Raúl Yzaguirre to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Raúl Yzaguirre is being feted by the White House

The 82-year-old Mexican America civil rights activist is among this year’s 17 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the White House has announced.

Raúl YzaguirrePresented to individuals who have “made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace or other significant societal, public or private endeavors,” the Medal is the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Yzaguirre served as the Chief Executive Officer and president of the National Council of La Raza for 30 years. He also served as U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic under President Barack Obama.

Former The University of Texas at Brownsville president Dr. Julieta García is also being honored.

The Mexican American education executive was named one of Time magazine’s best college presidents. Dr. García was the first Hispanic woman to serve as a college president and dedicated her career to serving students from the Southwest Border region.

Other recipients this year include Denzel Washington, Simone Biles, the late Sen. John McCain, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and Olympic gold medalist Megan Rapinoe.

The awards will be presented at the White House next Thursday, July 7.

Here’s a look at the individuals who will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom:

  • Simone Biles is the most decorated American gymnast in history, with a combined total of 32 Olympic and World Championship medals. Biles is also a prominent advocate for athletes’ mental health and safety, children in the foster care system, and victims of sexual assault.
  • Sister Simone Campbell is a member of the Sisters of Social Service and former Executive Director of NETWORK, a Catholic social justice organization. She is also a prominent advocate for economic justice, immigration reform, and healthcare policy.
  • Dr. Julieta García is the former president of The University of Texas at Brownsville, where she was named one of Time magazine’s best college presidents. Dr. García was the first Hispanic woman to serve as a college president and dedicated her career to serving students from the Southwest Border region.
  • Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was the youngest woman ever elected to the Arizona State Senate, serving first in the Arizona legislature and later in the U.S. Congress. A survivor of gun violence, she co-founded Giffords, a nonprofit organization dedicated to gun violence prevention.
  • Fred Gray was one of the first black members of the Alabama State legislature since Reconstruction. As an attorney, he represented Rosa Parks, the NAACP, and Martin Luther King, who called him “the chief counsel for the protest movement.”
  • Steve Jobs (died 2011) was the co-founder, chief executive, and chair of Apple, Inc., CEO of Pixar and held a leading role at the Walt Disney Company. His vision, imagination and creativity led to inventions that have, and continue to, change the way the world communicates, as well as transforming the computer, music, film and wireless industries.
  • Father Alexander Karloutsos is the former Vicar General of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. After over 50 years as a priest, providing counsel to several U.S. presidents, he was named by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as a Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
  • Khizr Khanis a Gold Star father and founder of the Constitution Literacy and National Unity Center. He is a prominent advocate for the rule of law and religious freedom and served on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom under President Biden.
  • Sandra Lindsayis a New York critical care nurse who served on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic response. She was the first American to receive a COVID-19 vaccine outside of clinical trials and is a prominent advocate for vaccines and mental health for health care workers.
  • John McCain (died 2018) was a public servant who was awarded a Purple Heart with one gold star for his service in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam. He also served the people of Arizona for decades in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate and was the Republican nominee for president in 2008.
  • Diane Nash is a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee who organized some of the most important civil rights campaigns of the 20th century. Nash worked closely with Martin Luther King, who described her as the “driving spirit in the nonviolent assault on segregation at lunch counters.”
  • Megan Rapinoeis an Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women’s World Cup champion. She also captains OL Reign in the National Women’s Soccer League. She is a prominent advocate for gender pay equality, racial justice, and LGBTQI+ rights.
  • Alan Simpson served as a U.S. Senator from Wyoming for 18 years. During his public service, he has been a prominent advocate on issues including campaign finance reform, responsible governance, and marriage equality.
  • Richard Trumka (died 2021) was president of the 12.5-million-member AFL-CIO for more than a decade, president of the United Mine Workers, and secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO. Throughout his career, he was an outspoken advocate for social and economic justice.
  • Brigadier General Wilma Vaughtis one of the most decorated women in the history of the U.S. military, repeatedly breaking gender barriers as she rose through the ranks. When she retired in 1985, she was one of only seven women generals in the Armed Forces.
  • Denzel Washington is an actor, director, and producer who has won two Academy Awards, a Tony Award, two Golden Globes, and the 2016 Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also served as National Spokesman for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for over 25 years.
  • Raúl Yzaguirre is a civil rights advocate who served as CEO and president of National Council of La Raza for thirty years. He also served as U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic under President Barack Obama.

Javier Bardem to Receive Maltin Modern Master Award at This Year’s Santa Barbara Film Festival

Javier Bardem is officially a master

The 52-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actor will be honored with the prestigious Maltin Modern Master Award at the 37th annual edition of the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

Javier BardemBardem will be feted alongside his Being the Ricardos co-star Nicole Kidman on Thursday, March 10 when they’ll engage with veteran film historian and critic Leonard Maltin for an in-person conversation about their careers leading up to this year’s performances as Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball in Aaron Sorkin’s acclaimed film from Amazon Studios.

Bardem and Kidman recently received individual SAG Award nominations in the lead actor and actress categories.

Bardem and Kidman, who have never before worked together, previously won Oscars for No Country for Old Men (2007) and The Hours (2002), respectively. Each has a long career of acclaimed performances.

“Nicole Kidman continues to challenge and reinvent herself year after year. Javier Bardem’s talent is a gift to the world. Only in Hollywood could these actors find themselves playing America’s all time favorite TV couple. It’s cause for celebration,” Maltin said.

Santa Barbara International Film Festival

The Modern Master Award was established in 1995 and is the highest accolade presented by SBIFF. Created to honor an individual who has enriched our culture through accomplishments in the motion picture industry, it was re-named the Maltin Modern Master Award in 2015 in honor of longtime SBIFF moderator and renowned film critic Leonard Maltin.

Past recipients include Bill Murray, Brad Pitt, Glenn Close, Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton, Bruce Dern, Ben Affleck, Christopher Plummer, Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Clint Eastwood, Cate Blanchett, Will Smith, George Clooney and Peter Jackson.

This is the first time a pair of actors will be honored together.

Other Santa Barbara tributes previously announced include Benedict Cumberbatch with the Vanguard AwardKing Richard stars Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis for Outstanding Performers of the Year, Kristen Stewart for the American Riviera Award, and collectively named for Virtuoso Awards are West Side Story’s Ariana DeBoseCODA actors Emilia Jones and Troy KotsurRed Rocket’s  Simon RexLicorice Pizza’s Alana Haim, and Saniyya Sidney from King Richard.

The 37th Santa Barbara Film Festival is set to take place in-person March 2-12. Official events including screenings, filmmaker Q&As, industry panels and celebrity tributes will be held throughout the city including at the historic Arlington Theatre.

Jared Leto to Star Opposite Anne Hathaway in AppleTV+’s Limited Series “WeCrashed”

Jared Leto is crashing AppleTV+

The streamer has ordered WeCrashed, a limited series starring the 49-year-old part-Spanish American actor and fellow Oscar winner Anne Hathaway, with John Requa and Glenn Ficarra directing.

Jared Leto

Last month, Deadline first reported  that Leto was in talks for one of the leads in the series based on the hit podcast WeCrashed: The Rise and Fall of WeWork

He and Hathaway also will executive produce the series.

Previously in development at Apple and set to be produced by Apple StudiosWeCrashed will follow the greed-filled rise and inevitable fall of WeWork, one of the world’s most valuable startups, and the narcissists whose chaotic love made it all possible.

The limited series is created and written by showrunners Lee Eisenberg — as part of his overall deal with Apple TV+ — and Drew Crevello.

Emma Ludbrook will executive produce alongside Leto through their Paradox production company.

Leto stars opposite Denzel Washington and Rami Malek in The Little Thingswhich just bowed in theaters and on HBO Max.

MGM in Exclusive Talks for Jared Leto’s Supernatural Thriller “Adrift”

Jared Leto is (a)drifting away…

MGM is reportedly in exclusive negotiations for the supernatural thriller Adrift, with the 49-year-old part-Spanish American Oscar-winning actor and singer attached to star and Darren Aronofsky on board to direct.

Jared Leto

Jason Blum will produce the film, which saw MGM was extremely move fast to be in pole position to land the package. Details behind the financing are unavailable since the deal hasn’t officially closed.

Blum will produce through his Blumhouse Productions along with Leto and Emma Ludbrook via their production company Paradox, as will Carla Hacken through her Paper Pictures banner.

The film is based on a short story by Koji Suzuki, who wrote The Ring. Aronofsky and Luke Dawson will be co-penning the script. Insiders close to the package say Leto identified the project and he and Ludbrook pursued the rights for 10 years before bringing to Blum and Aronofsky.

The story is set in the dead calm of the open sea, where a fishing boat discovers an abandoned yacht with a strange distress call. A deckhand agrees to take lone control of it while it’s towed into port, but soon he discovers why the rest of his more experienced crew members call it a “Ghost Ship.”

No production start date has been set as a script still needs to be written and scheduling needs to be worked out.

Leto currently appears in The Little Things for Warner Bros. starring opposite Denzel Washington and Rami Malek. That film dropped today in theaters and on HBO Max. He also is developing a handful of projects including a sequel to Tron: Legacy, which has him attached to star and Garth Davis on board to direct. He can also be seen in the upcoming Spider-Man spinoff Morbius

Jared Leto In Talks to Star in the Apple TV+ Series “WeCrashed”

Jared Leto could be crashing the project…

The 48-year-old part-Spanish American actor and Oscar-winner is in early talks to star in the Apple TV+ series WeCrashedan adaptation of the popular podcast.

Jared Leto

Deadline.com reports the deal is far from closed and may not go forward but discussions are ongoing. Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa are on board to helm.

Lee Eisenberg and Drew Crevello will pen the series and are executive producing.

Hosted by David Brown, the podcast series told the tale of WeWork and its founders. The company was valued at $47 billion, it was ready for a huge IPO, and its charismatic CEO Adam Neumann thought it was going to change the world. Neumann had a prophet-like vision for WeWork that he sold to some of the world’s savviest investors — but did his vision ever match the company’s reality?

Leto would play Newmann in the series, which mark Leto’s return to television after his star-making role in the short-lived 1990s ABC series My So Called Life

He’s currently developing a handful of projects including a sequel to Tron: Legacy, which has him attached to star and Garth Davis on board to direct. He also is on board to be a part of the A-list ensemble in Ridley Scott’s Gucci.

Leto can be seen next in the Warner Bros thriller The Little Things opposite Denzel Washington and Rami Malek and also has the Spider-Man spinoff Morbius.

Natalie Morales to Make Solo Feature Directorial Debut with “Plan B”

Natalie Morales is heading behind the camera…

The 35-year-old Cuban American actress, who most recently starred in the second season of Netflix’s Emmy-nominated series Dead to Me, will make her solo feature directorial debut with Plan B, a Counterbalance Entertainment and American High comedy that’s set up at Hulu.

Natalie Morales

Set to begin production next month in Syracuse, NY, the film follows a straight-laced high school student and her slacker best friend who, after a regrettable first sexual encounter, have 24 hours to hunt down a Plan B pill in America’s heartland.

Prathi Srinivasan and Joshua Levy penned the screenplay.

Morales has directed and starred in multiple episodes of HBO’s Room 104 from creators Jay and Mark Duplass. On the big screen, her recent credits include Fox’s Stuber with Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and Warner Bros.forthcoming The Little Things drama with Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Rami Malek.

Colman Domingo Signs First-Look Deal with AMC Studios

It’s a new deal for Colman Domingo

The 50-year-old Guatemalan American actor, playwright and television/stage director has signed a first-look deal with AMC Studios, the studio behind Domingo’s zombie drama series Fear the Walking Dead.

Colman Domingo,

Domingo made his debut as Victor Strand in a two-episode guest arc during the first season of Fear the Walking Dead, a spinoff from The Walking Dead.

He was made a series regular at the start of Season 2. He made his directorial debut on the show and has directed two episodes to date.

“From the moment AMC viewers first saw Colman Domingo as the mysterious and dynamic Victor Strand in season one of Fear The Walking Dead,they haven’t been able to look away, and neither have we,” said Sarah Barnett, President of AMC Networks Entertainment Group & AMC Studios. “He has become a core character of the series and, as anyone who knows him knows, his talents go far beyond that one character in that one show. He is a writer, producer and performer who can move effortlessly between film, television and the stage and we are thrilled to be expanding our relationship with this extraordinary talent and individual through this first-look deal with AMC Studios.”

Domingo is currently in production on the upcoming sixth season of Fear the Walking Dead and stars in A24’s Zolawhich premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He’s also had a recurring role on HBO’s Euphoria and will be seen in Jordan Peele’s spiritual sequel to the 1992 gothic horror film CandyMan, as well as opposite Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman in the Netflix film adaption of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,produced by Denzel Washington.

Domingo, 20-year veteran theater director, co-wrote the book for the Broadway musical Summer: The Donna Summer Musical and for the Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole  musical.

At AMC, he developed a series based on his play Dottwo years ago.

Domingo’s film acting credits also include Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could TalkSelma, Lee Daniels’ The Butler,  Steven Spielberg’s LincolnFirst Matchand Spike Lee’s Miracle At St. AnaRed Hook Summerand Passing Strange

Isabel Arraiza to Star in the Thriller “The Little Things”

Isabel Arraiza has Things to do…

The Puerto Rican actress has joined the cast of The Little Things, the Warner Bros. thriller that stars Oscar winners Denzel WashingtonJared Leto, and Rami Malek.

Isabel Arraiza

John Lee Hancockwrote and is directing the film, which centers around Deke (Washington), a burned-out Kern County, CA deputy sheriff who teams with Baxter (Malek), a crack LASD detective, to nab a serial killer. Deke’s nose for the “little things” proves eerily accurate, but his willingness to circumvent the rules embroils Baxter in a soul-shattering dilemma. Meanwhile, Deke must wrestle with a dark secret from his past. 

Arraiza will play Baxter’s wife. 

Her previous credits include television appearances on PearsonElementary and The Oath.

Natalie Morales to Star in Warner Bros. “The Little Things”

Natalie Morales is celebrating the little things…

The 34-year-old Cuban American actress has joined the cast of Warner Bros.The Little Things opposite Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Rami Malek.

Natalie Morales

The film follows Deke (Washington), a burned-out Kern County, CA. deputy sheriff who teams with Baxter (Malek), a crack LASD detective, to nab a serial killer. Deke’s nose for the “little things” proves eerily accurate, but his willingness to circumvent the rules embroils Baxter in a soul-shattering dilemma. Meanwhile, Deke must wrestle with a dark secret from his past. Jared Letois in talks to join in the role as the serial killer in the project from writer-director John Lee Hancock.

Morales will play a Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department detective working for Baxter.

She most recently starred on NBC’s Abby’s sitcom. The Parks and Recreation alum also starred in Fox’s Stuber alongside Kumail Nanjiani. She also appeared in Fox Searchlight’s Golden Globe-nominated Battle of the Sexes opposite Emma Stoneand Steve Carell. Morales was a regular on Fox’s The Grinder. She also recently directed her second episode of Room 104 for HBO.

Jared Leto In Talks to Star in the Cop Thriller “Little Things”

Jared Leto is paying attention to the little things

The 47-year-old part-Spanish Oscar-winning actor and singer is in talks to join the cast of Warner Bros’ Little Things, a cop thriller starring fellow Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Rami Malek

Jared Leto

John Lee Hancockis directing his script.

Washington is playing Deke, a burned-out Kern County sheriff who teams with an LA County Sheriff’s Department detective, Baxter (Malek), to reel in a wily serial killer, the role Leto is circling. Deke’s nose for the “little things” (hence the title of the movie) proves eerily accurate, but his willingness to circumvent the rules embroils Baxter in a soul-shattering dilemma. All the while, Deke wrestles with a dark secret from his past.

Mark Johnson is producing and the film is looking to begin production next month.

Leto won an Academy Awardfor his performance as a transgender woman in Dallas Buyers Club. His other film credits include Suicide SquadFight ClubRequiem for a DreamAmerican Psychoand Blade Runner 2049.

He’s also the lead singer of the rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars.