Tessa Thompson to Star in the sci-fi thriller “Ash”

Tessa Thompson is ready to kick ash

The 38-year-old part-Panamanian and part-Mexican American actress will star opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the sci-fi thriller Ash, which the Grammy-winning musician and filmmaker Flying Lotus — otherwise known as Steven Ellison — will direct as his sophomore feature.

Tessa Thompson,Neill Blomkamp will executive produce the film, which its financier XYZ Films will rep for worldwide sales at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival.

The new film, for which the multi-hyphenate will also compose an original score, watches as a woman (Thompson) wakes up on a distant planet and finds the crew of her space station viciously killed, and must then decide if she can trust the man (Gordon-Levitt) sent to rescue her. But as their investigation into what happened sets in motion a terrifying chain of events, he begins to wonder how innocent she really is.

Jonni Remmler wrote the original screenplay for the film, looking to go into production in New Zealand next year.

It is Flying Lotus’ follow-up to the Sundance-premiering body horror anthology, KusoXYZ Films and GFC Films will produce, with Blomkamp exec producing alongside Echo Lake Entertainment.

“It’s an absolute dream come true to collaborate with some of the most talented actors out there!,” said Flying Lotus.

Thompson is an Emmy– and BAFTA Award-nominated actress and producer who reprised her Marvel role as Valkyrie for the recent Thor: Lover and Thunder, also recently returning for the fourth season of HBO’s Westworld.

Other notable big-screen credits from recent years include Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut Passing, and Prime Video’s Sylvie’s Love, which she also executive produced, as well as SelmaDear White People and the Creed films.

Among Thompson’s upcoming projects is Creed III, which is currently in post-production, with its release set for next March. Her production company Viva Maude is actively in development on projects including Secret Lives of Church LadiesLuster and Who Fears Death.

Francia Raisa to Star in Hulu’s Comedy Series “How I Met Your Father”

Francia Raisa has laded a Father of a role…

The 33-year-old Mexican/Honduran American actress has been cast as a lead opposite Hilary Duff in How I Met Your Father, Hulu’s straight-to-series spinoff to long-running CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother.

Francia Raisa

Raisa and Duff will be joined on set by Tom Ainsley, Tien Tran and Suraj Sharma.

Created and written by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth BergerHow I Met Your Father is set in the near future, with Sophie (Duff) telling her son the story of how she met his father, much like Josh Radnor (and Bob Saget’s) Ted Mosby did in the original series.

The story starts in 2021 as where Sophie and her close-knit group of friends are in the midst of figuring out who they are, what they want out of life and how to fall in love in the age of dating apps and limitless options.

Raisa will play Valentina, Sophie’s (Duff) roommate. She’s an aspiring stylist and Sophie’s great friend. She’s impulsive and adventurous and Sophie relies on Valentina’s ability to cheer her up when she gets down. Valentina has just come back from London Fashion Week with the gorgeous, British Charlie.

Duff also produces the series, which will use a multi- and single-camera approach similar to its predecessor. How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas executive produce How I Met Your Father, which comes from 20th Century Fox Television.

Raisa plays Ana Torres, a first-generation Cuban-American and roommate to Yara Shahidi’s Zoey Johnson, on Freeform’s Black-ish spinoff Grown-ish. Her previous credits include Netflix’s Dear White People, The Mindy Project and The Secret Life of the American Teenageramong others.

Tessa Thompson Launches Production Company ‘Viva Maude’

Tessa Thompson is expanding her Hollywood reach…

The 37-year-old part-Panamanian and part-Mexican American actress is moving into the production arena with a new production company, a first-look deal at HBO and HBO Max and executive-producing two big book adaptations – Who Fears Death and The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.

Tessa Thompson,

Thompson, who stars on HBO’s Westworld, has launched Viva Maude with a two-year deal at the WarnerMedia-owned cable network and streaming service.

“I’m beyond thrilled to officially launch my production company, Viva Maude, which has been a real passion project and labour of love over the last few years,” said Thompson. “I’m elated to begin this partnership and to bring entertaining and impactful television projects to my friends and collaborators at HBO and HBO Max. Together we are committed to developing interesting and inclusive stories with inventive creators and to discover new voices and visionaries.”

Thompson, who stars in and executive produced the Amazon Studios feature film Sylvie’s Love, will exec produce the two projects in development at HBO and HBO Max as part of the deal.

Who Fears Death is an adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s eponymous book. In the works at HBO since 2017 with Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin as one of the exec producers, Aïda Mashaka Croal, a writer on Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, has also come board as showrunner, writer and exec producer.

Who Fears Death tells the coming of age tale of Onyesowu in post-apocalyptic North Africa where her story makes her an outcast.  She must go on a journey from self-reproach to love, but to do so she’ll have to overcome untold obstacles—defeating her hated sorcerer father and becoming the instrument of prophetic deliverance for a land of oppressed people, all the while fighting to master the terrifying powers growing inside her.

At HBO Max, Thompson is also exec producing an adaptation of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. The short story collection, written by Deesha Philyaw, was published in September and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. It contains nine stories about Black women, church, and sexuality.

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. Different generations of women characters grapple with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions. With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be.

Thompson will exec produce with author Philyaw, who is also writing the adaptation.

Thompson’s other credits include Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Endgame, Annihilation, Sorry to Bother YouSelmaand Dear White People and she co-stars alongside Ruth Negga in Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut feature film Passing as well as Creed III and Thor: Love and Thunder.

She is also a producer on QCode’s fiction podcast The Left Right Game, which Amazon purchased the rights to adapt into a television series, with Thompson exec producing the series.

Karamo Brown to Appear on Season 4 of Netflix’s “Dear White People”

Karamo Brown has landed a Dear role…

The 40-year-old Cuban-Jamaican American television host, reality television personality, author and activist has joined the upcoming fourth and final season of Netflix’s Dear White People in a recurring role. Season 4 is slated to premiere in 2021.

Karamo BrownBased on Justin Simien’s acclaimed debut indie feature, Dear White People is set against the backdrop of a predominantly white Ivy League university where racial tensions bubble just below the surface. The satirical series — which picks up where the 2014 Sundance Film Festival hit left off – follows a group of Winchester University’s students of color as they navigate a diverse landscape of social injustice, cultural bias, political correctness (or lack thereof) and activism in the millennial age.

Stars Marque Richardson, Logan Browning, Brandon P. Bell, Antoinette Robertson, DeRon Horton, John Patrick Amedori and Ashley Blaine Featherson are slated to return for Season 4. The 10-episode series is produced by Lionsgate.

Brown received a 2020 Primetime Emmy nomination as Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition program for Queer Eye. He most recently starred in Freeform’s romantic comedy The Thing About Harry opposite Jake Borelli.

Brown is the co-founder of the beauty and skincare company MANTL that launched online last year and now sold nationwide in Nordstrom. He also is the author of Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope and I Am Perfectly Designed, co-written with his son Jason ‘Rachel’ Brown. Available through Luminary, Brown’s podcast, Karamo, is an in-depth look at life’s thorniest issues through the lens of his celebrity guests and fans from around the world.

Natalia Castells-Esquivel Developing Dramedy “Women’s Studies” for HBO Max

It’s Studies time for Natalia Castells-Esquivel.

HBO Max is developing the one-hour dramedy Women’s Studies from the Mexican television writer and project co-creator Dani Chase.

Natalia Castells-Esquivel.

Described as “Dear White People meets The L World sprinkled with some Broad City humor,” the series follows Adriana, a Mexican-American student, who starts her first day at a women’s college in Atlanta filled with “queer AF, feminist women” — but it doesn’t seem like Adriana’s scene considering she is superficial and a little ignorant. But like Alice in Wonderland, her ideas and values are challenged the second she steps on campus.

The pilot is loosely based on Castells-Esquivel’s experience at a women’s college in Atlanta.

The series explores the loss of innocence and self-actualization as the audience watches a campus of young women evolve, embracing the new, dispensing with the old, and figuring out how to topple the heteronormative patriarchy in the process.

Castells-Esquivel recently worked as story editor for Disney+’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. She previously worked on HBO Max’s Generation and Netflix’s Ingobernable.

Miguel to Perform During ‘Black Power Live’ Digital Benefit

Miguel is bringing the Power

The 34-year-old half-Mexican American R&B singer and Grammy winner will perform during Black Power Live, a digital benefit taking place on Saturday, June 27th, on Twitch.

Miguel

The event will be hosted by Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors and feature a mix of musical performances and conversations with black artists and organizers, including the half-black “Adore You” singer, Doja Cat and Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes

Black Power Live is meant to be “a celebration of the incredible work done by organizers and activists around the world and will be a chance to reflect, regroup and talk about next steps.”

The musical lineup for Black Power Live will feature jazz star Terrace Martin debuting a new piece, “Racism on Trial,” featuring Kamasi WashingtonDenzel CurryRobert GlasperAlex Isley and others. 

Additional performers include Ne-YoAloe BlaccHO99O9 with Travis BarkerVagabonJessie ReyezSerpentwithfeet and Twin Shadow.

Along with the music, Black Power Live will feature interviews and discussions with a mix of artists and activists including Parkland survivor Emma GonzálezDear White People creator Justin Simien and author and filmmaker Dream Hampton.

The event will begin at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET and end at 12:00 am PT/3:00 am ET. 

Money raised will benefit the Crenshaw Dairy MartTrap HealsTransgender Law CenterSankofa and Black Men Build.

A complete lineup, and registration for the event, is available here.

Arturo Del Puerto to Star in HBO’s New Comedy Series “Camping”

Arturo Del Puerto is heading to campground…

The Latino actor has been cast opposite Jennifer Garner and David Tennant in HBO’s new half-hour comedy series Camping.

Arturo Del Puerto

Del Puerto joins a cast that includes Janicza Bravo, Brett Gelman and Bridget Everett.

Based on the British series created by Julia Davis, the project hails from the Girls duo of creator/executive producer Lena Dunham and executive producer Jenni Konner.

Production begins this spring in Los Angeles.

Co-written by Dunham and Konner, who also showrun, Camping centers on Walt (Tennant), whose 45th birthday was supposed to be a delightful weekend back to nature, at least according to his obsessively organized and aggressively controlling wife Kathryn (Garner). But when the camping trip gathers Kathryn’s meek sister, holier than thou ex-best friend and a free-spirited Tagalong in one place, it becomes a weekend of tested marriages and woman-on-woman crime that won’t soon be forgotten. Plus, bears.

Del Puerto will portray Miguel, who is smack dab in the middle of a midlife crisis, recently separated. He is now expressing his instability through Topshop clothing and very strange life choices.

Bravo will play Nina-Joy, the friend you go to for everything: best massage, best jeans, best oatmeal. But her tension with Kathryn over a breach of confidence threatens to topple the weekend and put tooth marks in her marriage to the husband (Gelman) she adores almost as much as she likes a nice clog boot.

Del Puerto was most recently seen in features Independence Day: Resurgence, Ride Along 2 and CHIPS. He’s also known for his recurring role on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead and a memorable guest spot in the Season 2 premiere of Pamela Adlon’s Better Things.

Known as a writer and director, Bravo directed and co-wrote with Gelman feature Lemon which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. She also helmed the “Juneteenth” episode of Donald Glover’s hit FX series Atlanta, as well as episodes of HBO’s Divorce, Here and Now, Netflix’s Love and Dear White People, and also guest-starred as Lorna in an episode of Love.

Francia Raisa to Star in Freeform’s “Black-ish” Spinoff, “Grown-ish”

Francia Raisa is Grown-ing up…

The 29-year-old Honduran and Mexican American actress has joined the cast of Freeform’s Grown-ish, the spinoff of ABC’s acclaimed sitcom Black-ish.

Francia Raisa

Grown-ish, from Black-ish executive producer Kenya Barris, is a contemporary take on the current issues facing both students and administrators in the world of higher education. Yara Shahidi portrays Zoey – Dre (Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow’s (Tracee Ellis Ross) popular, entitled, stylish and socially active 17-year-old daughter — as she heads off to college and quickly discovers that not everything goes her way once she leaves the nest.

Raisa will portray Ana, an outspoken conservative freshman at Southern California University.

Raisa joins previously announced cast members Shahidi, Deon Cole, Chris Parnell, Emily Arlook and Trevor Jackson.

The 13-episode comedy series is set to start production next week for an early 2018 premiere on Freeform.

Raisa, who rose to acclaim on The Secret Life of the American Teenager, previously appeared on Dear White People, The Mindy Project and In Plain Sight.