The 52-year-old Cuban-American stage, screen and voice actor and singer will star in FX’s hour-long pilot The Answers, the network’s adaptation of Catherine Lacey’s novel.
In addition to Esparza, the series regular cast will include Lucy Hale, Krys Marshall, Melanie Field, Pallavi Sharda and Kine Kunutu in the project from Sorry for Your Loss creator Kit Steinkellner, Dopesickcreator Danny Strong, Requiem for a Dream director Darren Aronofsky and 20th Television.
They join previously announced male lead David Corenswet.
The story, which has drawn comparisons to The Handmaid’s Tale, is set in the near future, where a heartbroken young woman, Mary (Hale), joins an enigmatic experiment that promises to hack love, but after moving into an idyllic, secluded location with her fellow female participants, she and the other women start questioning what’s really happening in the experiment, and why they’ve all been tasked with dating the same mysterious man, Christopher Skye (Corenswet).
Esparza plays Dr. Crowe; Marshall portrays Ellis; Field is Dani; Sharda plays Ash and Kunutu is Nic.
Steinkellner wrote the pilot and executive-produces. Strong and Aronofsky executive produce with Mandy Safavi with Danny Strong Productions and Ari Handel and Elizabeth Gesas with Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures.
Gillian Robespierre will direct and executive produce the pilot. 20th Television, a part of Disney Television Studios, is the studio.
The 28-year-old half-Mexican American singer/actor’s short form talk show that had been set for Quibi now has a premiere date on the Roku Channel.
The Demi Lovato Showwill bow Friday, July 30, as the first of more than a dozen Roku Originals titles set for the platform.
The talker will feature a special guest and cover topics including activism, feminism, gender identity, sex and body positivity, mental health and even UFOs.
Scheduled guests include Jameela Jamil,Lucy Hale, Nikita Dragun and experts in various fields. See the first-look photo above.
“Some conversations can be difficult, but I’ve never been one to shy away from speaking candidly about things,” Lovato said. “We wanted to create a space that normalizes living your own truth – where people can speak, engage and more importantly, learn, together. There’s something therapeutic about having raw discussions that people can relate to and with The Demi Lovato Show no topics are off limits and opinions are welcome. I’m so excited for people to see how these conversations unfold on the Roku Channel.”
The then-working-titled Pillow Talk with Demi Lovato was announced as a Quibi original in February but never aired on the shortform service run by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman. The duo announced in October that the streamer was shutting down, which it did on December 1. Roku revealed in May that Quibi shows would run as Roku Originals on the service.
Lovato has been busy with a number of other projects across various mediums: NBC single-camera comedy pilot Hungry, YouTube Original docuseries Demi Lovato: Dancing with the Devil, four-part Peacock docuseries Unidentified with Demi Lovato (working title) and the singer-actor’s debut podcast 4D with Demi Lovato.
Produced by GoodStory Entertainment and SB Projects, The Demi Lovato Show is executive produced by Lovato, Scooter Braun, JD Roth, Adam Greener, Alison Kaye, Scott Manson, Todd Yasui and Sara Hansemann. The series is directed by Hannah Lux Davis.
The 44-year-old Mexican American actor will star opposite Lucy Hale in the survival thriller Borrego.
Hale will play a young botanist who relocates to a small desert town to study an invasive plant species. While out conducting research, she comes to the aid of a downed plane only to find herself taken captive by an inexperienced drug mule who forces her to lead a trek across the sweltering desert to his drop.
The local sheriff (portrayed by Gonzalez) is drawn into the hunt as his rebellious daughter sets out to find the missing botanist, all while being pursued by a local drug receiver.
Costa Rican actor Leynar Gómez, Latino actor Jorge A. Jimenez and Mexican American actress Olivia Trujillo round out the cast.
Jesse Harris will direct the film from his own script, and he’ll produce. Hale will serve as executive producer.
Gonzalez currently stars on ABC’s The Good Doctor. His other television credits include appearances on Being Mary Jane, Narcos, How to Get Away With Murder and Pretty Little Liars.
His film credits include The Purge: Anarchy, Falling Awake and Rockaway.
The 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American actress and activist will co-host Rock the Vote’s Democracy Summer campaign kick-off on Thursday, June 18, a two-hour virtual concert co-headlined by Katy Perry and Black Eyed Peas.
Co-hosted by Dawson and Logan Browning with Chuck D and Eve, the event will stream live beginning at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT on democracysummer.org, and Democracy Summer’s Facebook and YouTube pages.
Ne-Yo, Big Freedia, Lucy Hale, Amara La Negra, Saweetie, Sklyar Astin, Max, Leslie Grace, Dove Cameron, Sofia Carson, Rich Brian and Michael K. Williams are among those slated to appear remotely.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro will make appearances.
“I’m excited to be a part of this kickoff to Democracy Summer 2020 with so many amazing talents, activists and speakers,” says Perry. “The young people of America are speaking loud and clear on the streets and online, and come November, it will be more important than ever to fight for justice and equality, and against systemic racism, with our ballots.”
“The young people are engaged. Their voices are loud and getting louder. The world is watching. And we need to vote,” agrees Chuck D, an early and consistent supporter of Rock the Vote, which was founded in 1990 by Virgin Records America co-chairman Jeff Ayeroff primarily to increase voter turnout among young adults.
“We are seeing the urgency for change in America happening in real time. This is the moment for us to use the most important tool on the planet to fight for that change…our right to vote,” says Ne-Yo. “Our democracy needs our voices. Voting is the moment to be the voice for injustice and for equality. But most importantly, to be the voice for humanity. We cannot let each other down in the local elections or on Nov. 3.”
Produced by BWG Live and in partnership with Voto Latino Foundation, When We All Vote and March For Our Lives, the concert marks not only the first live-streamed event for the Rock the Vote, but also its first large-scale summer activation.
In previous years the organization amped up in the fall before a Presidential election and typically staged a live event. Both pivots are a direct result of Covid-19.
“One of the realities is coronavirus derailed the momentum that is required in a major election cycle,” Rock the Vote president Carolyn DeWitt tells Billboard. “A few months ago we began seeing how the restrictions were affecting young people in particular, by moving them off college campuses and disrupting graduations and proms,” she says. “Our effort is really about building that momentum back up.”
With some 4 million young people turning 18 this year and innumerable issues at stake, the goal of Democracy Summer is to bring 200,000 new voters to the polls in November when Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden challenges Donald Trump, as well as myriad primary and local elections throughout the summer and fall. Those interested in the event are encouraged to register at the Democracy Summer web site to get the latest details and lineup updates, although preregistration isn’t required to tune in. Viewers can go to Rock the Vote’s website to register to vote.
The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and the swell of support around the Black Lives Matter movement also has catalyzed Thursday’s event. As protesters around the country have taken to the streets, Rock the Vote registered 107,000 new voters through its platforms and gained more than 25,000 new Instagram followers during the week of June 1, DeWitt says—numbers that dwarf those of a typical week.
“With what we’ve seen over the last couple weeks, the effort around Democracy Summer has become even more important. It’s not just the virus, it’s bigger than the economy standing still. The world feels like it’s on the brink of chaos and yet this moment around Black Lives Matter is bigger than that,” DeWitt says. “Frankly speaking, a big part of that is people are exercising their rights in a democracy. Young people are looking for things they can do and actions they can take in order to create change. We want to make sure we’re continuing to sustain that fire and passion into November, and make sure young people know the power of their votes and create the change they want to see.”
The live stream will include opportunities for viewers to donate to black-led and -focused organizations including the Community Justice Action Fund and National Action Network.
“Now, more than ever, voting is key for long-term change,” Black Eyed Peas said in a statement. “The youth vote is going to decide the future of America. It’s not just our duty but our honor to spread the word in an election year.”
“The diversity of America is what makes it great, and it is also what makes it our country,” says La Negra. “I am Dominican proudly, yet I am a black woman always. I matter. You matter. And together, we will always matter!”
“The need for young people to get out and vote has never been more important,” says Participant CEO David Linde. “We are proud to be working with Rock the Vote in making that need a reality and by using the inspiring, powerful message of Rep. John Lewis to make good trouble.”
Rock the Vote is planning additional Democracy Summer activations throughout the summer including on the Fourth of July and on August 6, the anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Vertical Entertainment has acquired the North American and UK distribution rights to A Nice Girl Like You starring the 33-year-old Dominican–American actress/singer.
Directed by brothers Chrisand Nick Riedell and based on half-Latina author Ayn Carrillo-Gailey’s 2007 self-help book Porn-o-logy, the film centers around violinist Lucy Neal (Lucy Hale), who’s thrown for a loop when her boyfriend accuses her of being too judgmental and inhibited when it comes to sex. In an effort to prove him wrong, Lucy creates a wild to-do list that sends her on a whirlwind journey of self-discovery, friendship and new love.
A Nice Girl Like You will have its VOD and digital release on Friday, July 17.
In addition to Hale and Cruz, who portrays Nessa Jenningsin the film, the film also stars Mindy Cohn, Leonidas Gulaptis and Adhir Kalyan.
Andrea Marcellus adapted Carrillo-Gailey’s self-help book.
“Bringing this film to life was a dream. More love. More laughter. Bring it on,” said producer, Jina Panebianco.
Cruz, best known for her role on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, most recently appeared on television in NBC’s Good Girls.
The 50-year-old Cuban American actress and Suitsstar will star opposite Lucy Hale and Robbie Amell in the rom-com The Hating Game, which is set to start shooting in New York in August.
Peter Hutchingswill direct Christina Mengert’s adaptation of the best-selling novel by Sally Thorne.
The film tells the story of kind-hearted Lucy Hutton (Hale) and her cold-efficient nemesis Joshua Templeton (Amell). Resolving to achieve professional success without compromising her ethics, Lucy embarks on a ruthless game of one-upmanship against Josh, a rivalry that is impossibly complicated by her growing attraction to him.
Torres will star as a co-CEO of two recently merged publishing houses where Lucy and Josh work.
Torres currently stars in and co-executive produces USA Network’s Pearson, the Torres-pitched spinoff of the network’s hit series Suits.
The 27-year-old Spanish and Dominican American actor/singer will star as a series-regular opposite Lucy Hale in the CW’s dramedy pilotLife Sentence.
From Warner Bros. Television and Bill Lawrence’s studio-based Doozer Prods, the pilot was written by Significant Mother creators Erin Cardillo and Richard Keith.
Directed by Lee Toland Krieger, Life Sentence centers on Stella (Hale), a young woman diagnosed with terminal cancer. When she finds out that she’s not dying after all, she has to learn to live with the choices she made when she decided to “live like she was dying.”
PenaVega will play Darrius, Lucy’s brother-in-law. He’s the extremely positive and family-loving, pharmaceutical rep who Stella’s sister, Elizabeth, met during one of her hospital stays.
PenaVega, best known for starring on the Nickelodeon series Big Time Rush, most recently starred as Kenickie in Grease: Live.
He competed on the 21st season on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, finishing in fourth place.
The Mexican actor has been added to the cast of Pretty Little Liars for season 6B.
Aguire, who had his first major film role in the 2012 film Struck by Lightning, will appear in a recurring role on the teen drama series.
He’ll portray Liam Greene, a handsome editorial assistant from Boston who is described as a sweet, doting professional, TheWrap reports.
While no other details have been revealed, it appears that Liam may have a link with Aria. The two of them live in Boston and his job as an editorial assistant is still related to Aria’s profession as a publisher.
Lucy Hale previously revealed that Aria and Ezra hadn’t reconciled during the 5-year time jump, adding that Aria’s “in a relationship” with another man and “she’s very happy and in love.”
Pretty Little Liars returns with new episodes starting January 12 at 8:00 pm ET on ABC Family, which will change its name to Freeform beginning in 2016.