Tanya Saracho Teams Up with America Ferrera & Gloria Calderón Kellett to Launch DEAR Hollywood to Bring Greater Representation of Latinx Voices

There’s a new project near and DEAR to Tanya Saracho’s heart…

The Mexican-American actress, playwright, dramaturge and screenwriter has teamed up with America Ferrera and Gloria Calderón Kellett joined the Untitled Latinx Project and HARNESS that they respectively co-founded to create DEAR Hollywood.

Tanya Saracho

Saracho, Ferrera and Calderon Kellet, three of the most dynamic creators in Hollywood, brought together two of the most preeminent advocacy organizations to further advance Latinx representation and equity in the industry.

With the acronym standing for Demanding Equal Access and Representation, DEAR Hollywood aims to bring greater representation of Latinx voices, stories, talent and creativity on both sides of the camera and on set and in the corner offices in the film and TV industry.

Planting the flags of equity and education, and set for a soft launch this month, the newly minted organization today unveiled its self-declared, and what should be self-evident, “five pillars”:

  1. No stories about us without us
    2.Greenlight our projects
    3. Represent all aspects of our lives and culture
    4. Put a limit on repeating levels
    5. Hire us for non-Latinx projects

To reach those more than reasonable goals, the plan is that over the next year, DEAR Hollywood will liaison with at least five studios and networks, which means streamers too, to secure a commitment to the pillars above as a pathway to systemic and evolutionary shift in the way the industry sees, treats and works with the Latinx community. A varied community, who, it might be noted, make up a not insignificant portion of the U.S. population, and hence significant consumers of the media industry.

“The entertainment industry has admired the problem of Latinx exclusion for long enough,” Ferrera told Deadline of the impetus behind DEAR Hollywood with the Vida and One Day At a Time EPs. “It is time for all of us to turn our good intentions into real action and build true solutions that empower and resource Latinx storytellers,” the Superstore star added on the last day of Hispanic Heritage Month.

A long-time activist, Ferrera co-founded HARNESS in 2016 with Wilmer Valderrama, and Ryan Piers Williams with the goal of using the power and platform of the big and small screen to foster a more just world.

“The rich talent and multi-dimensional experiences within our community are more than worthy of being reflected in their authenticity and full humanity,” Ferrera noted of the goals of the new group. “There is great opportunity for our entire industry in the genuine empowerment of Latinx creators. I am thrilled and honored that Harness is partnering with Untitled Latinx Project to incubate and launch this incredible creator-led initiative to uplift Latinx communities in the stories we see on screen and hire more Latinx talent throughout the entire film and TV industry.”

“It has been one year since we wrote the letter to Hollywood to kick off this initiative and frankly, we haven’t seen the type of response we had hoped for,” exclaimed ULP leaders Saracho and Calderón Kellett bluntly Friday.

“While announcements of diversity, inclusion and equity programs abound, without intentionality and clearly defined action steps, they have little value,” the showrunning duo added. “We are thrilled to work with Harness and eager to collaborate with industry leaders and partners, so we can all move the needle towards Latine inclusion and representation together.”

As well as Saracho and Calderón Kellett, the 2019 formed ULP’s high profile membership includes Leah Benavides-Rodriguez, Tawnya Benavides-Bhattacharya, Linda Yvette Chávez, Valentina Garza, Jenniffer Gómez, Julia Ahumada Grob, Silvia Olivas, Evangeline Ordaz, Sierra Teller Ornelas, Carolina Paiz, Ilana Peña, Dailyn Rodriguez, Gladys Rodriguez, Lindsey Villarreal, Debby Wolfe and Michal Zebede.

Dailyn Rodriguez Adapting “Tropicana Nights: The Life and Times of the Legendary Cuban Nightclub” for Television

Dailyn Rodriguez is preparing for some hot Havana nights…

The Cuban American television writer and producer and Queen of the South showrunner is teaming up with Keshet Studios, to adapt Tropicana Nights: The Life and Times of the Legendary Cuban Nightclub by Rosa Lowinger and Ofelia Fox.

Dailyn Rodriguez

Tropicana Nights, which is in the vein of Moulin Rouge, Cabaret and Casino, tells the story of the notorious Cuban nightclub in the 1950s, when the club provided a fun, vibrant, wildly entertaining safe haven for those looking to escape the political unrest and persecution on the streets of Havana.

It centers on the love story and partnership between the club’s owners Martin and Ofelia Fox, who tirelessly fought to preserve their paradise under the stars against various threats, including rival club owners, the mafia and Cuban revolutionaries.

The El Tropicano night club, which opened in 1939 and is still open today, played host to greats such as Nat King Cole and party goers included Marlon Brando, Ernest Hemingway, Rita Hayworth and J.F.K.

Keshet Studios’ president Peter Traugott tells Deadline that the project came out of a general meeting with Rodriguez, who has also written on series including Fox’s Fantasy Island reboot and ABC’s Ugly Betty.

“It’s a spectacularly beautiful space that still exists today. But when you peel it back a bit, [the Tropicana] was this kind of safe-haven for people who didn’t fit in, people from all over the world –people of different colours, sexualities, genders and whatever was going in beyond the walls was left behind,” he said. “It’s a really crazy love story at the centre with this backdrop and at it centre its exploring lots of issues that are still relevant.

Rodriguez added, “I’ve wanted to write about the Tropicana for years. My mother used to tell me amazing stories about the shows she and my father saw there, so this dynamic, special world is close to my heart.”

Keshet Studios is now taking it out to market.

Sofia Lama to Recur on Season 4 of USA Network’s “Queen of the South”

Sofia Lama is South-bound…

The 31-year-old Mexican actress has landed a recurring role on the upcoming fourth season of USA Network’s Queen of the South, from Fox 21 Television Studios and UCP.

Sofia Lama

Starring Alice BragaQueen of the South is based on the bestselling book La Reina del Sur by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. It tells the powerful story of Teresa Mendoza (Braga), a woman who is forced to run from the Mexican cartel and seek refuge in America. 

In Season 3, Teresa struck out on her own, determined to build a new empire for herself. But as enemies old and new closed in, she realized that being queen would require more work — and more sacrifice — than she ever imagined.

Lama will portray Emilia, Boaz Jimenez’s (Joseph T. Campos) nervous & frightened former fiancee with a secret that could cause things to turn ugly fast.

Dailyn Rodriguez and Ben Lobato will serve as co-showrunners for Season 4 and will executive produce alongside David T. Friendly.

Lama’s recent credits include guest-starring roles on NCIS: Los AngelesChicago P.D.and Designated Survivor.