Rachel Zegler to Star in “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”

It’s (hunger) game on for Rachel Zegler

The 21-year-old half-Colombian American Golden Globe-winning actress/singer and West Side Story star has joined the cast of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the highly anticipated prequel to Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games

Rachel Zegler,Zegler is joining the Francis Lawrence-directed film in the lead female role of Lucy Gray Baird.

She joins recently announced Tom Blyth, who’s playing the young Coriolanus Snow, that role made famous by Donald Sutherland in the original trilogy.

Years before he would become the tyrannical President of Panem, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow is the last hope for his fading lineage, a once-proud family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol. With the 10th annual Hunger Games fast approaching, the young Snow is alarmed when he is assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird, the girl tribute from impoverished District 12. But, after Lucy Gray commands all of Panem’s attention by defiantly singing during the reaping ceremony, Snow thinks he might be able to turn the odds in their favor. Uniting their instincts for showmanship and newfound political savvy, Snow and Lucy’s race against time to survive will ultimately reveal who is a songbird, and who is a snake.

“When you read Suzanne’s book, Lucy Gray’s emotional intelligence, physical agility, and fiercely powerful, determined singing voice shine through. Rachel embodies all of those skills – she is the perfect choice for our Lucy Gray,” said Nathan Kahane, president, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group.

“Like everybody, I first saw Rachel Zegler in West Side Story, and like everybody, I knew I was watching a star who would command the screen for a generation,” said Lawrence. “Lucy Gray is a perfect match for her as an actress: the character is bold, independent, and defiant, but also vulnerable, emotional, and loving. Rachel will make this character unforgettable.”

“Lucy Gray is an incredibly complex character, a performer who has to use every skill in her arsenal to survive. Our casting team, Deb Zane and Dylan Jury, spearheaded an exhaustive search, reading hundreds of actors in search of our perfect Lucy Gray. That search ended when Rachel Zegler blew the roof off with her depth and breadth of talent as an actor, singer, and performer. Rachel is utterly compelling; just like Lucy Gray, her voice and charisma command the stage while her inner strength and humanity transform those around her,” said Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson.

Lionsgate recently announced that the prequel will hit theaters around the world on November 17, 2023.

The entire Hunger Games franchise has grossed more $3 billion worldwide.

Lawrence previously helmed The Hunger Games films Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part One, and Mockingjay Part Two. Jacobson is producing with her partner Brad Simpson, along with Lawrence. Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, Tim Palen, and Jim Miller will serve as executive producers.

The latest draft of the screenplay is by Michael Lesslie, who is building on the work of Collins and Michael Arndt. The screenplay is based on Collins’ bestselling novel.

Zegler was lauded with Best Actress wins from the National Board of Review and the Golden Globes for her turn as Maria in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. She is next set to appear in DC Comics’ Shazam! Fury of the Gods alongside Zachary Levi, Helen Mirren, and Lucy Liu, which debuts in December.

She is currently filming the title role in Disney’s live action Snow White, directed by Marc Webb.

Rachel Zegler to Voice Lead Role in Apple Original Films & Skydance Animation’s Animated Musical “Spellbound”

Rachel Zegler is preparing for the royal treatment…

The 20-year-old half-Colombian American Golden Globe-winning actress and singer will voice the character of Princess Ellian, the lead role in Apple Original Films and Skydance Animation’s new animated musical feature Spellbound.

Rachel Zegler,Ellian is a tenacious princess who must go on a daring quest to save her family and kingdom after a mysterious spell transforms her parents into monsters and threatens to cover Lumbria in darkness forever.

Vicky Jenson is directing the film with Lauren Hynek & Elizabeth Martin and Linda Woolverton penning the script.

The original score for the film hails from Academy Award-winner Alan Menken, with lyrics by Glenn Slater.

Chris Montan serves as executive music producer.

Zegler has had a great year following her award-winning breakout role as Maria in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. The film played a big part in her landing the role as the titular character in Disney’s new Snow White filmwhich is currently in production.

She’ll next be seen alongside Zachary Levi, Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu in D.C. Comics’ Shazam! Fury of the Gods.

Universal Announces Plans to End Michelle Rodriguez’s Fast & Furious Franchise with Two Final Films

It’s the beginning of the end for Michelle Rodriguez.

Universal Pictures is planning to wrap up its Fast & Furious core film franchise, starring the 42-year-old Puerto Rican and Dominican American actress, with two final movies that will bring to a close a franchise.

Michelle Rodriguez The Limit

The Fast & Furious films have revved their way to become the highest-grossing movie series in the studio’s history. Justin Lin, who’s in post-production on F9, is in talks to direct the final two installments and bring a saga that began nearly 20 years ago to a close.

It’s early days on when this will begin production but it seems likely they will tell a big story over two films that will focus on franchise patriarch Vin Diesel and bring back Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel and Sung Kang.

F9 — which is the fifth film in the franchise directed by Lin and which premieres next Memorial Day — continues the storyline of the core cast and Charlize Theron, and adds John Cena, Helen Mirren, Grammy-winner Cardi B and reggaeton star Ozuna. They are just beginning to put the final two vehicles together. There’s speculation that Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham — core cast members who peeled off for the F&F spinoff Hobbs & Shaw after Johnson and Diesel had a falling out — will be back for the finale.

There’s also an opportunity to pull off the motorhead’s answer to Marvel’s Avengers, a configuration that might include Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot, also part of the ensemble earlier in her career.

It might not have seemed probable back when The Fast & Furious launched the franchise in 2001 with Diesel and Paul Walker as lead-footed protagonists, but the entire series has eclipsed Jurassic Park to become Universal’s biggest. The eight movies and the spinoff have grossed around $5.7 billion; Jurassic is also over $5 billion and has its next installment, Jurassic World: Dominion, shooting in London.

The Fast franchise survived the tragic death of cornerstone star Walker, but it’s always good to end the race before the vehicle runs out of gas. There are still plans for other movie spinoffs and TV shows, so there will be no call for the studio to be calling Kars for Kids to cart away a junker.

It is likely that the final two installments will be produced by Diesel through his One Race Films banner, Jeff Kirschenbaum, Lin, Neal Moritz, Joe Roth, Clayton Townsend and Samantha Vincent. They are the producers of F9.

Lin berthed his Perfect Storm Entertainment banner at Universal in a multi-year overall film and TV deal in late summer, and these two films will likely keep him busy for a long time.

Universal Moves Release Date of Michelle Rodriguez’s “F9” to Memorial Day 2021

Michelle Rodriguez is getting some push back…

Universal Pictures has announced plans to move F9, starring the 42-year-old Puerto Rican and Dominican American actress, to May 28, 2021, which is Memorial Day weekend.

Michelle Rodriguez F9

The move comes after MGM moved its James Bond pic No Time to Die, starring Ana de Armas, to April 2, 2021 — which had been the release date for this latest installment of The Fast and the Furious franchise.

In March, F9 drove out of its original May 22, 2020 global day-and-date release amid the coronavirus lockdown. The studio had previously reserved that April 2021 date for Fast & Furious 10.

Justin Lin returns to direct F9 a cast that includes Rodriguez, who portrays Letty Ortiz, Vin Diesel, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron, Cardi B and Ozuna.

The entire franchise, including spinoff Hobbs & Shaw, through nine movies counts $5.9 billion at the worldwide box office.

Antonio Banderas to Receive International Star Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival

Antonio Banderas is a shining star… 

The 59-year-old Spanish actor will receive the 31st annual Palm Springs International Film Festival’s International Star Award, Actor for his performance in Pedro Almodovar’s Pain and Glory

Antonio Banderas

“Throughout his career Antonio Banderas has garnered international acclaim and world recognition from his memorable performances,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In his latest film Pain and Glory, Antonio Banderas gives another deeply moving performance as aging film director Salvador Mallo going through a creative crisis as he reflects on the choice’s he’s made throughout his life.”

Past recipients of the International Star Award include Javier BardemNicole KidmanHelen Mirren, Gary Oldman and Saoirse Ronan

Banderas, who recently earned a Goya Award nomination for his performance in Pain and Glory, will join the previously announced honorees Jennifer Lopez (Spotlight Award), Joaquin Phoenix (Chairman’s Award), Martin Scorsese Sonny Bono Visionary Award), Charlize Theron( International Star Award, Actress) and Renée Zellweger(Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress).

From Sony Picture Classicsand presented by El DeseoPain and Glory tells of a series of reencounters experienced by Salvador Mallo, a film director in his physical decline. Some of them in the flesh, others remembered.

The award will be presented at the festival’s Film Awards Galaon Thursday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

The festival runs January 2-13, 2020.

Banderas’ next project is Dolittle

Diego Luna to Star in the Anthology Film “Berlin, I Love You”

Diego Luna is spreading a little Liebe to Germany…

The 37-year-old Mexican actor, producer and director will star in the anthology film Berlin, I Love You, the latest feature in the Cities of Love series launched by Emmanuel Benbihy in 2006 with the release of Paris, je t’aime, followed by New York, I Love You (2008) and Rio, I Love You (2014).

Diego Luna

Luna joins an ensemble cast that includes Jenna Dewan Tatum, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Jim Sturgess, Mickey Rourke, Orlando Bloom, Sophie Turner, Jack Huston, Patrick Dempsey and Renee Zellweger.

Like the other films, Berlin, I Love You will feature short stories of romance, this time set in the German capital.

Written by Neil La Bute and David Vernon, the segments are being directed by Fernando Eimbcke, Dennis Gansel, Massy Tadjedin, Peter Chelsom, Til Schweiger, Justin Franklin, Dani Levy and Dianna Agron. Josef Rusnak will helm the transition sequence that ties all the episodes together.

New Trailer Released for Rodriguez’s “The Fate of the Furious”

Michelle Rodriguez is kicking it into high gear…

Universal Pictures has released a new trailer for The Fate of the Furious, starring the38-year-old Dominican-American actress.

Michelle Rodriguez

Once again, the car criminals-turned-superheroes are back in this upcoming eighth installment, this time going up again a mysterious tech terrorist, who forces an alliance with Vin Diesel’s family leader Dominic Toretto.

F. Gary Gray is at the helm of the sequel, which will bow in theaters April 14.

After Dom is seduced into a world of crime and betray those closest to him, the gang is forced to go against their former leader and end up working with one of their greatest enemies to take him down.

There’s explosions, melodrama, intense fight scenes, witty comebacks, and of course, a lot of cars going really fast –all the elements that have made the Fast & Furious a billion-dollar franchise.

The film sees the return of Diesel, Rodriguez, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky and Kurt Russell along with newcomers Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren and Scott Eastwood.

Miranda to Perform at One-Night Only Broadway Show Benefiting Hillary Clinton’s Hillary Victory Fund

Lin-Manuel Miranda is stumping for Hillary Clinton

The 36-year-old Puerto Rican actor and Hamilton star/creator has joined the list of Broadway and Hollywood stars teaming up for a one-night only Broadway performance benefiting the Hillary Victory Fund.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Miranda joins a lineup that includes Julia Roberts and Hugh Jackman, all appearing in support of Clinton.

The show, “Stronger Together,” features Chelsea Clinton as a special guest and Billy Crystal as host, appearing alongside familiar faces including Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, Emily Blunt, Anne Hathaway, Josh Groban, Angela Bassett, Neil Patrick Harris, Helen Mirren, Sienna Miller, Bernadette Peters, Cynthia Erivo, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Sarah Jones, Andrea McArdle and Ayodele Casel.

Organizers of the evening promise new duets and collaborations.

Michael Mayer, the Spring Awakening and Hedwig and the Angry Inch director whose Off-Broadway production of Love, Love, Love is now running, will direct the production, with Diane Paulus on board as special consultant. John Guare serves as script consultant, with Seth Rudetsky as musical director.

The event is set for October 17 at the St. James Theater, the Jujamcyn-owned venue currently occupied by “Something Rotten!,” which is dark on Monday nights.

Tickets are on sale on the Hillary Clinton website.

Peris-Mencheta to Star in FX’s Cocaine-Themed Drama Pilot “Snowfall”

Sergio Peris-Mencheta is winter ready…

The 40-year-old Spanish actor has been cast in a lead role opposite Damson Idris and Billy Magnussen in FX’s drama pilot Snowfall.

Sergio Peris-Mencheta

Co-written by John Singleton and Eric Amadio and directed by Singleton, the series centers on the beginnings of the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles in the 80’s.

Snowfall is set against the infancy of the epidemic and its ultimate radical impact on the culture as we know it.

Peris-Mencheta will play Gustavo Zapata, a large, talented, powerful and very popular Mexican wrestler turned gangster in search of his American dream. Also known as El Oso’ (The Bear), he’s disillusioned over his bleak future, sending his earnings back home while living day-to-day in a rundown hotel room.

Peris-Mencheta’s credits include features Love Ranch, opposite Helen MirrenResident Evil: Afterlifeand Jean Jacques Annaud’s His Majesty Minor, and Showtime’s The Borgias

Bruhl In Talks to Star Opposite Helen Mirren in “Woman in Gold”

Daniel Bruhl is in talks to take on a golden role…

The 35-year-old half-Spanish actor, who earned critical acclaim and his first SAG Awards nomination for his role in Ron Howard’s Rush, is negotiating with The Weinstein Company to join Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds in Woman in Gold.

Daniel Bruhl

The fact-based story, which will be directed by Simon Curtis, will star Mirren as real-life heroine Maria Altmann, a Jewish WWII survivor who fought the Austrian government to get back several paintings by Gustav Klimt that were pilfered from her family during wartime.

Reynolds will play the attorney who took the case despite knowing little about art, and Bruhl will play his adversary.

The Woman in Gold script was written by Alexi Kay Campbell.

Bruhl most recently wrapped the Anton Corbjin-directed A Most Wanted Man.