Pablo Larraín to Direct Angelina Jolie in Biopic About Opera Legend Maria Callas

Pablo Larraín has lined up his next biopic…

The 46-year-old Chilean filmmaker will direct Maria, a biopic about the life of American-born Greek soprano Maria Callas as his next feature, and he’s locked in Academy Award-winner Angelina Jolie in the starring role.

Pablo LarraínBased on true accounts, the film will tell the tumultuous, beautiful and tragic story of the world’s greatest opera singer, relived and reimagined during her final days in 1970s Paris.

The film was written by Oscar-nominee Steven Knight, who wrote Larraín’s Princess Diana biopic Spencer. The filmmaker’s brother and creative partner Juan de Dios Larraín will produce for Fabula Pictures, alongside Lorenzo Mieli for The Apartment Pictures, a Fremantle Company, and Jonas Dornbach for Komlizen Film.

“Having the chance to combine my two most deep and personal passions, cinema and opera, has been a long-awaited dream,” said Larraín. “To do this with Angelina, a supremely brave and curious artist, is a fascinating opportunity. A true gift.”

“I take very seriously the responsibility to Maria’s life and legacy. I will give all I can to meet the challenge,” added Jolie. “Pablo Larraín is a director I have long admired. To be allowed the chance to tell more of Maria’s story with him, and with a script by Steven Knight, is a dream.”

Larraín is best known for features including Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, and Jackie, which had Natalie Portman portraying Jackie Kennedy.

He also directed and executive produced the Apple series Liseys’ Story, based on the Stephen King novel. Other notable directorial credits include Ema, Neruda, The Club and No.

Prime Video to Premiere Armando Bo’s FIFA Gate-Themed Docuseries “El Presidente: The Corruption Game” in November

Armando Bo’s look into how a Brazilian man wrestled control from Europe of the biggest sport on earth is headed to Prime Video.

Amazon will release the 43-year-old Argentine Oscar-winning screenwriter and film director’s Amazon Original El Presidente: The Corruption Game on November 4.

Armando Bo's Amazon Original El Presidente: The Corruption GameBo’s Latin American series focuses on João Havelange.

In a neat historical echo, backed by Bo’s About Entertainment, Narcos producer Gaumont TV, Pablo and Juan de Dios Larraín’s Fabula and Argentine powerhouse Kapow, the second season in the El Presidente series saga of soccer business high jinks and low morals now looks set to become one of the biggest soccer titles released in the countdown to the greatest show on earth, the FIFA World Cup.

Whether FIFA will be entirely comfortable with it is another matter, if a trailer, shared in exclusivity with Variety, is anything to go by.

One of Iberseries’ biggest market premieres, El Presidente: The Corruption Game had its world premiere of its first two episodes on October 14 at this year’s reinvigorated Festival do Rio.

Season 1 turned on the feckless, sly, amoral but simpático Sergio Jadue, a Chilean small town soccer club supremo who’s elected president of Chile’s soccer association. The wrong man in the right place, a fish out of water, he rises in FIFA’s hierarchy, sparking FIFA Gate, a $150 million corruption scandal. Bo tells the story as ironic farce.

Now narrated by Jadue, The President: The Corruption Game teases out the human tragedy in a still arch comedy, which unspools on a far grander scale.

It takes on another extraordinary – but far more towering – figure, Brazil’s Havelange, FIFA president over 1974-98. A hulking giant with dashing blond looks, Havelange dedicated his life to serving Brazil – swimming in the 1936 Berlin Games, working as the vice-president of the Brazilian Sports Confederation from 1958 to 1973, when Brazil won three World Cups – and to serving himself from FIFA’s gravy train.

Glimpsed in the trailer, colorful scenes kick off El Presidente: The Corruption Game with Havelange fuming as Pele is literally kicked out of the first round of England’s 1966 Word Cup, Havelange, the son of a Belgian arms dealer, is outraged by a FIFA meeting where “third world” members are forced to sit in a different room from their European colleagues.

In 1974, as Johan Cruyff forged the modern game on-field, Havelange began to revolutionize its economics and reach – central events in the second season.

Seizing control of FIFA from Sir Stanley Rous, a neo-colonial buffer, over the next 24 years, he created soccer’s modern global business, powered by sponsorship and TV deals, while enlarging the World Cup to 32 teams and introducing a FIFA Women’s World Cup.

But Havelange did so at a tremendous cost, opening FIFA up to multi-million bribery and money laundering and losing his friends, family and honor when he fell into final total disgrace over the 2015-16 FIFA Gate at the age of 98.

El Presidente: The Corruption Game, a mixture of near doc recreation and self-declared fiction, begins with a doddery Havelange, now celebrating his 100th birthday. Only one guest accepts his invitation.

Much of this is caught in the fast-paced, extensive trailer. Havelange used Brazil’s stunning 1970 World Cup triumph to bid to become FIFA president. He is rebuffed by Europe’s still colonial FIFA members. “Even if Brazil wins 100 World Cups, decisions will never be made in the colonies,” FIFA general secretary Helmut Kässer tells him.

Havelange launches an extraordinary play for the votes of poor countries, winning them by his promises, backhanders and a tour of Africa with Pele.

“FIFA is entering the future,” Havelange announces in the trailer. Nobody transformed soccer more off the field more than he did. It wasn’t all for the better.

Dolores Heredia to Star on Season Two of Lionsgate+’s “Señorita 89”

Dolores Heredia has landed a (god)mother of a role…

The 56-year-old Mexican actress has been added to the cast of Lionsgate+’s Señorita 89, which has been renewed for a second season.

Dolores Heredia Heredia will be joined by Yoshira Escárrega as a series regular on the new season, with production kicking off on October 17 in Mexico City.

Heredia will portray La Madrina, mother of the cartels, who sees power and influence in Jocelyn (Leidi Gutiérrez), and Yoshira Escárrega as Maribel Montaño, who is known as La Santa because the night they found her with her victim’s eyes in her hands, they say the dead man could still see.

In the first season of Señorita 89, Isabel (Natasha Dupeyrón) was crowned; Dolores died (Bárbara López); Elena (Ximena Romo) went into exile and Concepción’s (Ilse Salas) La Encantada empire fell apart.

When Season 2 premieres, the ‘90s are in full swing and the two main TV networks in Mexico find themselves in a war to impose the next queen. While Miss Yucatan (Dupeyrón) tries to keep the crown atop her head, unbeknown to most, there’s a revolution brewing in the depths of the country where there’s a new queen looking to shake things up and change the rules of the game.

In addition to Salas, Romo, Dupeyrón, and Gutiérrez, returning cast members include Juan Manuel BernalLuis Ernesto FrancoEdwarda GurrolaCoty CamachoJuan Carlos Vives, and Aida López.

“After the incredible reception of the first season, both in Mexico and the rest of the world, it was an immense joy to receive the confirmation that there would be a second season,” said Lucia Puenzo, showrunner and writer of the series. “In the second season, our protagonists have understood that nothing is achieved by asking for forgiveness or permission. They are ready to set fire to all limits, borders, privileges… and break once and for, all the stereotypes that say that only princesses have the right to exist.”

Season 1 of the Lionsgate+ Original Series became the top-performing series ever on the service in Mexico – with viewership increasing more than 243% from the premiere episode to the finale, according to the streamer.

Señorita 89 pulled back the curtain on some of the truths and challenges women faced in the ’80s, and we saw viewers wanting more week-over-week,” said Jeff Cooke, Senior Vice President, Programming, International Digital Networks for Starz. “We are thrilled to team up again with Lucia Puenzo and Fabula, to continue the impactful storytelling and its relevancy in today’s modern world that reinforces our commitment to co-producing local and culturally relevant content.”

This eight-episode second season is executive produced by Pablo Larraín, Juan de Dios Larraín, Ángela Poblete, and Mariane Hartard from Fabula and Christian Vesper at Fremantle; written by Lucía Puenzo, who is also a director, María Renée Prudencio and Tatiana Mereñuk; and directed by Nicolás Puenzo, Sílvia Quer and Jimena Montemayor.

Fremantle will handle the International distribution of the series.

Daniel Brühl to Star in Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s Thriller “Rich Flu”

Daniel Brühl’s acting riches continue…

The 43-year-old half-Spanish actor has joined the cast of the Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia directed thriller, Rich Flu, alongside Macaulay Culkin.

Daniel BruhlRosamund Pike is attached to star in the film, which is expected to begin production in the fall.

In the film, a strange disease is killing off some of the richest and most influential people on the planet. First it was the billionaires, then the multi-millionaires and so on progressively. Now it threatens to strike anyone with any sort of fortune, and no one knows where it might end. With the whole world panicking and our very way of life headed for collapse, people are trying to flood the market with assets the world no longer wants.

Pedro Rivero, Gaztelu-Urrutia and David Desola wrote the screenplay with revisions by Sam Steiner.

Sierra/Affinity is handling foreign sales and has the project available to buyers at this year’s Cannes Film Market. CAA Media Finance is representing the film domestically.

Producers on Rich Flu include Pablo Larraín and Juan de Dios Larraín via their Fabula banner, which produced the movies Spencer, Jackieand No; Adrián Guerra and Núria Valls via the Nostromo Pictures label; Carlos Juárez; as well as Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia and Albert Soler.

Brühl, who will next star in Stefano Mordini’s racing film 2 Win, was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the BAFTAs for Ron Howard’s Rush

His previous feature credits include The King’s Man, Captain America: Civil War, Inglourious Basterds and the Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Pantaya Releases First-Look Trailer for Lucía Puenzo’s New Series “Señorita 89”

Lucía Puenzo is preparing for a little pageantry

Pantaya has released the official first-look trailer and teaser key art for the Argentine author, screenwriter and film director’s Señorita 89, one of the most anticipated of series from Latin America in 2022,

Lucía PuenzoPuenzo’s new series will premiere in the U.S. on February 27.

Produced by Academy Award winners Pablo and Juan de Dios Larraín and Fabula, PantayaStarzplay and Fremantle, “Señorita 89” is showrun by Puenzo, who is rapidly emerging as one of the Latin America’s foremost film and television writer-directors after La Jauría, first fruit of a first-look deal between Fabula and Fremantle.

La Jauría drilled down on multiple forms of sexual abuse, powered by a thriller format. Señorita 89 looks as if it might do the same but in a far different context, exposing the unseen and unseemly reality behind the glamor of a 1989 Miss Mexico beauty pageant.

The drama thriller is set in a seeming paradise, La Encantada estate in wooded Mexican hills where 32 beauty queens arrive for three-months of grooming before competing for become Miss Mexico.

The paradise soon becomes a living hell. Some of this hell’s circles are teased in this first look, as well as its disruptive and often very human passions – carnal, romantic, narcotic – and a plush high style which forefronts, however, restrictive framing, whether gateways, passages and corridors.

Also introduced, however briefly, is a top notch Mexican-Chilean cast playing what looks like the series’ main characters: Miss Guerrero (Bárbara López), with a perfect body and self-destructive bent; Miss Chihuahua (Leidi Gutiérrez), who grew up working in a sweat shop; Elena (Ximena Romo), a brilliant post-grad student brought in to teach the girls culture; and above all, Concepción, embodied by Ilse Salas, one of the finest Mexican actors of her generation who is co-director of La Encantada.

There’s also the suggestion of a fairy tale in the cozy establishing shot of the house in the big woods and the positioning of Concepción as a step-mother to her wards; and echoes of film styles and classic works – ‘50s American melodrama,

Concepción’s husband as a Doctor Frankenstein, Dante’s “Inferno” – which Puenzo is so good at picking up and reworking to instructive effect.

Just how all of this rich material will play out remains to be seen. Pantaya will premiere “Señorita 89’s” first two episodes on February 27 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, followed by a weekly episode every Sunday.

The full season of eight episodes will be available for binging on April 10. Starzplay will distribute the series in Spain and Latin America. Fremantle handles global distribution.

HBO Max Picks Up First Season of Daniela Vega’s Spanish-Language Thriller “La Jauria”

Daniela Vega is maxing out…

WarnerMedia streaming service HBO Max has picked up the first season of La Jauría, Amazon Prime Video’s Spanish-language thriller starring the 31-year-old Chilean actress and mezzo-soprano singer.

Daniela Vega

Hailing from Pablo and Juan de Dios Larraín’s Fabula, which made the Oscar-winning A Fantastic Woman, the series tells the story of the disappearance of a young girl, who becomes the center of a police investigation into an online game that grooms men into assaulting women.

HBO Max will premiere the eight-part series on December 16.

In addition to Vega, La Jauría also stars Antonia Zegers, while Lucía Puenzo is the director. Fremantle produced the show alongside Fabula and Argentine company Kapow. Fremantle handles worldwide distribution.

Amazon commissioned a second season of La Jauría in July after premiering it across Latin America and Spain. Chilean public broadcaster TVN and the Consejo Nacional de Televisión (CNTV) are co-producers.

“It’s a gripping, compelling and timely drama that addresses important topical issues regarding the epidemic of violence against women. We are confident HBO’s audience will be moved by the standout storyline and the powerful performances,” said Sheila Aguirre, EVP of content distribution and format sales, Latin America, international, Fremantle.

Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Lelio’s “A Fantastic Woman”

Sebastián Lelio’s latest project is expanding globally…

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired the North American, Australian and New Zealand rights to the 42-year-old Argentine-Chilean filmmaker’s A Fantastic Woman, ahead of its world premiere in competition Sunday at the Berlin Film Festival.

Sebastián Lelio

Written by Lelio and Gonzalo Maza, the Spanish-language film stars Daniela Vega as Marina, a waitress and singer, and Orlando (Francisco Reyes), an older man, who are in love and planning for the future. After Orlando suddenly falls ill and dies, Marina is forced to confront his family and society, and to fight again to show them who she is: complex, strong, forthright, fantastic.

The Chile-U.S.-Germany-Spain co-production is produced by Fabula’s Juan de Dios Larraín and Pablo Larraín with German banner Komplizen Film.

Lelio’s previous film, Gloria, won Best Ibero-American Film at the 1st Platino Awards.