The late Oscar “Zeta” Acosta’s life story will be getting the Hollywood treatment…
Half-Mexican American television writer/producer Natalie Chaidez has acquired the film and television rights to the late Chicano attorney, politician, novelist and activist’s novels Autobiography of a Brown Buffaloand The Revolt of the Cockroach People.
She will executive produce and supervise writing for an upcoming television series.
Chaidez is developing the project with Joe Loya and Phillip Rodriguez.
Acosta was a Mexican American activist in the Chicano Civil Rights Movement who disappeared in Mexico in 1974, a year after his second novel The Revolt of the Cockroach People was released and is presumed dead. He is also famously known for his friendship with Hunter S. Thomson, who characterized Acosta as Samoan attorney Dr. Gonzo in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
“Oscar Zeta Acosta has been a passion of mine since I first encountered his books in an East LA library. Acosta’s story is one of the deepest and cinematic stories in the Latinx canon. I’m thrilled to bring his story to life,” Chaidez told Deadline in an exclusive statement.
The televison series will feature elements from both of his published novels, the first is loosely based on his early years, and the second tells real stories from his later years during the Chicano movement while changing the identities of those involved. It’s currently being shopped around to networks and streamers.
Chaidez is currently co-showrunner on the second season of HBO Max’s The Flight Attendantalongside Steve Yockey currently in production. She was previously an executive producer and writer on USA Network’s Queen of the Southand served as creator and executive producer of the Syfy drama Hunters.
The Chicana actress has signed with Innovative Artists for representation.
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’sVida, as well as Showtime’sShameless 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.
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.
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 Hotel, and 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 Daughterat 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 Kidsfor 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.
The Latino actor has landed a recurring role on Netflix’s dramedy Gentefied.
Uriza joins a list of new recurring cast additions that includes Clarissa Thibeaux, Ivana Rojas and Melinna Bobadilla.
The series hails from Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez, the duo behind the Sundance Film Festival darling Gente-fied: The Digital Series, and Macro.
Created by Chicano first-gen writers Lemus and Chávez, Gentefied is a half-hour dramatic comedy adapted from the 2017 Sundance digital series of the same name. Described as a badass bilingual series about family, community, brown love, and the displacement that disrupts it all, Gentefied follows three Mexican-American cousins who struggle to chase the American Dream, even while that same dream threatens the things they hold most dear: their neighborhood, their immigrant grandfather, and the family taco shop. Set in a rapidly changing Los Angeles, the dramedy navigates important themes like identity, class, and balancing insta-fame with translating memes for their parents.
Karrie Martin, JJ Soria, Carlos Santos and Joaquín Cosio star.
Uriza will play Ernesto Morales, Pop’s estranged, oldest son. By any measure, the personification of the American Dream, Pop has never forgiven him for moving his family from East LA to the calmer suburbs of Boise, Idaho. Unlike the rest of the family, Ernesto is the only one who can stand up to Pop, as their relationship reaches a boiling point.
Rojas will portray Sarai Damian. An up-and coming Chef, Sarai is career-focused, hella ambitious, and a truth-teller. She knows what she wants and she isn’t willing to compromise her dream for anyone. We meet her as she is about to be catapulted into her biggest career high, but it comes with a big price to pay.
Bobadilla will play Melinna Barragan, a fierce non-profit lawyer, she’s down for her community, even if it means working pro-bono. If your prima with the big hoops who always got into fights got her law degree at ELAC – that would be Melinna. Passionate and fierce, she treats her clients like family.
Uriza’s credits include Magnum P.I., Hawaii Five-O, Rambo: Last Blood, The Last Ship and Snowfall.
Eva Longoria’s hoping to bring the Chicano story and struggle to the small screen.
The 45-year-old Mexican American actress and former Desperate Housewives star has joined forces with Natalie Chaidez and Forest Whitaker to develop the family drama Chicano, inspired by Richard Vasquez’s novel of the same name, for ABC.
Written by Chaidez, known for her work on 12 Monkeys, HuntersandThe Sarah Connor Chronicles, the drama is a multi-generational saga about the Sandovals, a Mexican-American family that immigrates to Los Angeles in pursuit of the American Dream.
It will follow the struggles and triumphs of the Sandoval family from 1920 through present and explores the question of what it means to be American.
20th Century Fox Television is the studio on the project, which is being produced in association with Longoria and Ben Spector’s UnbeliEVAble Entertainment and Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi’s Significant Productions.
ABC has handed the project a script and additional development material plus penalty commitment. Chaidez, Longoria, Spector, Whitaker, Yang Bongiovi serve as executive producers.
Development of the project began with one of the executive producers, Doug Pray, working with Sylvia Vasquez, daughter of Chicano author Richard Vasquez, while Chaidez is a third generation Mexican-American whose own family’s immigration journey closely parallels the story told in Chicano.
“Chicano is just the first of many projects that we expect from Eva and Ben as we look to ramp up our slate of Latinx programming. As part of our studio family, they are valuable partners in helping us expand our commitment to compelling stories for underrepresented communities,” said Karey Burke, president, ABC Entertainment. “With Forest, Nina, Natalie and Doug also at the helm of this project, we know we have the perfect powerhouse team to bring this Mexican-American family’s story to life and cultivate the next generation of Latinx storytelling.”
The project includes the participation of famed photographer Estevan Oriol and iconic Los Angeles-based artist Mister Cartoon aka Mark Machado.
Michael Connolly, under his Mad Hatter Entertainment banner, brought the elements together.
Lopez is in final talks to star and executive produce the project through his Travieso Productions, with Javier Rodriguez writing the pilot. Oriol and Cartoon will executive-produce.
“I’m thrilled to be teaming up with Cartoon, Estevan, Jada and Michael for this series and developing a show with STXtv,” Lopez said. “Cartoon and Estevan are the DaVincis of our community; they have been the street chroniclers of our uniquely Chicano story … our American story. I’m looking forward to working with them and the rest of the team to expand their canvas to capture the diverse stories and people that make our culture and community so amazing, colorful and vibrant.”
This authentic L.A.-based series examines a family coming to terms with the falsehoods of the American Dream and their ability to defy expectations.
“I want to create a vision of Los Angeles inspired by my tattoos and murals that enriches and showcases the culture, opening it up to new audiences,” Cartoon said. “Putting together the dream team of Latino street culture and a collection of creative minds headed up by George Lopez, who is born and raised in L.A. and is an icon of our community. George’s experience and sense of humor acts as a foundation for this team.”
Oriol and Cartoon’s longtime collaborators Mark Suroff and Marco Valadez, who produced LA Originals, also will serve as executive producers with Connolly.
“I’m looking forward to developing this with Cartoon, George, Jada and Michael,” said Oriol. “STXtv truly gets what it takes to develop a real show that can only be made in LA. This is the dream team. Period. It doesn’t get more authentic than this and I’m proud and privileged to be invited on this ride.”
He previously starred in Lopez for TV Land and Saint George for FX. And he had a talk show that ran from 2009-11. While his hit comedy George Lopez, whichended in 2007, ran on ABC, STXtv will zero in on buyers in the cable and streaming markets.
Cartoon is L.A.’s legendary tattoo artist, designer and cultural icon whose stylish and influential global work has been featured on countless celebrities including Kobe Bryant, Eminem, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Beyoncé, Lewis Hamilton, Snoop Dogg and many others. Cartoon also designed the logos for Cypress Hill and Eminem’s Shady Records, and his résumé includes cutting-edge designs for Nike, the LA Clippers and T-Mobile and others.
Oriol is an internationally celebrated photographer, director and urban lifestyle entrepreneur. Beginning as a tour manager for Cypress Hill and House of Pain, he developed a passion for photography as he documented life on the road to become hip-hop’s best-known chronicler; his work has been showcased in bestselling books, select galleries, and institutions, including the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives,Mesa Contemporary Art Center, Petersen Automotive Museum, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’ and New York’s Art in the Streets exhibit. He has photographed Eminem, Kim Kardashian, Cypress Hill, Dennis Hopper, Blink-182, Forest Whitaker, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent, and Danny Trejo, among many others. He most recently executive produced the film Lowridersand directed the hit Netflix documentary L.A. Originals.
L.A. Originalswas critically acclaimed and extremely successful, introducing new fans to the world to Oriol and Cartoon.
The 32-year-old Mexican-American actor has been cast in the 10-episode half-hour Latinx dramedy Gentefied.
Soria joins a main cast that includes Karrie Martin, Carlos Santos and Joaquín Cosio.
The project hails from Gente-fied: The Digital Series creators Marvin Lemusand Linda Yvette Chávez, showrunner Monica Macer, America Ferrera, Teri Weinbergand Macro.
Written by Lemus and Chávez, Gentefied is adapted from the web series which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
Described as a badass bilingual series about family, community, brown love, and the displacement that disrupts it all, Gentefiedis about three Mexican-American cousins (Martin, Soria, Santos) who struggle to chase the American Dream, even while that same dream threatens the things they hold most dear: their neighborhood, their immigrant grandfather (Cosio), and the family taco shop. Set in a rapidly changing Los Angeles, the Spanglish dramedy will navigate important themes like identity, class, and balancing insta-fame with translating memes for their parents. But most importantly,Gentefiedwill settle once and for all how to pronounce Latinx.
Martin will play Ana Morales, a sarcastic, woke, blunt, and endearing, queer artist. Ana is a Chicana who leads with her heart and fights for her art with untethered conviction. She loves her abuelo and her entire family almost to a fault.
Soria will portray Erik, a wisecracking, well-read, charismatic, but tough homie with a heart of gold. He’s a high school dropout, but there isn’t a book in the local library Erik hasn’t read. He’s a reluctant dreamer trying to find his way back to himself. But his loyalty to his grandfather who took him in keeps him from putting time into himself or Lidia, the love of his life.
Santos is Chris, the prodigal grandson, a fun-loving, know-it-all, chef-in-training. Chris is a homegrown Boyle Heights boy who moved to Idaho at a young age and was abruptly introduced to Weezer and cow-tipping. His cousins call him guero for acting and looking like a white boy, which always leaves him wondering if he’ll ever be Mexican enough for anyone.
Cosio is Pop, a hard-working, stoic, but warm, old-fashioned ranchero and the rock of the Morales family. Though gruff with his Tejanaand potty-mouth (“cabron” is his favorite word!), Pop has a huge heart, but that also means a lot of heartache trying to protect them.
“We are thrilled to have gathered a lead cast that captures the unique nuance of the chisme, chistes, and chingaderas that we grew up with in our multi-generational, bilingual, immigrant families,” said Lemus and Chavez. “Joaquin, JJ, Carlos, and Karrie are the abuelo, primos, y prima we shot the shit with as kids, the cousins we partied with, and the grandpa we cried with. They are the Morales family and we can’t wait for everyone to start sending them invites to the carne asada!”
Lemus directs the Netflix production.
A love letter to the Latinx and Boyle Heights communities, creators Lemus and Chavez hope Gentefiedwill let their little cousins rocking Adidas, hoops, and big dreams see themselves on the big screen in ways they only dreamed of growing up.
Martin has co-starred on shows like Pretty Little Liars, The Arrangement, The Purgeand will soon be appearing in David Ayer’s film The Tax Collector.
Soria most recently appeared in the series regular role of Pete Ramos on Crackle series The Oath, and has recurred on TNT’s Animal Kingdom and Freeform’s The Fosters. On the film side, Soria can next be seen in the indie John Henry alongside Terry Crews.
CBS Diversity Showcase alum Santos has appeared on CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, truTV’s Adam Ruins Everything and Seeso’s Bajillion Dollar Properties. He also was the lead in the 2013 Slamdance comedy horror feature Ghost Team One and guest-starred on Fox’s The Last Man on Earth.
Cosio’s credits include the role of Angel de Plata on FX’s The Strain and Don Neto in Narcos: Mexico.He’s returning for Season 2 of Narcos: Mexicoand will be seen in a starring role in Amazon’s new series CDMX.On the film side, he’ll next be seen in Emilio Portes’ horror thriller Beelzebuth,as well as the sequel to Matando Cabos, where he’ll return to portray the title character.