Rosie Perez Appears in WarnerMedia’s COVID-19 Vaccine PSAs

Rosie Perez is helping to raise awareness about the COVD-19 vaccine…

WarnerMedia is debuting a number of coronavirus vaccine PSAs featuring stars from their series, including the 56-year-old Puerto Rican actress, choreographer and community activist.

Rosie Perez

The public service announcements were created in partnership with the Ad Council, in support of their ongoing COVID-19 Vaccine Education campaigns.

The “It’s Up To You” campaign will air across all WarnerMedia and AT&T-owned cable, digital, streaming and social platforms starting next week.

Meanwhile, the Ad Council will be sharing the PSAs across their own network of distribution platforms.

The PSAs were written and directed by the internal creative team at Warner Media’s 10th Street Studios, which previously created the “Mask Up America” campaign.

In support of COVID-19 safety precautions, each of the campaign’s videos, which include Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Daveed Diggs, was produced remotely.

“WarnerMedia is proud to work with the Ad Council to continue to grow awareness and drive vaccine adoption,” said Dennis Williams, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, WarnerMedia. “Having Sanjay, Rosie, and Daveed help us create and build a conversation around getting vaccinated will not only inspire action, but also save lives.”

“We continue to be so grateful to the WarnerMedia team for their commitment to educating Americans on protecting themselves and their families from COVID-19,” added Heidi Arthur, Chief Campaign Development Officer, Ad Council. “We know that many Americans have questions about the vaccine, and are so thankful to Sanjay, Rosie, and Daveed for helping educate and inspire Americans to get the answers to their questions so they can make an informed choice about vaccination for themselves and for their families.”

Rafael Casal to Reprise His Role in Starz’s TV Adaptation of His Acclaimed Film “Blindspotting”

Rafael Casal is ready for a repeat performance…

The 35-year-old part Spanish and Cuban American writer, performer and producer will reprise his role in Starz’s television adaptation of Blindspotting, the 2018 feature film from Casal and Daveed Diggs.

Rafael Casal

The series, a spinoff of the film written and produced by Casal and Diggs, is being turned into a half-hour dramedy. Jasmine Cephas Jones, who starred in the Lionsgate film, will reprise her role and also will serve as a producer. Casal serves as showrunner.

The series centers on Ashley (Cephas Jones), who was nipping at the heels of a middle-class life in Oakland until Miles (Casal), her partner of 12 years and father of their son, suddenly is incarcerated, leaving her to navigate a chaotic and humorous existential crisis when she’s forced to move in with Miles’ mother and half-sister.

Benjamin Earl Turner, Atticus Woodward, Jaylen Barron and Candace Nicholas-Lippman will also join the cast of the eight-part series. Casal will appear on a recurring basis, while Justin Chu Cary, who starred in the film, will play Rob.

Produced by Lionsgate Television, the series will start production in Oakland and Los Angeles.

“Diggs and I are thrilled to continue our partnership with Lionsgate by expanding the Blindspotting world as a series on Starz,” Casal said. “This story, the incredible cast and the production are a dream. We are making the kind of show we have long hoped to see on television, centered around just some of the amazing kinds of characters the Bay Area has to offer.”

Added Diggs: “Figuring out a way to bring The Bay to life in a half-hour comedy space has been so rewarding. Ultimately, this is a story about how a broken prison system affects all of us and, like the film, we’re using comedy to talk about very real systemic effects in the country with the largest prison population in the world.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda & His Hamilton Cast Mates to Reunite for Joe Biden Presidential Campaign Fundraiser

Lin-Manuel Miranda is doing his bidding for Biden…

The 40-year-old Puerto Rican Tony Award-winning composer, lyricist, actor, singer/rapper, producer and playwright and the original cast of his hit musical Hamilton will reunite this week for a fundraiser for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, the latest pop culture themed virtual event.

Lin-Manuel Miranda's final Hamilton curtain call

The campaign announced that among those participating will be Miranda, Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson, Javier Muñoz, Leslie Odom, Jr., Okieriete Onaodowa and Phillipa Soo. Director Thomas Kail will moderate a Q&A, and it will be followed by a special performance.

The event will take place at 9:00 pm ET on Friday, October 16 with no ticket amount. Proceeds will go to the Biden Victory Fund.

The cast of Hamilton also performed in 2016 for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Democrats have been drawing on cast reunions as a way to raise small-dollar contributions. The Wisconsin Democratic Party has hosted recent virtual reunions of the cast of The Princess Bride and Veep.

HBO Max is debuting a West Wing reunion on October 15 to benefit When We All Vote, the get-out-the-vote effort led by Michelle Obama.

Starz Orders Television Spinoff of Rafael Casal & Daveed Diggs’ Film “Blindspotting”

There’s more blindspotting in Rafael Casal’s future.

Starz has ordered a television spinoff of the 35-year-old half-Latino writer, performer and producer and Daveed Diggs’ feature Blindspotting to series.

Rafael Casal

Jasmine Cephas Jones, who starred in the original Lionsgate film, will reprise her role and will also serve as a producer.

The film, which was released in 2018, is being spun off as a half-hour dramedy with Casal serving as showrunner in addition to having a recurring role.

Casal and Diggs wrote and produced the feature, as well as starred in it, and will now write and executive produce the television series.

The series centers on Ashley, played by Cephas Jones, who was nipping at the heels of a middle class life in Oakland until Miles, her partner of 12 years and father of their son, is suddenly incarcerated, leaving her to navigate a chaotic and humorous existential crisis when she’s forced to move in with Miles’ mother and half-sister.

“Let us put you up on game, bruh. No description will encompass the complexity of a ‘Blindspotting’ series, ya dig? So just get juiced, ‘cuz it stars Jasmine Cephas Jones, it’s set in Oakland and we’re making it, so it’s lightweight finna to be hella good and the soundtrack will indeed slap. Oh Boy,” said Casal and Diggs.

“Rafael, Daveed and Jasmine created a beautiful film that we believe will translate perfectly into a compelling series for Starz,” added Christina Davis, President, Original Programming, Starz. “This provocative and powerful narrative couldn’t be more timely, and in picking up the story from Ashley’s perspective, we will be able to shine a light on so many of the important social issues that the characters and the audience continue to grapple with.”

Disney Bringing Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hit Broadway Musical “Hamilton” to the Big Screen

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadwayhit is heading to the big screen. 

Disney will release a feature film of the original Tony Award-winning stage musical Hamilton, created by the 40-year-old Puerto Rican composer/lyricist, actor and creator, in the U.S. and Canada on October 15, 2021.

Hamilton

The studio is teaming with Miranda, Jeffrey Sellerand Thomas Kail on the project, which is billed as a “leap forward in the art of ‘live capture.’” It explains the live capture method as “combining the best elements of live theater and film,” resulting in “a cinematic stage performance that is a wholly new way to experience Hamilton.”

Producers for this version of Hamilton include Miranda, Seller and Kail, who also directs. 

The film was shot in June 2016 at the Richard Rodgers Theatreand reports began circulatingin 2018 that bidders were circling the film version of the stage production. Studios had to pledge not to release it until at least 2020.

The original Broadway cast of the record-smashing show will appear in the new film. Cast members include Miranda as Alexander HamiltonDaveed Diggsas Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas JeffersonRenée Elise Goldsberryas Angelica Schuyler; and Leslie Odom, Jr.as Aaron Burr. Also due to star are Christopher Jacksonas George WashingtonJonathan Groffas King GeorgePhillipa Sooas Eliza Hamilton; and Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler/Maria ReynoldsOkieriete Onaodowanas Hercules Mulligan/James Madison; and Anthony Ramosas John Laurens/Philip Hamilton.

“Lin-Manuel Miranda created an unforgettable theater experience and a true cultural phenomenon, and it was for good reason that Hamiltonwas hailed as an astonishing work of art. All who saw it with the original cast will never forget that singular experience,” Disney CEO Bob Igersaid. “And we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share this same Broadway experience with millions of people around the world.”

Miranda, who starred in an update of Mary Poppinsin 2018, affirmed his connection with Disney. “I fell in love with musical storytelling growing up with the legendary Howard AshmanAlan MenkenDisney collaborations – The Little MermaidBeauty and The BeastAladdin,” he said. “I’m so proud of what Tommy Kail has been able to capture in this filmed version of Hamilton – a live theatrical experience that feels just as immediate in your local movie theater. We’re excited to partner with Disney to bring the original Broadway company of Hamilton to the largest audience possible.”

Kail added, “We are thrilled for fans of the show, and new audiences across the world, to experience what it was like on stage – and in the audience – when we shot this. … We wanted to give everyone the same seat, which is what this film can provide.”

According to sources, Disney beat out other suitors and paid $75 million for worldwide rights to the show that won 11 Tony Awards in 2016, as well as the Pulitzer Prizefor Drama. Disney won the deal with a commitment for a wide global theatrical release for the 2 hour, 40 minute movie, which was shot two weeks before the original cast left.

Disney Channel Releases Trailer for Second & Final Season of Myrna Velasco’s “Star Wars Resistance”

Myrna Velasco is headed back to space…

The Disney Channel has released the trailer for the second and final season of its Emmy-nominated animated series Star Wars Resistance, featuring the Mexican American actress as part of the voice cast. 

Myrna Velasco

A suspicious Hutt, ruthless bounty hunters, and Supreme Leader Kylo Ren himself are among the Jedi universe threats that await the intrepid heroes of Star Wars Resistance this season.

Star Wars Resistance returns on October 6 on the Disney Channel and via DisneyNow with an interstellar adventure that bridges between the events depicted in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the action in the upcoming feature film Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (December 20).

From the official synopsis: “Kaz and the team continue to fight against the threat of the First Order, culminating in an epic series finale. The story picks up after a harrowing escape from the First Order, as the Colossus and all its residents find themselves lost in space, pursued by Agent Tierny and Commander Pyre…meanwhile, Tam grapples with her future and where her true allegiance lies, with her friends or the First Order. The thrilling final season will showcase how the unlikeliest of heroes can help spark hope across the galaxy.

Joining the voice cast in guest-starring roles for Season Two: Joe Manganiello as Ax Tagrin, Daveed Diggs as Norath Kev, and Lucy Lawless as the Aeosian Queen.

Star Wars Resistance stars Christopher Sean as Kazuda Xiono, Suzie McGrath as Tam Ryvora, Scott Lawrence as Jarek Yeager, Velasco as Torra Doza, Josh Brener as Neeku Vozo, Donald Faison as Hype Fazon, Elijah Wood as Rucklin, Liam McIntyre as Commander Pyre, Jason Hightower as Captain Doza, Sumalee Montano as Agent Tierny, and Jim Rash and Bobby Moynihan as Flix and Orka, respectively.

Velasco’s other voice credits include Elena of AvalorDC Super Hero Girlsand Descendants: Wicked World.

Rafael Casal to Write & Direct Lionsgate’s Sci-Fi Rom Com “First Sight”

Rafael Casal is has set his (first) sights on a new project…

The 33-year-old half-Spanish American actor will write and make his feature directorial debut on Lionsgate’s First Sight, a sci-fi romantic comedy about falling asleep to find the person of your dreams.

Rafael Casal

Casal will join forces with his Blindspottingco-writer, producer and star Daveed Diggs, and the film’s producers Snoot Entertainment, on the project.

Casal, a musician and poetic who appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry, was recently added to the cast of Bad Education starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney.

Carlos Saldanha Receives Variety’s Creative Impact in Animation Award

Carlos Saldanha is being heralded for his creative impact

The 52-year-old Brazilian director, producer and animator has been recognized with Variety’s Creative Impact in Animation award.

Carlos Saldanha

Saldanha has become one of the most successful tellers of animated stories of all time. His credits include Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Rio and Rio 2, while he co-directed Ice Age and Robots. He’s Blue Sky Animation Studio’s secret weapon, having unleashed a string of worldwide blockbusters that have grossed more than $3 billion.

Saldanha even has Oscar cred with a nomimation for 2003’s animated short Gone Nutty, and an exclusive deal at Fox, where his BottleCap Productions calls home.

Growing up in Rio de Janeiro afforded Saldanha with a unique perspective of the world, and in particular, how it would come to shape his animation and filmmaking instincts and aesthetic.

“I was always a film buff,” Saldanha recalls. “Movies were always very special to me, but I never knew how to accomplish my goals. Blade Runner is my favorite film and I’ve seen it 20 times at least. I find it inspiring. So I went to college for computer science, but I was always very artistic. A friend showed me one of John Lasseter’s early CGI-animated shorts, and I was hooked, because this was how to bridge the elements together.”

The Ice Age franchise has cemented itself as one of the most popular in the medium, and Saldanha knows that he’s crossed over into something larger, capturing the imaginations of children (and adults) around the world, especially with the saber-toothed squirrel Scrat, which has become the official mascot of Blue Sky Studios.

“When you’re a part of something that becomes that big for so many people, especially children, you can’t help but feel proud. Scrat was something unique to the creative process, in that he wasn’t originally defined in the script. He was an organic character who took shape as a result of creative group think. So it’s very special that he’s become so embraced, and it felt very natural for Scrat to become an integral part of Blue Sky,” Saldanha says. “We all loved those little noises he makes!”

Saldanha’s relationship with fellow filmmaker and Blue Sky head Chris Wedge has been instrumental to his career. “Chris is a visionary and working with him has been a tremendous experience,” Saldanha says. “We’re interested in telling relatable stories in an exciting and fresh way, and Chris brings a great attitude to the creative process.”

Following up the huge success of 2002’s Ice Age would prove to be interesting for Saldanha, who helped to craft 2005’s Robots, calling it a “transitional film for me, moving out of the Ice Age’world, and getting involved in something new. And that’s what we love to do, we love building worlds within our films. And with Robots, we got to do something a bit unique with the characters and setting.”

The two Rio films clearly mean a lot to Saldanha, who says he was “thrilled to infuse my Brazilian heritage into the film, and it was a big goal for me to show the city of Rio de Janeiro in a very colorful and bright fashion. These were projects that were very close to me on a personal level, so to be able to craft them in the way that we did, it was a joyous experience. It was very important for worldwide audiences to embrace these films. I wanted to create a mood and tone with no boundaries and a free spirit approach to the storytelling. This was a true passion project.”

Saldanha’s newest project, the animated adventure Ferdinand, hits screens December 15. It’s based on the classic children’s book The Story of Ferdinand, about a Spanish bull that would rather stop and smell the roses than participate in bullish activities. John Cena voices the title character, with Kate McKinnon, Gina Rodriguez and Daveed Diggs among the other voice-over artists.

“We’re currently halfway through animation and it’s coming along fantastic. We’re so thrilled for people to see it as we’re having so much fun working on this particular story,” Saldanha says. He adds there will be a “wonderful musical component to the film,” as he’s again collaborating with favored film composer John Powell. “We really wanted to capture the richness of Spain, with vibrant and bold colors, so that the audience can really feel the atmosphere. And with John doing the score again for us, we’ll have something really special for the audience. We extended the original book but we retained what’s essential to the core story of a big bull with a really big heart.”

Saldanha was also asked to participate in the 2014 anthology film Rio, I Love You, with other celebrated filmmakers including Jose Padilha, Fernando Meirelles, Paolo Sorrentino and Guillermo Arriaga. “I had such a great time doing my short for Rio, I Love You,” Saldanha says. “I did it to test the waters, and I’m excited about tackling a live-action project in the future. I’m not sure what it’ll be exactly, but I love to challenge myself and keep things fresh. But I’ll never leave animation behind. That’s where my heart is.”

Armisen to Return as Guest Star on Season 3 of Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

Fred Armisen is still Unbreakable..

The 50-year-old half-Venezuelan actor and former Saturday Night Live star is set to return as a guest star on Season 3 of Netflix’s hit comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Fred Armisen

Armisen joins series stars Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski and Carol Kane, and returning guest stars Anna Camp, Mike Carlsen, Josh Charles, David Cross, Tina Fey, Jon Hamm and Amy Sedaris for the third season which premieres Friday, May 19 on Netflix.

The third season premiere picks up with Kimmy finding herself in an unfamiliar position with the Reverend back in her life. Titus returns from his cruise and auditions for an exciting new role. Lillian has to break up with her boyfriend Robert Durst.

Netflix will premiere the Season 3 debut episode at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival, followed by a Q&A with cast members.

Additional guest stars include former Hamilton star Daveed Diggs, Laura Dern, Rachel, Dratch, Ray Liotta, Andrea Martin and Maya Rudolph.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a production of Universal Television, Little Stranger Inc., 3 Arts Entertainment and Bevel Gears for Netflix.