Elizabeth Rodriguez to Star Opposite Jimmy Smits in CBS’ Police Drama Pilot “East New York”

Elizabeth Rodriguez is hittin’ the beat…

The 41-year-old Puerto Rican actress and former Orange is the New Black star will star opposite Jimmy Smits and Amanda Warren in the CBS police drama pilot East New York.

Elizabeth RodriguezCo-written by William Finkelstein and Mike Flynn and directed by Mike Robin, the project centers on Regina Haywood (Warren), the newly promoted deputy inspector of East New York, an impoverished, working-class neighborhood at the eastern edge of Brooklyn. She leads a diverse group of officers and detectives, some of whom are reluctant to deploy her creative methods of serving and protecting during the midst of social upheaval and the early seeds of gentrification.

Rodriguez will portray Crystal Morales, an intuitive detective who is not easily intimidated. She closely guards her private life, making her an object of endless speculation.

In addition to Warren and Smits, they join previously announced series regulars Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Richard Kind, Lavel Schley and Olivia Luccardi.

Warner Bros. Television is the studio.

Rodriguez played Aleida Diaz on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, for which she received three consecutive SAG Awards. She was a series regular on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead, NBC’s Prime Suspect and Cinemax’s Blanco.

Rodriguez most recently completed a starring role in the feature film Allswell, which she also co-wrote and co-produced.

Jimmy Smits to Star in CBS’ Cop Series Pilot “East New York”

Jimmy Smits is officially on the beat

The 66-year-old half-Puerto Rican actor and NYPD Blue alum has been cast as the male lead opposite Amanda Warren in CBS’ hourlong cop-series pilot East New York.

Jimmy SmitsCo-written by William Finkelstein and Mike Flynn and directed by Mike Robin, the project centers on Regina Haywood (Warren), the newly promoted deputy inspector of East New York, an impoverished, working-class neighborhood at the eastern edge of Brooklyn. She leads a diverse group of officers and detectives, some of whom are reluctant to deploy her creative methods of serving and protecting during the midst of social upheaval and the early seeds of gentrification.

Smits will play three-star Chief John Suarez, whose experience, commanding presence and strong moral center helps oversee the melding of communities and the precincts that serve them.

The Emmy-winning actor has a personal connection to the project. Born in Brooklyn, Smits grew up around the East New York section of the borough and went to school there. Additionally, East New York reunites Smits with Finkelstein, with whom he worked on NYPD Blue, and with Robin, who was a director-producer on the Smits-starring series, NYPD Blue and L.A. Law.

Warner Bros. Television is the studio.

Smits, who won an Emmy for L.A. Law, recently was recently seen in the feature adaptation of In the Heights. His series credits also include Sons of Anarchy and Dexter.

Warner Bros. to Release Anthony Ramos’ “In The Heights” on June 11

Anthony Ramos’ moment in the heights to happen a week earlier…

Warner Bros.’ has announced plans to release the Jon M. Chu-directed feature musical In The Heights, starring the 29-year-old Puerto Rican actor/singer on June 11, a week earlier than previously scheduled.

Anthony Ramos in In The Heights

The movie, the feature adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría HudesTony Award-winning musical, recently dropped a new trailer.

In the Heights is set in the titular Latinx community of New York City’s bustling Washington Heights. When the neighborhood’s charismatic local bodega owner, and the film’s humble narrator, finally decides to fulfill his dream of going to the island his parents called home, his departure will change his beloved block forever.

In the Heights stars Ramos, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Melissa Barrera, Olga Merediz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Gregory Diaz IV, Stephanie Beatriz, Dascha Polanco and icon Jimmy Smits.

The film was originally scheduled to be released last summer before COVID-19 pushed it to this year.

Juan Pablo Di Pace to Take Part in Project Angel Food’s COVID-19 Emergency Telethon, ‘Lead With Love’

Juan Pablo Di Pace is ready to take your call… all for a great cause.

Project Angel Food will be holding a special telethon this Saturday, June 27, with the 40-year-old Argentinian actor/singer and Fuller House scene-stealer set to man the phones.

Juan Pablo Di Pace

The Lead With Love: Project Angel Food Emergency Telethon will air from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm PT on KTLA 5in Los Angeles and stream live on the channel’s website and on the Project Angel Food page.

The goal is to raise $500,000 to support Project Angel Food’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, set up for increased needs due to the coronavirus. In the past two months, the organization has gone from serving 1,600 people a day, to serving 2,000 people a day.

Along with a mix of in-studio and virtual appearances, the telethon will include a live phone bank where callers can talk to celebrity guests, including Di Pace, Jonathan AdamsJoely FisherRachel LindsayPeter Porte, Charlie CarverLawrence ZarianSasha Roiz and Lauren Tom

Scheduled performers include Annie LennoxKristin Chenoweth and Kelly Clarkson, with Eric McCormackSheryl Lee Ralph and Jessica Holmes hosting.

Other performers include Cee Lo GreenDeborah Cox and Billy Idol, and the event will include appearances by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Elton JohnJamie Lee CurtisSharon Stone, Marie OsmondZachary LeviPauley PerretteMarianne WilliamsonJohn GoodmanValerie BertinelliMarlee MatlinOlivia Newton-JohnKelly OsbourneMargaret ChoCharoDanny TrejoMatt Bomer,Cheryl TiegsTyler HenryCarson Kressley,Eileen DavidsonChrissy MetzSandra LeeLisa RinnaHarry HamlinJimmy SmitsVictoria PrincipalYvette Nicole BrownLoni LoveChaz DeanSasha Alexander, Ron Cey and Josh Flagg.

The event is being presented by City National Bank, and executive producer is Brad BesseyLisa Foxx will serve as announcer and auctioneer Gabriel Butu will be the money man.

Founded in 1989 during the AIDS crisis, Project Angel Food medically tailored meals to people with life-threatening illnesses, including those who are at high risk for COVID-19.

“This event will blend the best nostalgic elements from the Jerry Lewis Telethon with the modern virtual fundraisers of today,” Project Angel Food executive director Richard Ayoub said in a statement.

Click here for more information on the event and learn how to donate.

NBC Orders Six Additional Scripts of Jimmy Smits’ Legal Drama “Bluff City Law”

There’s more bluff in Jimmy Smits’ future…

NBC has ordered six additional scripts for its new legal drama Bluff City Law starring the 64-year-old half-Puerto Rican actor.

Jimmy Smits

Bluff City Law, from The Brave creator Dean Georgaris and producer David Janollari, has an initial order for 10 episodes, three less than the standard 13-episode broadcast pickups, as networks continue to tinker with order sizes to accommodate their scheduling needs.

Co-created by Georgaris and Michael Aguilar and written by Georgaris, Bluff City Lawis a character-driven drama that follows the lawyers of an elite Memphis firm that specializes in the most controversial landmark civil rights cases. 

Led by legendary lawyer Elijah Strait (Smits) and his brilliant daughter, Sydney Keller (Caitlin McGee), they take on the toughest David-and-Goliath cases while navigating their complicated relationship.

It’s Smits’ return to the legal drama… He previously starred in L.A. Law.

NBC Picks Up Jimmy Smits’ Legal Drama “Bluff City Law” to Series

Jimmy Smits is Bluffingit all the way back to a television near you…

NBC has picked up to series the Memphis legal drama Bluff City Law, starring the 63-year-old Puerto Rican actor.

Jimmy Smits

The project hails from The Brave creator Dean Georgaris and producer David Janollari

Co-created by Georgaris and Michael Aguilar and written by Georgaris, Bluff City Law is a character-driven drama, about which you can find more if you visit website, that follows the lawyers of an elite Memphis firm that specializes in the most controversial landmark civil rights cases. Led by legendary lawyer Elijah Strait (Smits) and his brilliant daughter, Sydney Keller (Caitlin McGee), they take on the toughest David-and-Goliath cases while navigating their complicated relationship.

This marks Smits’ return to NBC and the legal drama arena. He has starred in three previous NBC series: legal dramas L.A. Law and Outlaw as well as White Housedrama The West Wing.  

Launching a new hit legal drama series has been a priority for NBC. Recent attempts included the Chicago Justice spinoff from the Chicago franchise.

In addition to Smits and McGee, the cast includes Scott ShepherdBarry SloaneMichael Luwoye, MaameYaa BoafoStony Blydenand Jayne Atkinson.

Georgaris will write and executive produce. Aguliar and Janollari will executive produce.

Bluff City Lawis produced by Universal Televisionin association with David Janollari Entertainment.

Netflix to Premiere Part II of Guardiola’s “The Get Down” in April

Herizen F. Guardiola is ready to get down all over again…

Netflix has set an April 7 return date for The Get Down Part II, the follow-up to the premiere season of the Baz Luhrmann and Stephen Adly Guirgis hip-hop musical drama starring the 20-year-old half-Cuban American actress.

Herizen F. Guardiola

“Gonna take our music from minor to major league,” says a voice-over on the new clip announcing the return date. Set in the late-1970s South Bronx and focusing on six gifted kids at the forefront of the hip-hop musical revolution, The Get Down premiered last August with six episodes and a cast including Jimmy Smits, Justice Smith, Shameik Moore, Skylan Brooks, Jaden Smith, T.J. Brown Jr. and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.

Part II is set in 1978, a year after the events of the debut season. With disco reigning supreme, a new, as-yet-unnamed genre is burgeoning, with young lovers Books (Justice Smith) and Mylene (Guardiola) caught up in the “looming cultural revolution,” as Netflix puts it. “Amidst the backdrop of a bankrupt New York City, ruthless gangsters and money-hungry record label bosses, they discover it’s only their creativity and love that will carry them through – and that they’ll sacrifice everything for their music, and each other,” says Netflix.

Smits to Make Cameo Appearance in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

Jimmy Smits is going Rogue

The 61-year-old Puerto Rican actor and Star Wars alum has confirmed that he’ll be appearing in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Jimmy Smits

Smits, who played Bail Organa in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, confirmed on The Talk that he’ll show up in Rogue One.

“Can you say the word cameo?” he said laughing. “Can you say the words small part?”

Star Wars fans will know that Bail Organa was the adoptive father to Princess Leia. He also bit the dust in A New Hope after the Death Star blows up the planet Alderaan. However, since Rogue One takes place before A New Hope, Smits’ character has yet to meet his end and is presumably working with the rest of the growing Rebel Alliance.

This won’t be the first time that Smits has returned to his Star Wars role. He offered his voice to the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video game back in 2008.

Peña Lands Series Regular Role on Fox’s Pilot “24: Legacy”

Coral Peña is building her Hollywood legacy

The Latina actress has been cast as a series regular opposite Miranda Otto and Corey Hawkins in Fox’s pilot 24: Legacy, a reboot of the network’s iconic 24 franchise with brand new characters and cast.

Coral Peña

Written by 24 veterans Manny Coto and Evan Katz and directed by Stephen Hopkins, who helmed the original 24 pilot, 24: Legacy chronicles military hero Eric Carter’s (Hawkins) return to the U.S. and the trouble that follows him back – compelling him to ask CTU for help in saving his life, and stopping what potentially could be one of the largest-scale terror attacks on American soil.

Bucatinsky will play Andy, a communication analyst at CTU who has enjoyed Rebecca’s (Otto) trust and is unhappily paired with bright, young, self-taught computer analyst Gia (Pena).

She joins previously announced cast members Teddy Sears, Anna Diop and Jimmy Smits.

Peña, a Hollywood newcomer, previously appeared on CBSBlue Bloods.

Smits to Star in Baz Luhrmann’s Netflix Music-Driven Drama “The Get Down”

Jimmy Smits really knows how to get down…

The 59-year-old Puerto Rican actor has been tapped for a key role in Baz Luhrmann’s music-driven drama The Get Down for Netflix.

Jimmy Smits

Set in 1970s New York City, the series — a long-time passion project for Luhrmann — revolves around a ragtag crew of South Bronx teenagers who are wild in the streets — nothings and nobodies with no one to shelter them, except one another.

Smits will portray Francisco Cruz, aka “Papa Fuerte,” a South Bronx political boss who delivers services the City fails to provide – jobs, housing, healthcare, etc. A big man with brass, he navigates downtown politics the same way he handles his uptown turf – with ease and a touch of deception. Whether it’s his niece’s desire for disco stardom or a recent immigrant’s struggle to grab a hold of the American dream, if you want something in the neighborhood, you come to Papa Fuerte.

“The Puerto Rican culture of the ’70’s Bronx plays such a large role in the story we are telling that the character of Papa Fuerte had to be played by an actor who could bring experience, gravitas and authenticity to the role,” said Luhrmann. “I know our entire cast is excited to have someone of Jimmy’s talent joining us on the journey we are undertaking. We are thrilled to have him on The Get Down.”

The setup of The Get Down — the story of how 1970s New York City on the brink of bankruptcy gave birth to hip-hop, punk and disco told through the lives and music of several South Bronx teenagers — is familiar territory for Smits. Brooklyn born-and-raised, Smits, who is of Puerto Rican descent, spent his teens and early 20s in the city during the 1970s.

Following his role as pimp Nero Padilla on FX’s Sons of Anarchy, the Emmy-winning actor was offered multiple broadcast pilots this past season but opted to stay in the cable/digital space, leading to his casting on The Get Down, a project to which he immediately responded.

The 13-episode series from Luhrmann, Shawn Ryan and Sony Pictures Television, will debut in all Netflix territories in 2016.