dick, FX’s Mrs. America, Starz’s Vida, and HBO’s The Deuce.

Colindrez will next star in the Amazon series, A League of Their Own

Vico Ortiz to Star in HBO Max’s Upcoming Pirate Series “Our Flag Means Death”

Vico Ortiz is about to batten down the hatches

The non-binary Puerto Rican actor, drag king, activist and performer extraordinaire will star in HBO Max’s upcoming period comedy Our Flag Means Death.

Vico Ortiz

Ortiz joins a cast of newcomers that includes Kristian Nairn, Nathan Foad, Samson Kayo, Rory Kinnear and Con O’Neill.

The series hails from Taika Waititi, David Jenkins, Garrett Basch and Dan Halsted.

Ortiz is set to portray Bonifacia.

The series, which stars Rhys Darby and Waititi, based loosely on the true adventures of Stede Bonnet, a pampered aristocrat who abandoned his life of privilege to become a pirate in the early 18th century.

Bonnet was a moderately wealthy land owner who later turned to a life of crime as a pirate. He bought a sailing vessel, named it Revenge and traveled with his paid crew along the Eastern Seaboard of what is now the United States, capturing other vessels and burning other Barbadian ships.

Darby plays Bonnet, while Waititi, who is also directing the pilot episode and will executive-produce, will play Blackbeard, history’s most feared and revered pirate.

Ortiz’s previous credits include Indebted, Vida and Everything’s Gonna Be Okay.

Annie Gonzalez Signs with Innovative Artists 

Annie Gonzalez has new representation…

The Chicana actress has signed with Innovative Artists for representation.

Annie Gonzalez

Gonzalez plays Lidia on Netflix hit series Gentefied, which is heading into its second season. Her other recent credits include the role of Amanda on Starz’s Vida, as well as Showtime’s Shameless and Amazon’s Good Girls Revolt.

Gonzalez, a East Los Angeles native, grew up singing with the band Quetzal, which has been a noted force in the Chicano movement.

She was one of the original dancers on Jamm X Kids for the WB and has been appearing on TV since the age of 10. She was recently cast in the series regular role of Jessie on ABC’s comedy pilot Bucktown, opposite Jane Lynch and Nicole Richie.

She also has a YouTube page with videos dedicated to her thoughts on spirituality, self-love, peace, positivity and living life as a Latina.

Melissa Barrera to Star in the Netflix Survival Drama Series “Breathe”

Will Melissa Barrera make it through the wilderness?

The 30-year-old Mexican actress and singer has been cast as the lead in BreatheNetflix’s one-hour drama series from Blindspot creator Martin Gero and writer-executive producer Brendan Gall, and Warner Bros. Television.

Melissa Barrera

Barrera, who rose to acclaim in Starz’s Latinx series Vida, will portray a lone woman who must battle the elements and odds to survive after her plane crashes in the middle of the Canadian wilderness.

Barrera’s Eve is a razor-sharp Manhattan attorney who finds herself profoundly out of her comfort zone when her plane crashes and she must battle for survival.

Gero executive produces via his Quinn’s House production company, along with Gall. Warner Bros. Television is the studio.

Barrera most recently starred as co-lead Lyn in Tanya Saracho’s Vida, which aired for three seasons on Starz.

She next stars in In the Heights, the feature adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical, and also will be seen in a key role in the upcoming Scream 5.

She recently wrapped Sony Pictures Classics’ Carmen, the modern-day reimagining of the classic opera.

Jesse Garcia to Star in the Eva Longoria-Directed “Flamin’ Hot” Film

It’s a flamin’ hot time for Jesse Garcia.

The 38-year-old Mexican American actor and former Quinceañera star has landed the lead role in Eva Longoria’s feature directorial debut Flamin’ Hot from Searchlight Pictures and Franklin Entertainment.

Jesse Garcia

Garcia will play Richard Montanez, the architect of the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto, while Annie Gonzalez of Gentefied will portray his wife, Judy.

Flamin’ Hot tells the true life story of Richard Montanez, the Frito Lay janitor who took inspiration from his Mexican American heritage to create Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, the snack that disrupted the food industry and became a pop culture phenomenon.

Desperate Housewives actress and Telenovela, Grand Hoteland Devious Maids EP Longoria beat out several directors for the job after impressing Franklin and Searchlight with her authentic approach to the project.

“It has been my biggest priority to make sure we are telling Richard Montañez’s story authentically,” said Longoria in a statement. “I am so happy to have two extremely talented and fellow Mexican-Americans on board in these pivotal roles. Jesse and Annie have a deep understanding of our community and will be able to help tell this story of great importance for our culture.”

Also new to Flamin’ Hot is scribe Linda Yvette Chavez who has come aboard for revisions on the Lewis Colick-penned screenplay. Chavez is the creator of Netflix’s Gentefied and she’s also adapting I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter at the streamer for America Ferrera’s upcoming directorial debut.

Garcia appears in the Searchlight Pictures title Under the Same Moon, alongside Kate del Castillo and Ferrera. He has been widely recognized for his role in the highly acclaimed Quinceañera winner of the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. For his performance as Carlos, Garcia was nominated and won the prestigious ALMA Award (American Latino Media Arts) as Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture in 2007. Garcia can also be seen in The Avengers.

Gonzalez is a Chicana actress and East Los Angeles native. She grew up singing with the band Quetzal, (which has been a noted force in the Chicano movement), was one of the original dancers on Jamm X Kids for the WB and has been appearing on TV since the age of 10. She is most known for her roles in Gentefied, Vida, Shameless, and Legion. She was recently cast in the ABC pilot, Bucktown starring opposite Jane Lynch and Nicole Richie. Gonzalez also has a YouTube page with videos dedicated to her thoughts on spirituality, self-love, peace, positivity and living life as a Latina.

Tonatiuh to Star in ABC’s Drama Pilot “Promised Land”

Tonatiuh has landed a promising new role…

The 28-year-old Latino actor, whose real name Tonatiuh Elizarraraz, has been cast as a lead opposite John Ortiz in ABC’s drama pilot Promised Land.

Tonatiuh 

Written by Matt Lopez and directed by Michael CuestaPromised Land is an epic, generation-spanning drama about two Latinx families vying for wealth and power in California’s Sonoma Valley.

Tonatiuh will play Antonio Sandoval, one of five children of the Sandoval family, a wealthy vineyard-owning clan in the Sonoma Valley. Antonio has been living in New York after being cast into exile by his father Joe (Ortiz), but is called back into the fold when the family faces a threat from the outside. Whether Antonio has forgiven or forgotten the treatment he received from his family remains an open question.

In addition to Ortiz, Tonatiuh joins previously announced series regulars Cecilia Suárez as Lettie Sandoval, matriarch of the Sandoval family, Augusto Aguilera as Mateo Sandoval, the hardworking, highly capable general manager of the Heritage Vineyard and stepson to patriarch Joe Sandoval, Mariel Molino as Camila Sandoval, the youngest daughter of the Sandoval family, Christina Ochoa as Veronica Sandoval, the eldest daughter of the Sandovals, as well as Andres Velez Carlos Rincón, a young immigrant who comes to the Heritage Vineyard in search of a better life.

Lopez executive produces with Cuesta and Adam Kolbrenner of Lit Entertainment Group. ABC Signature is the studio.

Tonatiuh is best known for his major recurring role as Marcos on all three seasons of Starz’s Vida. He stars in the indie feature Drunk Bus, alongside Charlie Tahan and Kara Hayward, which premiered virtually at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival. He’s also set to recur in Peacock’s Angelyne alongside Emmy Rossum, who plays the title character.

Annie Gonzalez to Star in ABC Comedy Pilot “Bucktown”

Annie Gonzalez is buck-ed up!

The Latina actress has been cast as a series regular in the ABC comedy pilot Bucktown, from Emily Wilson, Tom Werner and Sara Gilbert and ABC Signature.

Annie Gonzalez

Gonzalez will star opposite Sofia Capanna, Shannon Woodward, Jane Lynch and Nicole Richie.

Written by Wilson and directed by Betsy ThomasBucktown centers on Amy (Woodward), who, after being dumped by her boyfriend and kicked out of her apartment on the eve of a big promotion, finds refuge at her mom’s house in the blue-collar neighborhood where she grew up.

Gonzalez will play Jessie, Amy’s opinionated best friend who works beside her as an assistant at the ad agency.

Gonzalez can currently be seen as Lidia on the hit Netflix series Gentefied. Other recent credits include Starz’s Vida, Showtime’s Shameless and Amazon’s Good Girls Revolt.

Tanya Saracho Launches Her Own Production Company, Ojalá Productions

Tanya Saracho is launching her own production company…

The Mexican actress, playwright and screenwriter, the mastermind behind Starz’s acclaimed series Vida, has launched Ojalá Productions, her newly created production company.

Tanya Saracho

Sarachohas hired a former executive from Warner Bros.’ content studio Stage 13, Christine Dávila, to help her run it.

Dávila has been hired as Head of Development and Production.

The hire comes a little more than three months after Saracho inked a wide-ranging development deal with UCP that also includes the creation of a lab and incubator program for Latinx voices by the activist former playwright and showrunner.

“It is a dream come true to be able to bring such a talented, energetic and accomplished Latina to help me kick off Ojalá,” Saracho told Deadline from the UK. “With Christine’s impeccable taste, undeniable intellect and boundless spirit, the possibilities are endless for us.”

“I’m grateful and truly invigorated to work with such an undeniable voice as Tanya’s,” Dávila said of the producer-writer. ‘Vidawas a game changer and there is a lot more where that came from. She is intentional and unapologetic, and committed to supporting Latinx talent in all aspects of the industry and in the most inclusive way.”

Besides the work the new company will do and Saracho’s participation in the recently launched Untitled Latinx Project group, Ojalá is a supportive amplifier all its own. Roughly translating to “God willing” and brought to Spain by the Moors, Ojalá is one of former playwright Saracho’s favorite words – which makes perfect sense for a new shingle.

It also dives into Dávila’s strengths not only as a creative executive at Stage 13 most recently, but also in her previous involvement as a member of the programming teams at the Sundance Film Festival, the LA Film Festival and the Morelia International Film Festival.

Directly prior to joining the WB pod and overseeing the likes of the Emmy-wining It’s Bruno!, Dávila laid the foundation for the stateside division of the moveable feast that is Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal’s Ambulante documentary festival.

Since the acclaimed Vidaended its three-season run on Starz this spring, Saracho put on a mask and gloves for protection against COVID-19 and leapt over the Atlantic for a professional sojourn. She’s presently in locked-down London working with musician and Stardust star Johnny Flynn on the Love Story pilot for UCP.

The concept is that the UCP show would focus on a single potentially heartbreaking tale a season, with the first installment centering on longtime Latinx friends who become entangled with the same musician.