Alexander James Rodriguez to Star in Romantic Drama “Love’s Second Act”

Alexander James Rodriguez is preparing for his second act

The Spanish actor and recording artist will star in the romantic drama Love’s Second Act from director Sam Irvin, which is filming in Los Angeles this month.

Alexander James RodriguezRodriguez will star alongside Jodie SweetinTilky Jones and George Wendt in the project.

The film follows Jamie Leoni (Sweetin), a struggling filmmaker in Hollywood, who is faced with an ultimatum when her producer tells her that her pitch has been sold, but she only has one week to deliver the script. Having practically grown up in her hometown movie theater, she hopes to find inspiration to write the screenplay there. But upon returning, she finds Nick (Jones), her old boyfriend who broke her heart, and now owns the theater. While Nick is dealing with trying to prevent his father from selling the theater, Jamie discovers she is falling for him all over again. But can she balance her new career opportunity with giving Nick a second chance? Only love will tell.

Rodriguez’s previous credits include Alice Through the Looking Glass, Missing Link and Where Sweet Dreams Die.

Netflix Releases First Footage of “Blonde,” Featuring Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe

It’s Ana de Armasblonde-ing moment…  

Netflix has released the first footage from Andrew Dominik’s Blonde, starring the 34-year-old Cuban actress as Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe.

Ana de Armas, Blonde, Marilyn MonroeThe film, based on the bestselling novel by Joyce Carol Oates, is notable for its NC-17 rating. The supporting cast includes Bobby Cannavale, Adrien Brody, Julianne Nicholson, Xavier Samuel and Evan Williams.

The official Blonde synopsis from Netflix reads: “[The film] boldly reimagines the life of one of Hollywood’s most enduring icons, Marilyn Monroe. From her volatile childhood as Norma Jeane, through her rise to stardom and romantic entanglements, Blonde blurs the lines of fact and fiction to explore the widening split between her public and private selves.”

Ana de Armas, Blonde, Marilyn Monroe“Andrew’s ambitions were very clear from the start — to present a version of Marilyn Monroe’s life through her lens,” de Armas recently told Netflix Queue. “He wanted the world to experience what it actually felt like to not only be Marilyn, but also Norma Jeane. I found that to be the most daring, unapologetic, and feminist take on her story that I had ever seen.”

“We worked on this film for hours, every single day for almost a year,” de Armas added. “I read Joyce’s novel, studied hundreds of photographs, videos, audio recordings, films — anything I could get my hands on. Every scene is inspired by an existing photograph. We’d pore over every detail in the photo and debate what was happening in it. The first question was always, ‘What was Norma Jeane feeling here?’ We wanted to tell the human side of her story. Fame is what made Marilyn the most visible person in the world, but it also made Norma the most invisible.”

Ana de Armas, Blonde, Marilyn MonroeThe film’s NC-17 rating reportedly created tension between Dominik and Netflix, but the filmmaker told ScreenDaily in February that he has “nothing but gratitude for Netflix,” noting the streaming giant supported the title even if it had some issues with its content.

Netflix “insisted” on bringing in Hereditary and Tenet editor Jennifer Lame to “curb the excesses of the movie.” Dominik added that Blonde is “a demanding movie. If the audience doesn’t like it, that’s the fucking audience’s problem. It’s not running for public office.”

Ana de Armas, Blonde, Marilyn MonroeSpeaking to Vulture in May, Dominik added about the film: “There’s something in it to offend everyone.”

Blonde releases globally on Netflix on September 23.

Paul Rodriguez Appearing in Netflix’s “Dirty Daddy: A Tribute to Bob Saget” Special

Paul Rodriguez is paying tribute to America’s dad…

The 67-year-old Mexican-American actor and stand-up comedian will appear in Netflix’s Dirty Daddy: A Tribute to Bob Saget, a special that celebrates his life and legacy.

Paul RodriguezThe new Netflix special arrives five months after the comedy world lost the Full House star and stand up comedian.  

“Bob wasn’t something that was taken away from us — he was something that was given to us,” says the trailer for the special.

The special will launch on Friday, June 10, on the streamer.

Saget died January 9 in an Orlando hotel room not long after a stand-up performance. His death at 65 rocked Hollywood and led to an outpouring of tributes, along with the farewell show at the Comedy Store in West Hollywood where Dirty Daddy was filmed.

In addition to Rodriguez, those taking part are Saget’s former Full House co-stars John Stamos and Dave Coulier, along with Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Jim Carrey, Michael Keaton, Tim Allen, Jeff Ross, Darren Criss, Jon Lovitz, John Mayer, Mike Binder, Jackson Browne, Seth Green, Mike Young and Candace Cameron Bure.

His widow Kelly Rizzo-Saget and their daughters Lara and Aubrey Saget also are set.

In the trailer, Rizzo-Saget steps to the stage and says, “The most important thing to him was belonging to this club, to this group, to being a comedian.” Carrey adds: “You created a cathedral of f*cking love, Bob Saget.”

As also noted in the trailer, everyone deserves a friend like Bob.

“Amor En 266 Millas,” Starring Eli Cay, to Make World Premiere at Dances With Films Festival

Eli Cay’s latest project is getting a special screening…

The 48-year-old Puerto Rican actor’s indie film Amor En 266 Millas, from Mathew Kodath and Benji Lopez’s Guacamaya Films, is headed to Los Angeles’ Dances With Films.

Eli Cay

The film, an official selection of the festival on June 16, will make its world premiere at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood at 9:15 p.m.

The road trip pic tells the story of Marcos (Cay), a divorced man who finds himself broke and stuck in his job. Armed with an idea, he sets out on a journey to achieve his dreams. His younger brother and sister-in-law plot to change his plans with an adventure across 266 miles in the high desert that will be life-changing for all of them.

Lopez directed the film, which also stars Fernanda Romero, Laura Aleman and Luis Omar O’Farrill, from his and Jennifer Gomez Castillo’s script.

Click here to see the film’s trailer.

Oona Chaplin to Host CBC/BBC Podcast Exploring J. Edgar Hoover’s Obsession with Her Grandfather Charlie Chaplin

Oona Chaplin will be helping explore J. Edgar Hoover

Canada’s CBC and the UK’s BBC are jointly working on a podcast in which the 35-year-old Spanish-British actress and former Game of Thrones star explores Hoover’s campaign to root out Communism in Hollywood and his obsession with her grandfather, silent movie star Charlie Chaplin.

Oona ChaplinThe project, from CBC Podcasts and BBC World Service, is an extension to a collaboration commitment from 2019 in which the two national broadcasters pledged to enhance their services and programs by working together.

Chaplin’s BBC Audio Wales-produced Hollywood Outcasts will see Chaplin, known for roles in Game of Thrones and Taboo, looking at how Hoover’s determination to stop perceived Hollywood Communism centered around The Tramp star Charlie Chaplin and guide listeners through the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee hearings and the ‘Hollywood blacklist.’

Charlie ChaplinThe podcast will be made available on BBC Sounds, CBC Listen and most other podcast platforms. It’s scheduled for release this year and next.

Gianfranco Fernández-Ruiz Among Emerging Artists Selected for Creator+’s ‘Flip the Script’ Short Film Fund

Gianfranco Fernández-Ruiz is flipping the script

Creator+, a next-generation content studio and distribution platform for digital-first storytellers and creators, has unveiled their inaugural class of emerging filmmakers for its ‘Flip the Script’ Short Film Fund, with the AfroLatinX writer/director among those selected.

Gianfranco Fernández-RuizFernandez-Ruiz’s project, entitled Jerome, centers on the title character, who struggles with feelings of inadequacy when the annual Fathers and Sons event forces him to confront the absence of his own father; and he deals with it the only way he knows how—basketball.

Creator+ is a studio and distribution platform, whose goal is to empower the next generation of diverse creators to make impactful films and expand their careers.

To that end, Creator+ is creating opportunities for these historically excluded storytellers, while embracing projects that explore the full dimension of the BIPOC experience.

Spearheaded by Forbes 30 Under 30 award-winning activist and Head of Diversity & Impact Development and Production Ben O’Keefe, the program will champion, fully fund, market and distribute six short films from emerging BIPOC creators, writers, directors and producers annually.

Each of the chosen filmmakers will be working alongside an advisory council of world-class creatives, producers, showrunners and industry change agents fighting for increased diversity and inclusion in Hollywood.

Mentors include The Kennedy/Marshall Company with producing legend Frank Marshall and his Head of Production Development, Ashley Jay Sandberg; 6x NBA All-Star, investor, entrepreneur and co-founder of Mortal Media, Blake Griffin; Emmy-nominated actor MJ Rodriguez; Kyle Bowser, SVP, NAACP Hollywood Bureau; Producer & Director Lulu Wang; Actor & Activist Kendrick Sampson; Writer, producer & showrunner Elle Johnson; and TikTok executive Kudzi Chikumbu.

“Hollywood’s pipeline problem is a myth—and you only have to look as far as the talented BIPOC creatives who make up the first class of Flip the Script to see that,” said Ben O’Keefe, Head of Diversity & Impact Development and Production, Creator+. “Last year, only 3 out of every 10 major films were directed by people of color. That is a result of a history of systemic exclusion and it will take Hollywood’s leaders continuing to invest in solving these problems to seed a more equitable and inclusive industry. Creator+ will not only fund breakout short films, but also a BIPOC filmmaker from our shorts program will have the opportunity to make a feature length film with Creator+ every year.”

In addition to providing the budget, the company is actively supporting development, production and distribution. Advisors will award one filmmaker the life-changing opportunity to develop a feature film with Creator+. Moreover, Staff Me Up is enlisted as a partner to help rewrite the rules of hiring, as part of their Coded for Inclusion initiative.

Projects are currently in various stages of production with two already completed and several others beginning production May 2022 in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Pakistan. Creator+ will distribute the shorts at film festivals across the globe before premiering the shorts on its forthcoming platform or exploring additional distribution opportunities where applicable.

The inaugural class of emerging filmmakers include:

  • Gianfranco Fernández-Ruiz (he/him), (Writer/ Director) (Los Angeles, CA) Logline: JEROME (mid-teens) struggles with feelings of inadequacy when the annual Fathers and Sons event forces him to confront the absence of his own father; and he deals with it the only way he knows how—basketball.
  • Lynelle White (she/her), Writer/Director (Los Angeles, CA) Logline: HATCHBACK – Due to job losses in early 2020 caused by the pandemic, an African-American family of four is living out of their hatchback car until the next pay day arrives. The family dreams of just one night in a motel. But each passing day living unhoused and on the streets brings new disappointments, pushing that dream further and further out of reach.
  • Imran Siddiquee (they/them), Filmmaker & Writer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Logline:  THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US – An undocumented Bangladeshi immigrant starts to fall for a roommate she’s yet to meet — forming a connection that will test the limits of her romantic imagination.
  • Ari Groobman (he/him/they), Writer/Director/Producer (Los Angeles, CA) Logline: ESSENTIALLY AMY – Amy is a young Chinese American girl working at her local grocery store during the height of the pandemic. Amy must confront growing racism towards Asian Americans, while at home, she must mitigate her mother’s expectations and personal bias towards Black Americans. After a brutal assault, Amy and her family must reevaluate their perceptions, and Amy must come to terms with who she really is and what she really wants.
  • Mahnoor Euceph (she/her), Writer & Director (Los Angeles, CA) – Project will be filmed in Pakistan Logline: EID MUBARAK – A privileged six-year-old Pakistani girl embarks on a mission to save her beloved pet lamb from being eaten on the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, only to learn the meaning of sacrifice.
  • Vivian Johnson (she/her), Producer (Los Angeles, CA) Logline: BIENVENIDOS A LOS ANGELES – Inspired by true events, the film tells the timely story of Imani, a Tanzanian single-mother living in Los Angeles. When she offers to help a perfect stranger reunite with her son, Imani learns this simple act of kindness threatens to jeopardize her own path to citizenship.

Diego Boneta Signs Overall Deal with Prime Video

Diego Boneta is bringing his amigos to Amazon Prime Video

The 31-year-old Mexican actor, singer and producer and his production company Three Amigos have signed an overall deal with Prime Video.

Diego BonetaAs part of the deal, Boneta will produce and star in a full slate of shows in development while also creating movies, series, and reality shows coming to the streaming service beginning in 2023.

All new productions launched as part of this partnership will join Prime Video’s growing slate of Mexican Amazon Originals, along with the thousands of television shows and movies from Hollywood and around the world in the Prime Video catalog.

“We are excited to expand our relationship with Diego Boneta and the entire Three Amigos team,” said Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, in a statement to Deadline. “We can’t wait for our customers to see what’s in store from Diego and Three Amigos as we work to bring compelling new content to Prime Video’s audiences across Mexico and all around the world.”

“As a leading streaming service, Prime Video empowers the incredible creators we work with, and we could not be more excited to begin building new stories with Diego and his team,” said Alonso Aguilar, head of local Amazon Originals, Prime Video Mexico.

Boneta most recently wrapped a successful three-season run on the Telemundo/Netflix bio-series Luis Miguel: The Series, portraying the titular multi-Grammy-winning singer.

He also appeared in Rebelde90210Pretty Little Liars, Underemployed and Scream Queens.

His feature film debut was in 2012’s Rock of Ages from Adam Shankman. Other big-screen credits include The TitanTerminator: Dark FateLove, Weddings, & Other Disasters, and Die in a Gunfight.

Up next, Boneta will star opposite Andy Garcia, Gloria Estefan, Isabela Merced, and Adria Arjona in The Father of the Bride by director Gaz Alazraki. The film premieres on June 16, 2022.

Zoe Saldana to Receive “Star of the Year” Award at CinemaCon

Zoe Saldana is a shining star

The 43-year-old Puerto Rican and Dominican American actress will be among the honorees at CinemaCon’s Big Screen Achievement Awards.

Zoë SaldañaSaldana will receive a CinemaCon Star of the Year award as The Adam Project star prepares for the release of a slate of projects that includes a new David O. Russell filmKeyhole Garden, the Avatar franchise and a new Guardians of the Galaxy installment.

The Big Screen Achievement Awards will be held at CinemaCon headquarters at Caesars Palace on April 28 and will be hosted by Entertainment Tonight veteran Kevin Frazier from inside the Colosseum. The awards are designed to shine a spotlight on the big-screen achievements of actors and filmmakers.

Other honorees include Robert De NiroBilly Eichner, Abby Ryder Fortson and Glen Powell.

Additional honors are expected to be announced.

“CinemaCon may be the only time during the course of the year where the exhibition community gets to thank the creative world for providing the very best in the world of movies,” said Neuhauser. “Our roster of honorees this year represents an incredible scope of talent and to have one of the most legendary actors in the history of film being honored, that of course being Robert De Niro — well, it really doesn’t get better than that.”

The news comes just days before the big event that sees Hollywood studios and cinema operators gather in Las Vegas for the annual convention hosted by the National Association of Theatre Owners.

This year, all five major Hollywood studios plus Lionsgate and Neon will be touting their upcoming slates during their time on stage inside the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

CinemaCon, expected to draw upward of 6,000 guests, runs April 25-28. Partners this year include both the International Cinema Technology Association and National Association of Concessionaires.

Kat & Alex Release Spanish Country Single “Yo Quiero Amarte”

Kat & Alex are switching tongues…

The rising country duo, comprised of Cuban American wife Kat Luna and Puerto Rican husband Alex Georgia, have released “Yo Quiero Amarte.”

Kat Luna & Alex Georgia, Kat & AlexIt’s the Spanish-language rendition of the Nashville-based couple’s power ballad “I Want It All.”

The song is inspired by the couple’s wedding vows, and their powerful, pitch-perfect harmonies sound even tighter and more urgent en español.

The duo rose to national fame during their 2020 American Idol audition. All three judges were completely smitten by their chemistry and vocal prowess, advancing them to Hollywood.

Following the television singing competition, the newlywed singers signed a recording contract with Sony Music Nashville, a publishing deal with Warner Chappell, and management deal with The Artist Management Group (AMG), which formed by reputable industry professionals Rob Beckham and Bill Simmons, and is home to superstars Brad Paisley and Chris Young.

Kat & Alex are hoping to use their newfound fame to expand country music’s reach, especially among Latinos, by releasing music in Spanish.

Penélope Cruz Partnering with Mediapro Studio to Launch “Moonlyon” Production Label

Penélope Cruz is over the Moon(lyn)

The 47-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actress and producer has teamed up with The Mediapro Studio to launch production label Moonlyon.

Penelope Cruz

The company will produce premium non-fiction and dramatic content, the two parties said in a release, and will allow Cruz to increase her output behind the camera.

One of the most recognizable names in Spanish cinema, while also being a star in Hollywood, Cruz has teamed with Mediapro on multiple occasions before, including more recently starring in Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn’s Official Competition opposite Antonio Banderas. Further recent credits including Pedro Almodovar’s Parallel Mothers, which scored her an Oscar nomination.

The wider Mediapro group has 24 offices producing a wide variety of content for cinema and television.

“I have always been enthusiastic about telling new stories and contributing to the filmmaking process, so I decided to form Moonlyon with The Mediapro Studio,” said Penélope Cruz. “With more demand than ever for stories from diverse backgrounds and new parts of the world, I am very happy to be able to continue my work as a producer with a company that I know intimately and that has valuable international positioning experience. Our goal is for Moonlyon to become a quality benchmark with a personality of its own.”

“We are really happy. It is a privilege to be Penélope Cruz’s partner in this new adventure,” commented Laura Fernández Espeso, CEO of The Mediapro Studio. “We have been working with her for years and our relationship has grown very naturally. We will bring to MOONLYON our knowledge of the industry, our creativity, and our vision for a project that will form part of the international expansion strategy of the Studio.”