Aimee Carrero to Star in Searchlight’s Comedic Psychological Thriller “The Menu”

Aimee Carrero is ordering from the menu

The 33-year-old Dominican and Puerto Rican actress has joined the cast of Searchlight’s The Menu.

Aimee Carrero

The film, directed by Mark Mylod, is a darkly comedic psychological thriller set in the world of eccentric culinary culture, centering on a young couple who visit an exclusive restaurant on a remote island where an acclaimed chef has prepared a lavish tasting menu.

Previously announced cast includes Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph FiennesJohn LeguizamoNicholas Hoult, and Hong Chau.

Carrero has a long list of credits in both television and film. On the small screen, she’s appeared in The MentalistThe AmericansLevel Up, and Young & Hungry, among others. And in The Last Witch HunterAlvin and the Chipmunks: The SqueakquelHolidate, and most recently, Wander Darkly, for the big screen.

She’s most famously known for voicing Disney’s first Latina princess Elena of Avalor in the Disney Channel animated series of the same name, and for bringing to life the titular character in Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princess of Power.

Up next for Carrero is a recurring role in The Maid for Netflix set to be released October 1, and the as-yet-untitled The Boys spin-off for Amazon Prime Video.

John Leguizamo In Talks to Star Opposite Anya-Taylor Joy in Searchlight’s “The Menu”

John Leguizamo is reviewing The Menu

The 57-year-old Colombian actor/comedian is in final negotiations to join Searchlight’s The Menu from producers Adam McKay and Betsy Koch.

John Leguizamo

The film, directed by Mark Mylod, is a darkly comedic psychological thriller set in the world of eccentric culinary culture, centering on a young couple who visit an exclusive restaurant on a remote island where an acclaimed chef has prepared a lavish tasting menu.

Previously announced cast includes Anya Taylor-Joy, who will portray one-half of the young couple; Ralph Fiennes, who stars as the chef; as well as Nicholas Hoult and Hong Chau in unconfirmed roles.

The Emmy and Tony Award winner is a pioneering Latino actor, writer, producer, and playwright who began his career telling stories about his life growing up in New York City as part of the immigrant community and the colorful characters he met along the way in various comedy specials including 1991’s Mambo Mouth and 1993’s Spic-O-Rama.

Although he made his small screen debut in Miami Vice in the 1980s, he really made a splash with the 1995 sketch comedy series House of Buggin‘—known as the Latino In Living Color. Although it only ran for one season on Fox, creator, writer, and star Leguizamo—alongside costar Luis Guzman—broke ground for Latin Americans on TV.

Notable film credits include Carlito’s Way, To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie NewmarRomeo + JulietSummer of SamMoulin RougeIce Age, and John Wick.

He also directed and starred in the 2020 bio-drama Critical Thinking based on the real-life story of a Miami inner-city high school chess team that would go on to win the U.S. National Chess Championship.

He also appeared in Bloodline, WacoWhen They See Us, and The Mandalorian.

Leguizamo earned four Emmy nominations including one win in 1999 for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program for HBO’s Freak.

His lauded one-man Broadway show Latin American History For Morons about the contributions of Latinos to U.S. history was nominated for the 2018 Tony Award for Best Play. That year, he received a Special Tony honoring his body of work and his commitment to telling diverse stories on Broadway.

John Leguizamo’s “Dark Blood” Hitting American Theaters in September

John Leguizamo’s blood is boiling…

The 56-year-old Colombian actor/comedian’s crime movie Dark Blood has been picked up for distribution in North and South America by FilmRise.

John Leguizamo

The Spanish-language film, directed by Colombian filmmaker Harold Trompetero, follows a father imprisoned after committing a brutal revenge crime. During his confinement he must adapt to a new life of abuse, including injury and humiliation by guards and other prisoners. You can check out the film’s first trailer above.

The pact was negotiated by Katie Carroll, Manager, Independent Film Acquisition at FilmRise and Priscilla Ross Smith, CEO of recently-launched France-based sales firm The Coven. The deal gives FilmRise theatrical, digital and broadcast rights in North and Sound America.

The film will have its North American premiere this September coinciding with National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Danny Fisher, President and CEO at FilmRise, stated: “John Leguizamo’s performance in Dark Blood is a tour de force. The power, fear and compassion that Trompetero evokes through Leguizamo’s performance is a testament to his impressive directing skills. Dark Blood is an exceptional addition to FilmRise’s growing Spanish-language film collection.”

John Leguizamo to Star in the Off Broadway Streaming Production of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot”

There’s more waiting in John Leguizamo’s future…

The 56-year-old Colombian actor, stand-up comedian, producer, playwright and screenwriter will star opposite Ethan Hawke in an Off Broadway streaming production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, directed by Scott Elliott and premiering online on Tuesday, May 6.

John Leguizamo

The New Group production will co-star Wallace Shawn, Tarik Trotter and Drake Bradshaw.

Leguizamo will portray Estragon, Hawke will play Vladimir.

The production is the first in a new venture called The New Group Off Stage, from The New Group in association with John Ridley’s Nō Studios and Frank Marshall.

“This project is the epitome of what we mean by ’theatrical expressions in different media’: bringing together top tier artists across disciplines – film, television, stage, music – to collaborate in a hybrid, on-screen world, finding a way to make a play newly alive for themselves,” said Elliott, Artistic Director of The New Group. “It was a unique and singularly meaningful experience for all of us.”

The New Group describes the production as an “experimental exploration of a storied play” that “combines theatrical invention and innovative filmmaking.”

Waiting for Godot will be co-produced by MiLa Media, with production design by Derek McLane and costume design by Qween Jean. Director of Photography is Kramer Morgenthau.

Waiting for Godot will premiere online o Thursday, May 6 at 7:00 pm ET, and will be available to stream at www.thenewgroup.org.

Tickets can be purchased for 72-hour or seven-day rentals.

Gerrison Machado to Star in Amazon Prime’s Global Thriller “The Power”

Gerrison Machado has the power

The Brazilian American actor has been cast in Amazon Prime Video’s The Power, a 10-part global thriller based on Naomi Alderman’s bestselling novel of the same name.

The project hails Chernobyl producer Sister and Emmy-winning The Handmaids Tale director Reed Morano.

Machado, who will be a series regular, joins a cast of newcomers that includes Rob DelaneyAlice EveEdwina Findley, Arichi Rush, Pietra Castro and Zrinka Cvitešić.

In The Power all teenage girls in the world suddenly develop the power to electrocute people at will. It’s hereditary, it’s inbuilt, and it can’t be taken away from them. The Power follows a cast of remarkable characters from London to Seattle, Nigeria to Moldova, as the Power evolves from a tingle in teenagers’ collarbones to a complete reversal of the power balance of the world.

In addition to Machado, Rush, Castro and Cvitešić join The Power cast as series regulars.

Delaney, Eve and Findley will recur as Tom, Kristen and Helen, respectively.

The newly added stars will act opposite Tim Robbins, Leslie Mann, John Leguizamo, Eddie Marson, Daniela Vega and Auli’i Cravalho.

Also joining the cast in recurring roles are Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Sam Buchanan, Juliet Cowan and Simbi Ajikawo (aka Little Simz.)

Edward James Olmos to Take Part in Biden Inaugural Committee’s “Latino Inaugural 2021: Inheritance, Resilience, and Promise” Event

Edward James Olmos is preparing to celebrate the resilience and promise of the Latino community in the United States…

President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee has announced a Tuesday night event, featuring the 73-year-old Mexican American actor, director, producer, and activist, that shines a spotlight on the Latino community.

Edward James Olmos

Entitled Latino Inaugural 2021: Inheritance, Resilience, and Promise, the event will be hosted by Eva Longoria.

It will feature appearances by Olmos, Lin-Manuel Miranda, John Leguizamo, Rita Moreno, Ivy Queen and Becky G.

There also will be performances from Gilberto Santa Rosa and Gaby Moreno, featuring David Garza, Emilio Estefan and All-Star Tejanos UnitedStefani Montiel, Jose Posada, Shelly Lares, DJ Kane and Mariachi Nuevo Santander from Roma High School.

Emilio Estefan produced a performance of One World, One Prayer by the Wailers, featuring Skip Marley, Farruko, Shaggy and Cedella Marley.

The event will take palace on Tuesday, January 19 at 9:30 pm ET

 

It’s part of a series of events that will highlight the nation’s diversity, including the AAPI Inaugural Ball: Breaking Barriers, celebrating the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities; and We Are One, celebrating Black Americans.

Tanya Saracho Among Top TV & Film Creators Demanding More Latinx Representation in Hollywood

Tanya Saracho is calling for more Latinx representation in Hollywood…

The Mexican playwright, screenwriter and actress is among some of the top creators in television and film who are demanding for change when it comes to Latinx representation as Hispanic Heritage Months comes to an end.

Tanya Saracho

In an open letter to Hollywood more than 270 Latinx showrunners, creators, and television and feature writers, including Saracho, Lin-Manuel MirandaGloria Calderon-Kellett, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Steven Canals, John Leguizamo, Linda Yvette-Chavez, Carolina Paiz, Marco Ramirez, Javier Grillo-Marxuach and more are calling for systemic change in the entertainment industry.

The letter begins: “As we come to the end of Hispanic Heritage Month in the midst of a global pandemic and continued racial injustice, many of us in the Latinx community have found it difficult to celebrate. Inspired by the activism of the Black and Indigenous communities, many of whom also identify as Latinx, we stand in solidarity with our fellow Black, Native and Indigenous writers, co-signing their WGAW Open Letters and echoing their demands for systemic change in our industry.”

“As Latinx Showrunners, Creators, TV and Feature Writers, we are incensed by the continued lack of Latinx representation in our industry, especially among the Black and Indigenous members of our community,” the letter continues. “Our stories are important, and our erasure onscreen contributes to the persistent prejudice that prevents real change in this country. This prejudice is not as overt as the one that keeps immigrant children in cages and separates families at the border, or as violent as the racism that is killing our Black, Brown, and Indigenous community members at the hands of police.”

“But when we are onscreen, we’re often relegated to stereotypes or villains. And as a recent​ ​New York Times OpEd​ states, ‘White elites cannot muffle a huge, vibrant community for decades and not expect consequences. For Latinos in the Trump era, these consequences are deadly, from Hurricane Maria to the Walmart shooting in El Paso and the pandemic, as well as soaring hate crimes.’”

The letter points out that the Latinx community makes up 18.3% of the U.S. population but it is not reflected in film and TV. There are only 4.7% feature writers and 8.7% TV writers that are Latinx. As Latinx writers move up to Showrunner level, the stats only get more dismal. “By refusing to tell our stories AND by refusing to put us in charge of telling them — Hollywood power brokers are complicit in our exclusion,” the letter remarks.

This is even further supported by a recent study from CAA and Parrot Analytics, which shows that even though television shows are a lot more diverse than they were three years ago, not all racial and ethnic groups were equally well represented in scripted debuts. Latinos and Hispanics remain significantly underrepresented despite being one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country.

While there are shows like One Day At A Time that having managed to get multiple season orders, there have been other Latino-fronted shows in the past years, like The Baker and the Beauty and United We Fall — that have been canceled before getting the chance to find their footing beyond one season.

The letter can be summarized with three words included heavily throughout: “We are tired.”

The open letter does not mince words with the demands and draws out exactly what needs to be done including creating stories for and about the Latinx community by Latinx creators; greenlighting Latinx-fronted projects; respecting all aspects and intersections of the Latinx cultural representation; and hiring Latinx creators for non-Latinx projects.

The letter, which was posted on social channels with the hashtag #EndLatinXclusion, closes with “Stories are powerful. Stories change the world. Let’s get on the right side of history so we can continue to create needed change and tell captivating stories together.”

This initiative was launched by the Untitled Latinx Project (ULP) founded by Saracho. It’s an all-Latina advocacy group formed to increase representation of Latinx created stories for television. The goal of this call to action was uniting the professional community of Latinx writers, creators and showrunners.

Read the letter in full here.

John Leguizamo to Take Part in Upcoming CBS Special “Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event”

John Leguizamo is helping to honor this year’s coronavirus pandemic warriors…

The 56-year-old Colombian actor and stand-up comedian will take part in CBS’ upcoming special Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event. 

John Leguizamo

Leguizamo is among a roster of new additions to the special that includes José Andrés, Arturo Castro, John Leguizamo, George Lopez, Isabela Merced, Rita Moreno, Ana Navarro, Freddy Rodriguez and Wilmer Valderrama.

 

The event will be produced and hosted by Eva Longoria. Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan are also set to co-host.

 

The star-studded lineup will join the show, created by Henry R. Muñoz III and directed by Ron de Moraes, to celebrate Latinx culture while also shedding light on those in the community that have been heavily impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic and those who play an essential role in fighting COVID-19.

Apart from the array of Latinx voices speaking at the event, the event will also feature musical performances, comedy pieces and docu-shorts aimed to spread awareness on the Latinx experience.

 

The special follows Longoria’s recent launch of a lifestyle site for the Latina community, She Se Puede, that covers fashion, health, culture and voting.

 

Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event will broadcast Monday, October 26 from 9:00-10:00pm, ET/PT on the CBS Television Network. Audiences can also stream the event live and on demand on CBS All Access.

HBO Latino’s “Habla Now,” Featuring Diane Guerrero, to Kick-Off the New York Latino Film Festival’s First-Ever Drive-In Showings

Diane Guerrero’s hitting the festival circuit…

The New York Latino Film Festival (NYLFF) has announced the lineup for the fest’s forthcoming hybrid edition, with HBO Latino’s Habla Now, featuring the 34-year-old Colombian American actress and author, as the Opening Night drive-in feature.

Diane Guerrero

The documentary special, the 15th installment of HBO Latino’s award-winning “Habla” series, features testimonials from US Latinos – celebrities, recognized professionals, and everyday Latinos – who share honest stories about being Latino in the U.S.

In addition to Guerrero, the storytellers include Arturo Castro, Nely Galan, Amara La Negra, Cristina Jimenez, Ozzie Areu, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Edgardo Miranda Rodriguez, Mark Hugo Lopez, Mariana Atencio, Laurie Hernandez, Justina Machado, Diane Guerrero, Carmen Carrera, José Andrés and many more.

In addition, Angel Manuel Soto’s Charm City Kings will have its New York premiere at the fest.

Produced by Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and James Lassiter, with a story by Oscar winner Barry Jenkins, Charm City Kings marks the feature directorial debut follows the journey of 14-year-old Mouse who desperately wants to join the Midnight Clique, an infamous group of Baltimore dirt-bike riders who rule the summertime streets.

John Leguizamo’s Critical Thinkingwill also make its New York premiere. The film tells the true story of five Latinx and Black teenagers from Miami Jackson Senior High School who fight their way into the National Chess Championship under the guidance of their unconventional but inspirational teacher.

This year’s virtual NYLFF will take place from September 14-20.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, festivals around the world have either canceled or pivoted to an entirely virtual program. NYLFF is one of the Latinx-based fests that continued with plans for the annual fest with the appropriate changes.

The 21st edition will be a combination of virtual events and in-person screenings that celebrate Latinx creators.

The fest will also host the first Latino drive-in experience to take place both in New York and in The Bronx.

This year’s festival features nearly 75 films representing more than 10 countries, spanning all genres including features, shorts, documentaries, web series and experimental films.

“Inspired by the resilience of the Latino community, NYLFF is proud to return with a fresh format featuring our first-ever drive-in experiences,” said Calixto Chinchilla, founder of NYLFF. “We are proud to serve as an important platform for Latino creatives to share culturally relevant stories about intersectionality, diversity, and lived experiences in this country. Gracias to our sponsors for continuing to support our community of content creators and movie-goers. While there’s much learned this year, one thing we can all agree, the culture continues!”

Click here the complete lineup for this year’s NYLFF.

Vertical Entertainment Acquires North American Rights to John Leguizamo’s Feature Directorial Debut “Critical Thinking”

It’s the perfect endgame for John Leguizamo

Vertical Entertainment has acquired the North American rights to the 56-year-old Colombian actor/comedian’s feature directorial debut Critical Thinking, which he also stars in and produced.

John Leguizamo

Written by Dito MontielCritical Thinkingtells the 1998 true story of five LatinX and Black teenagers from Miami Jackson Senior High School, located in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Miami, who fight their way into the National Chess Championship under the guidance of their unconventional but inspirational teacher. 

The movie will hit VOD/digital on September 4.

“In today’s fractured society with so many disenfranchised young adults, in our country and around the world, this is a story which can and will inspire all of us to do better, keep focused and stay positive,” said Leguizamo. “With Critical Thinkingwe wanted to create a universal message of hope and spread this message to the world.”

“Given the challenges that many are facing right now, it gives the team at Vertical great pleasure to bring a story this inspiring to screens everywhere,” said Rich Goldberg, co-president of Vertical Entertainment. “It’s a story that celebrates young people who were brave enough to believe in themselves, and we hope audiences will walk away feeling the same.”

Rachel Bay Jones and Michael Kenneth Williams also star in the feature. 

The film was produced by Scott Rosenfelt and Jason Mandl, as well as executive produced by Harvey R. ChaplinCarla Berkowitz and Emilio Estefan Jr.