Jenna Ortega to Star in Lionsgate’s “Miller’s Girl”

Jenna Ortega is readying for a new project…

The 19-year-old Puerto Rican and Mexicam American actress and new Scream queen has boarded Lionsgate and Point Grey’s Miller’s Girl opposite Martin Freeman.

Jenna OrtegaThe film reps the directorial debut from writer-director Jade Halley Bartlett, whose screenplay for the project ranked on the 2016 Black List.

In Miller’s Girl, a creative writing assignment yields complex results between a teacher and his talented student. Point Grey has been attached to the project ever since it arrived on the Black List.

Mary-Margaret Kunze is producing with Point Grey.

Erin Westerman, President of Production for the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, tells Deadline, “While we are excited for the movie to speak for itself, the level of talent assembled for this special film is a testament to Jade, whose screenplay lures you in with her dazzling voice. And then eats you alive.”

The film is currently shooting in Georgia. Lionsgate is handling global sales.

Ortega will next star in the title role of the Tim Burton Netflix series Wednesday, centering on the Addams Family character.

In January she starred in the $140M-global grossing Scream and is set to reprise her role in the hit franchise’s sixth installment.

She recently wrapped production on the crime thriller Finest Kind directed by Oscar winner Brian Helgeland, was last seen starring in A24’s X and HBO’s The Fallout.

Desmin Borges to Star in the Military Thriller “Valiant One”

Desmin Borges is a valiant one

The 38-year-old half-Puerto Rican actor will star opposite Lana Condor, Callan Mulvey and Chase Stokes in Monarch Media’s thriller Valiant One, which goes into production in Vancouver this month.

Desmin BorgesThe first feature directed by Monarch’s Steve Barnett watches as a U.S. helicopter crashes on the North Korean side of the DMZ. With tensions between the North and South already on the verge of war, the surviving U.S. Army non-combat tech soldiers must work together to protect a civilian tech specialist and find their way across the DMZ, without the possibility of U.S. military support.

Condor will play Selby, a hard-as-nails and highly capable but very inexperienced Medic Specialist who joined the U.S. military after becoming a citizen to give back to her new homeland.

Borges is set for the role of Josh Weaver, a civilian defense contractor who’s cocky, with enough smarts to back it up, and obnoxious until the weight of the danger settles in on him and he becomes part of the team.

Mulvey will portray Chris Lebold the square-jawed Delta Operative and poster child for American heroic iconography, who’s in a heap of trouble and pain when the team crashes but remains a leader throughout.

Eric Tipton wrote the script, which is based on an original idea by Barnett.

Borges is best known for turns on such series as The Time Traveler’s WifeWelcome to FlatchUtopia and You’re the Worst, having received an Imagen Award nomination for his work on the latter.

He’s also appeared in films including Private LifeNever HereCarrie Pilby, Gabriel, All Is Bright and Compliance.

Also coming up for the actor is Lionsgate’s action rom-com Shotgun Wedding, in which he stars alongside Jennifer Lopez, Josh Duhamel, D’Arcy Carden, Jennifer Coolidge and others.

Froy Gutierrez to Star in Renny Harlin’s Lionsgate “The Strangers” Remake

It’s a strange(r) time Froy Gutierrez

The 24-year-old Mexican American actor will star opposite Madelaine Petsch and Gabriel Basso in a Lionsgate remake of the 2008 horror film The Strangers, which has entered production in Slovakia.

Froy GutierrezRenny Harlin is directing the film, which will be the first in a trilogy, having locked in a deal to helm the subsequent pair.

The original film The Strangers was a home invasion film that Bryan Bertino wrote and directed in his feature debut, with Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman starring.

It registered as a sleeper hit upon its May 2008 release via Universal Pictures and came to be appreciated in the years following as a cult classic, with the sequel The Strangers: Prey at Night being released in March 2018.

The new Strangers film will follow Petsch’s character as she drives cross-country with her longtime boyfriend (Gutierrez) to begin a new life in the Pacific Northwest. When their car breaks down in Venus, Oregon, they’re forced to spend the night in a secluded Airbnb, where they are terrorized from dusk till dawn by three masked strangers.

Lionsgate plans from there to expand the story in new and unexpected ways with its sequels.

Alan R. Cohen and Alan Freedland wrote the franchise launcher, to be distributed worldwide by Lionsgate.

“My mother instilled the love of movies in me through the world of Hitchcock and other masters of suspense and horror. My breakthrough to Hollywood happened with the success of A Nightmare on Elm Street 4,” noted Harlin. “It is only fitting that I get to return to my favorite genre with the incredibly well written trilogy of The Strangers. The characters and the storyline are all grounded in reality and offer me an endless tapestry of haunting visuals in bringing these movies alive.”

“When setting out to remake The Strangers, we felt there was a bigger story to be told, which could be as powerful, chilling, and terrifying as the original and could really expand that world,” said Solomon. “Shooting this story as a trilogy allows us to create a hyperreal and terrifying character study. We’re fortunate to be joining forces with Madelaine Petsch, an amazing talent whose character is the driving force of this story.”

“When you’ve got two horror aficionados like Courtney Solomon and Renny Harlin coming together, you’ve got all you need to create some incredibly smart, lean-forward-in-your-seat, addictively thrilling entertainment,” said Mark Canton. “Fans of the original film will be blown away; new audiences will discover the intensely unnerving world of The Strangers.”

The Strangers taps into such primal fears that it will always be relevant,” added Eda Kowan, Lionsgate’s EVP of Acquisitions & Co-Productions. “But what truly sets this project apart is the way the filmmakers have expanded the story and given these characters a new life.”

Gutierrez plays Jamie Henson on the Freeform series Cruel Summer, which has been renewed for a second season, and has also been seen on shows like Light as a FeatherTeen Wolf and One Day at a Time. Also coming up for the actor is the long anticipated Hocus Pocus 2, which is slated for release on Disney+ on September 30th.

Starz Releases First Trailer for “Step Up” Drama Series, Featuring Christina Milian in Role Originated by the Late Naya Rivera

Christina Milian is finding herself in high water

Starz has released the official trailer for Season 3 of its popular drama series Step Up, which offers a first look at the 40-year-old Cuban American Grammy-nominated singer and actress as Collette Jones, the role originated by the late Naya Rivera.

Christina MilianStarz also announced the third season of the series, inspired by the Lionsgate film franchise, will launch on Tuesday, October 16.

In addition to Milian, Ne-Yo returns for Season 3 in his co-starring role as Sage Odom. The series also stars Faizon Love, Eric Graise, Terayle Hill, Enrique Murciano and Tricia Helfer.

The hit franchise follows the drama, scandalous romance, betrayals and rivalries told through the intersection of the worlds of music and dance within a highly sought-after performance empire.

Here’s the logline: “Welcome to High Water – a next level incubator for new artistic talent, where danger, corruption, suspicions, desires, resentments, and ambitions collide in and out of the halls of the headquarters. As the label’s talent roster grows, High Water founder and megastar Sage Odom (Ne-Yo) faces murder charges, financial ruin and powerful political enemies. His partner in business and in love, Collette Jones (Milian) struggles to maintain their image as she balances a nationwide tour and stepping out of her role as the woman behind the empire all while carrying a secret that threatens to ruin it all.

Caught in the maelstrom is a collective of talented young artists that have been mentored to become top selling rappers and dance superstars: Rigo (Terrence Green), Poppy (Kendra Willis), Tal (Keiynan Lonsdale), Davis (Carlito Olivero), Odalie (Jade Chynoweth) and mysterious newcomer Angel (Rebbi Rosie), who all find that living your dream has a price.”

Step Up
 is created and executive produced by Holly Sorensen. Adam Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot, who served as producers on the original Step Up films, also executive produce through their Offspring Entertainment banner. Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan, who both co-starred in the original Step Up film, also executive produce through Free Association production company and Everheart Productions, Inc., respectively.

Dawn Wilkinson serves as director and executive producer.

Starz had announced a new season of Step Up a little over a month after Rivera lost her life in a swimming accident in Lake Piru. She was 33.

The decision was made to recast her role along with the support of the cast, producers and Rivera’s family, after careful consideration of several factors, including the highly serialized nature of the show and the fact that her character is so central to the storytelling, according to Starz.

Step Up Season 3 will premiere October 16 at midnight on the Starz app, all StarzPlay streaming and on-demand platforms, and internationally on the StarzPlay premium streaming platform across all territories. On linear, it will debut on Starz at 10:00 pm ET/PT in the U.S. and Canada.

Grindstone Entertainment Group Acquires North American Rights to Nicole Mejia’s Feature Directorial Debut “A Place in the Field”

Nicole Mejia has found her place

Lionsgate’s Grindstone Entertainment Group has acquired the North American rights to A Place in the Field, the feature directorial debut of the Honduran filmmaker.

Nicole Mejia, A Place in the FieldShot safely over the course of the pandemicA Place in the Field is a drama infused with magical realism.

It follows Army Veteran Gio Scuderi (Don DiPetta) who, after receiving a package and a letter from an old friend, sets out on a journey across the American Southwest to fulfill a promise made long ago during his deployment. The film tackling the issue of PTSD in veterans through a female filmmaker’s lens is billed as a road trip story about loss, friendship, perseverance, and the will to carry on.

DiPetta, Khorri Ellis, Bluesmon Del Vecchio and Xochitl Portillo-Moody wrote the film, which made its world premiere at the 2022 Santa Barbara Film Festival. DiPetta and Mejia produced alongside Heliya Alam.

A Place in the Field is a powerful and honest look at the impact of PTSD,” said Grindstone’s Stan Wertlieb. “Nicole Mejia is a real talent – her film honors our veterans as it inspires and touches our hearts.”

Mejia is a Los Angeles-based writer, director and producer who recently was selected as one of the inaugural directing fellows for the Adelante Lab — a television shadowing fellowship created by the Latinx House, in partnership with Netflix, Sundance and Shondaland.

Her recently released short film Mancha was awarded the LALIFF/Netflix Fellowship, with her AFI thesis film, My Life Stopped at 15, claiming the ASC Heritage award. The latter film, based on Mejia’s personal story of healing from sexual abuse, is also shortlisted for the Young Director Award.

Originally from Honduras, Mejia is the first in her family to hold a BFA (in theater, from Cornish College of the Arts), as well as an MFA. She attained the latter as part of AFI’s Directing program, where she was awarded the Audi Fellowship for Women.

Javier Botet to Star in Suretone Pictures & Lionsgate’s Adventure Horror Thriller “Creepers”

Jeepers creepers, Javier Botet has a new role…

The 45-year-old Spanish actor has been cast in Suretone Pictures and Lionsgate’s adventure horror thriller Creepers

Javier BotetBotet, often cast in creature roles, will star opposite Jake Manley, Adeline Rudolph, Francesca Reale, Laurence O’Fuarain, Nicholas Hamilton, Skylan Brooks and Kai Caster.

The film, which begins production this week in Bulgaria, is directed by music video and commercial filmmaker Marc Klasfeld.

Creepers follows a group of young urban explorers who plan to investigate an old, boarded-up, seemingly abandoned hotel, only to encounter danger at every turn in the form of a competing group of hostile urban explorers seeking to find a legendary hidden treasure – as well as a supernatural being who wreaks havoc on all.

Botet, who has Marfan Syndrome, will play the supernatural Pale Creature whose domain is the abandoned Paragon Hotel.

“We have assembled a truly amazing cast for Creepers who share the incredible passion of myself and Jordan to bring this one-of-a-kind horror-adventure story to life,” said Klasfeld. “After so many painstaking years in development to get our script right, to be completely honest, I find myself enormously excited to begin shooting.”

Added producer Jordan Schur, CEO and Chairman of Suretone Pictures, “We couldn’t have asked for a more outstanding cast or a more accomplished crew as we launch principal photography here in Bulgaria this week. Creepers is up and running with everyone amped, and it’s going to be quite the ride.”

Botet is a worldwide reference in horror and fantasy movies. Botet’s credits include It and It Chapter TwoMamaCrimson PeakThe Conjuring 2, the first three films in the REC franchise, Witching and Bitching and Game of Thrones. His comedy credits include El vecino and Cámera Café and Golem.

Josh Andrés Rivera to Star in Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games” Prequel, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”

It’s Games on for Josh Andrés Rivera

The 27-year-old Latino actor has joined the growing ensemble cast of Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games prequel, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Josh Andrés RiveraRivera will reunite with his West Side Story co-star Rachel Zegler, one of the film’s leads

The prequel centers on 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), who as we know will become the tyrannical President of Panem. He 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 (Zegler), 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.

Rivera will play Sejanus Plinth, a close friend of young Coriolanus Snow, and the mentor to a tribute from District 2.

Other castmembers include Jerome Lance who will play Marcus, the tribute from District 2. Ashley Liao will play Clemensia Dovecote, one of Coriolanus’s closest friends and mentor to a tribute from District 11. Knox Gibson will play Bobbin, tribute from District 8; Mackenzie Lansing will play Coral, tribute from District 4; while Aamer Husain will play Felix Ravinstill, the mentor to a tribute from District 11.

Francis Lawrence is returning to the franchise to direct for a theatrical worldwide release on November 17, 2023. Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson are also returning to produce for the franchise with Lawrence. Author Suzanne Collins, Tim Palen, and Jim Miller are executive producers. Michael Lesslie wrote the latest draft off Collins and Michael Arndt’s previous script based on the author’s bestselling novel.

Rivera played Chino in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning adaption of West Side Story. Rivera will next appear in Susanna Fogel’s adaptation of Cat Person, based on Kristen Roupenian’s buzzy short story published in The New Yorker. He shares the screen with Nicholas Braun, Emilia Jones and Geraldine Viswanathan.

Rivera was a series lead in the HBO Max pilot Vegas High, directed by Gillian Robespierre and produced by Michael Showalter.

He performed in the original company on the first national tour of the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton.

Paul Perez Signs Production Deal with Warner Bros.

Paul Perez has landed a new production deal…

The Cuban American film producer and former Warner Bros. development executive has agreed to a production deal at the Burbank, CA lot.

Paul PerezThe announcement comes as the Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan romantic comedy, Father of the Bridea project Perez spearheaded and produced at the studio, hits HBO Max on Thursday, June 16.

During his time at Warner Bros, Perez was involved with the development of Ready Player One, Dune and Doctor Sleep

He came to Warner Bros. after a development executive stint at Lionsgate’s Pantelion where he worked on the Eugenio Derbez hit movie, Instructions Not Includedwhich wound up being Mexico’s highest grossing export of all-time with $100.5M WW, as well as Spare Parts and No Manches Frida

Perez initially cut his teeth in the industry reading scripts for producer Ben Odell (now Derbez’s production partner at 3Pas Studios) and working in the Miami William Morris offices.

Father of the Bride is a project close to Perez’s heart given his Cuban American Miami heritage. He came to the property while combing through the Warner library in a quest to develop revamped IP. The project’s momentum swelled after Perez discussed it at a Warner Bros. development exec retreat, with the studio’s President of Production Courtenay Valenti ultimately taking to Matt Lopez’s screenplay.

The fresh angle in this Latino take of Father of the Bride: the bride’s parents played by Garcia and Estefan are on the verge of a divorce. Perez married the package with burgeoning Mexican filmmaker Gary Alazraki.

While recent audiences are familiar with the Steve MartinDiane KeatonMartin Short 1991 Touchstone remake (a hit back then grossing over $89M and spawning a 1995 sequel), the film was originally an MGM title released in 1950, directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Spencer Tracy, Joan Bennett and Elizabeth Taylor.

Warners had inherited the title in their acquisition of the pre-May 1986 MGM library via their absorption of Turner Films in 1995. Disney had licensed the title during the ’90s and in recent years Father of the Bride’s underlying rights reverted back to Warners.

Perez under his new deal is also shepherding the new Training Day prequel at the studio. That film is set around the time of the L.A. Riots that followed after the infamous Rodney King verdict.

“Warner Bros. is thrilled that Paul Perez will have a first look producing deal with the studio,” says Valenti. “Paul is a valued colleague who spent several years in development and production at WB. During that time he showed extraordinary creativity and strategic thinking looking to reinvent several classic library titles. One of those titles is Father of the Bride. We love Gaz Alazraki’s film of Father of the Bride and are very grateful to Paul for beginning the film process with his idea for how to reimagine this wonderful world.”

Joan Smalls Signs with M88

Joan Smalls has new representation…

The 33-year-old Puerto Rican supermodel and actress has signed with M88.

Joan SmallsSmalls began modeling in 2007 and exploded onto the runway scene after walking in the Spring/Summer 2010 Givenchy Couture show.

A year later, she made history as Estée Lauder’s first Latina brand ambassador.

She’s also the face of David Yurman and Ralph Lauren.

In 2012, Smalls was awarded the title of “Model of the Year” at the ninth annual Style Awards and has been ranked the No. 1 model in the world on models.com.

In 2013, she entered Forbes magazine’s “World’s Highest-Paid Models” list for the first time, ranking at number eight with over $3 million in earnings.

Now as one of the most sought after supermodels, she’s partnered with major global brands like Marc Jacobs, Stuart Weitzman, Moschino, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Hugo Boss, Tom Ford and Gucci.

Smalls has also been honing her craft as an actress working in 2017’s John Wick: Chapter 2 for Lionsgate and in Netflix’s hit romantic comedy Set It Up a year later.

On the small screen, she’s appeared in RuPaul’s Drag RaceLip Sync Battle, and Movie Night with Karlie Kloss.

Aside from her modeling career, she gives back to the community via involvement in various non-profit organizations, like The Fifteen Percent Pledge.

Smalls will continue to be represented by IMG and WME.

Tubi Renews La La Anthony’s Adult Animated Comedy “The Freak Brothers” for Second Season

La La Anthony has more Freak moments in her future…

Tubi has given a Season 2 renewal to The Freak Brothers, featuring the 39-year-old television personality, author, businesswoman, producer and actress, for premiere in December.

La La AnthonyThe streaming service has ordered eight episodes of the adult animated comedy – its first animated original series – based on Gilbert Shelton’s cult classic underground comic.

In addition to Anthony, its all-star voice cast includes Woody Harrelson, John GoodmanPete DavidsonTiffany Haddish, Adam Devine, Blake Anderson, Andrea Savage and rapper ScHoolboy Q. They are all returning for the second season.

The series’ renewal follows strong viewership for season 1, which the streamer says delivered nearly twice as many viewers as the No. 2 series on the platform in its first seven weeks (November 14-January 3).

Based on Shelton’s The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, the series chronicles the escapades of a trio of stoner anti-establishment characters and their cat who wake up from a 50-year nap after smoking a magical strain of weed in 1969, and must adjust to life with a new family in present-day San Francisco.

“We’re excited to bring back our favorite trio of Freaks – and their trippy pet Kitty – for another wild season,” said Adam Lewinson, Chief Content Officer, Tubi. “The Freak Brothers has received overwhelming reception since its debut in November and has been a key driver in our growing adult comedy offering, cementing Tubi as a destination for adult animation.”

Produced by WTG Enterprises and distributed by LionsgateThe Freak Brothers is executive produced by Courtney Solomon and Mark Canton, along with showrunners Alan Cohen and Alan Freedland.

“We’re thrilled to embark on another even more freaky trip with Adam Lewinson, Rachel Koehler and the fantastic teams at Tubi, Fox and Lionsgate. And we’re most excited for our fans to twist one up and enjoy Season Two,” said EP Solomon.

Critiquing the Establishment, while satirizing counterculture at the same time, Shelton’s comics sold more than 45 million copies in 16 languages. Starburns Industries and Pure Imagination Studios, the studios behind Rick & Morty and The Simpsons: Brick Like Me, handled the animation for Season One.

“We’re pleased to continue our ‘trip’ with Fox and Tubi on a hilarious second season of The Freak Brothers,” said Lionsgate President of Domestic Television Distribution Ryan Lowerre. “With a fresh and inventive spin for their second season, Freewheelin’ Franklin, Fat Freddy, Phineas T. Phreakers and Kitty are ready to continue to grow the show’s audience.”