Gael Garcia Bernal to Portray Salvador Dali in New Podcast “Playboy Interview”

Gael Garcia Bernal’s art is about to imitate art life…

The 42-year-old Mexican actor and producer is joining a slew of stars who’ll portray famous figures across history in a new podcast series from Playboy and Audio Up.

Gael García Bernal

The two companies are launching Playboy Interview, an audio series that features teleplay-style re-enactments of the most iconic Playboy interview conversations.

In addition to Garcia Bernal, other stars set to take part in the program are Rosanna ArquetteTaye DiggsMaya Hawke, Shea Whigham, Michael Shannon, Kevin Corrigan and Gina Gershon.

The series, which is set to debut in September, will see Arquette voice feminist pioneer Betty Friedan, Diggs will portray Muhammad Ali, Garcia Bernal plays Salvador Dali, Shannon is Tennessee Williams, Shea Whigham is John Wayne, Maya Hawke is Helen Gurley Brown, Kevin Corrigan is Frank Sinatra and Gina Gershon is Oriana Fallaci.

The first two episodes will feature “conversations” with Friedan and Ali.

The series is based on the classic Playboy Interview, which started in 1962 with Alex Haley’s conversation with Miles Davis and has run for more than 500 interviews including the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Fidel Castro, Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Steve Jobs, Whoopi Goldberg and Maya Angelou.

“Working on the Playboy Interview was an incredible experience,” said Maya Hawke, who also portrays Ayn Rand in the second season, which is likely to launch in early 2022. “I got the rare opportunity to portray two of history’s most influential, controversial, and complicated women. I was allowed to inhabit the characters rather than being asked to impersonate them, which left me thinking about their respective perspectives for weeks after. And I felt inspired. Even if I don’t agree with them about everything, or anything – their strength, persistence, and insistence on being exactly who they are has reminded me to be exactly who I am.”

“Playboy is culturally iconic for many reasons, but their in-depth interviews and journalistic integrity is a large part of what has made the publication so cool,” said Gina Gershon. “I was so happy to work on a project that celebrates Playboy’s historic interviews with so many incredible individuals. I’ve always been fascinated by Oriana Fallaci, and was so excited to be able to take part in bringing her interviews to life. It was so much fun to explore this remarkable woman and share her point of view with the world.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to unveil the first season of the Playboy Interview podcast,” added Rachel Webber, Chief Brand Officer at PLBY Group and producer of the series. “Audio is the perfect format for these intimate and revealing conversations. Each brilliant performance by this incredible cast gives you chills, making you feel like you’re right there in the room as history unfolds.”

“This podcast is the culmination of a personal journey for me having spent seven years as Playboy’s editorial director,” added Audio Up’s Chief Creative Officer Jimmy Jellinek, who adapted, produced and directed all 10 episodes of season one. “Thanks to the explosion of audio as a medium, today we’re able to reintroduce these incredible conversations to a new generation. I have long thought the Playboy Interview would lend itself perfectly to formats off the page. In my wildest dreams I didn’t anticipate that something this magical would be the result.”

“We’ve paired the greatest conversations of the 20th century with the greatest actors of the 21st. Audio Up is in the business of pushing the boundaries of audio entertainment and this project exemplifies that mission in every way,” said Audio Up founder and Chief Executive Officer Jared Gutstadt.

Hulu Releases New Trailer for “Nine Perfect Strangers,” Starring Bobby Cannavale

It’s a strange(r) time for Bobby Cannavale

Hulu has released a new teaser for Nine Perfect Strangers, the upcoming eight-episode “elevated suspense drama” starring the 51-year-old half-Cuban American Emmy-winning actor.

Bobby Cannavale

In addition to Cannavale, the series also stars Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, Michael Shannon, Luke Evans, Regina Hall, Samara Weaving, Melvin Gregg, Asher Keddie, Grace Van Patten, Tiffany Boone and Manny Jacinto.

Based on the book by Big Little Lies author Liane MoriartyNine Perfect Strangers takes place at a boutique health-and-wellness resort that promises healing and transformation as nine stressed city dwellers try to get on a path to a better way of living. Watching over them during this 10-day retreat is the resort’s director, Masha (Kidman), a woman on a mission to reinvigorate their tired minds and bodies.

As Hulu describes, these nine perfect strangers have no idea what is about to hit them. And as depicted in the teaser, graves will be dug.

The series comes from co-showrunners David E. Kelley and John-Henry Butterworth. Jonathan Levine directs all eight episodes.

The series is co-written by David E. Kelley, John Henry Butterworth and Samantha Strauss.

Nine Perfect Strangers premieres on Hulu on August 18.

Fernanda Valadez’s “Identifying Features” Wins Gotham Awards’ Inaugural Best International Feature Award

Fernanda Valadez is in a New York state of mind…

The Gotham Film and Media Institute’s 30th annual Gotham Awards have been revealed virtually, with the Mexican filmmaker taking home a prize.

Fernanda Valadez

Valadez’s critically acclaimed Identifying Features (Sin Señas Particulares) picked up the inaugural award for Best International Feature.

The drama premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic and the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Screenplay.

Co-written by Valadez and Astrid Rondero, the film centers on the many immigrants who often go missing or die on their journeys. Most of the main characters are mothers trying to find their children.

IFP Executive Director Jeffrey Sharp welcomed the virtual audience and the night featured a handful of in-person presenters including Renee Elise Goldsberry, Cristin Milioti, Hunter Schafer, Padma Lakshmi, Michael Shannon and Noma Dumezweni, as well as remote presenters such as Zachary Quinto, Lupita Nyong’o, Anthony Mackie, Rebecca Hall and Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre.

Here’s the full list of winners below.

BEST FEATURE: Nomadland
BEST DOCUMENTARY – TIE A Thousand Cuts & Time
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE: Identifying Features
BINGHAM RAY BREAKTHROUGH DIRECTOR AWARD: Andrew Patterson, The Vast of Night
BEST SCREENPLAY – TIE: The Forty-Year-Old Version, Radha Blank & Fourteen, Dan Sallitt
BEST ACTOR: Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
BEST ACTRESS: Nicole Beharie, Miss Juneteenth
BREAKTHROUGH ACTOR: Kingsley Ben-Adir, One Night in Miami…
BREAKTHROUGH SERIES – LONG FORMAT (40-PLUS MINUTES PER EPISODE): Watchmen
BREAKTHROUGH SERIES – SHORT FORMAT (LESS THAN 40 MINUTES PER EPISODE): I May Destroy You
ACTRESS TRIBUTE: Viola Davis
ACTOR TRIBUTE: Chadwick Boseman
ENSEMBLE TRIBUTE: The cast of The Trial of the Chicago 7: Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jeremy Strong, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, John Carroll Lynch, Alex Sharp, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Caitlin Fitzgerald, Alice Kremelberg, and Ben Shenkman.
DIRECTOR’S TRIBUTE: Steve McQueen
INDUSTRY TRIBUTE: Ryan Murphy
MADE IN N.Y. AWARD: Jeffrey Wright
GOTHAM AUDIENCE AWARD: Nomadland

Bad Bunny to Star Opposite Brad Pitt in the Action Film “Bullet Train”

Bad Bunny is speeding into Hollywood like a bullet

The 26-year-old Puerto Rican Latin trap and reggaeton singer will star opposite Brad Pitt in action film Bullet Train.

Bad Bunny

The Latin Grammy winner and platinum-selling recording artist joins a cast that includes Joey King, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Zazie Beetz, Michael Shannon, Logan Lerman, Masi Oka and Andrew Koji.

David Leitch will direct and also supervise the script, which will be written by Zak Olkewicz.

The film is based on the Japanese novel Maria Beetle by bestselling author Kotaro Isaka.

Plot details are vague, and it is unknown who Sanada will be playing.

Bad Bunny’s most recent album, El Ultimo Tour del Mundo debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, becoming the first all-Spanish album to reach this position. This year, he was proclaimed the No. 1 artist globally on Spotify and the No. 1 Latin artist of 2020 by Billboard for second consecutive year.

Most recently, he released his single Dakiti with Jhay Cortez, which made history as the first Latin song to simultaneously reach #1 on the Billboard Global 200 and Billboard Global Excl. U.S. as well as on Spotify’s Top 200 and Apple Music’s Top 100: Global.

He’s set to make his acting debut in the Kevin Hart produced drama American Solestarring Pete Davidson, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Camila Mendes and Offset.

Ana de Armas to Star in the Spy Drama “Wasp Network”

Ana de Armasis expanding her Network

The 30-year-old Cuban actress will co-star in Olivier Assayas Wasp Network, the spy drama based on Fernando Morais’ book The Last Soldiers of the Cold War

Ana de Armas

de Armas joins previously announced cast members Edgar RamírezPenélope CruzPedro Pascal,Wagner Moura and Gael García Bernal.

The film, which will go before cameras in Havana at the end of this month, tells the true story of Cuban spies in the American territory during the 1990s, revealing the tentacles of a Florida-based terrorist network with ramifications in Central America and with the consent of the U.S. government.

de Armas’ credits include Blade Runner 2049War Dogsand Hands of Stone.

Her upcoming slate includes Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, opposite Daniel CraigChris Evans, Lakeith Stanfield and Michael ShannonUniversal/Working Title’s untitled Danny Boyle romantic comedy with Lily JamesKate McKinnonHimesh Patel, and Ed Sheeran; as well as The Night Clerk with Tye Sheridan and Helen Hunt.

Lionsgate & MRC to Release Ana de Armas’ Murder Mystery “Knives Out” in November 2019

Ana de Armas has her knives out…

Lionsgate will partner with MRC to distribute worldwide Knives Out, the contemporary murder mystery starring the 30-year-old Cuban actress.

Ana de Armas

Looper and Star Wars: The Last Jedi helmer Rian Johnson wrote and is directing the film, which stars Daniel Craig as a detective trying to solve a murder.

In addition to de Armas and Craig, the killer ensemble cast includes Chris EvansMichael ShannonLakeith StanfieldJamie Lee CurtisToni ColletteChristopher PlummerKatherine Langford and Don Johnson.

Lionsgate has scheduled the film for nationwide release on November 27, 2019 for the Thanksgiving holiday corridor.

The film became possible when director Danny Boyleexited James Bond 25. While that film regrouped — Cary Fukunagais directing it — Craig suddenly had an open slot, and Johnson and his producing partner Ram Bergman took full advantage with an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery that Johnson wrote and was able to squeeze in before he and Bergman drill down on a new trilogy in the Star Wars universe.

de Armas previous film credits include Blade Runner 2049, War Dogs and Hands of Stone.

Raúl Castillo to Star in the Detective Film “Knives Out”

The knives are out for Raúl Castillo

The 41-year-old Mexican American has joined the cast of Rian Johnson’s starry detective movie Knives Out.

Raul Castillo

Riki LindhomeEdi Patteron,Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Lakeith Stanfield, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Plummer, Ana de Armas, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, Don Johnsonand Jaeden Lieberheralso star in the film, which is now in production in Boston.

Plot details are still under wraps, but the film is said to be a modern day murder mystery in the classic whodunit style.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Johnson has scripted and will direct.

Castillo has recently appeared in the Netflix series Seven Seconds and Atypical. 

Guillermo del Toro’s “Shape of Water” Named to Sight & Sound’s Annual Critics List of The Year’s Best Films

Guillermo del Toro’s latest film is earning more accolades…

The 53-year-old Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer and novelist’s latest film, The Shape of Water, has earned a spot on Sight & Sound’s annual critics list of the best films of 2017.

Guillermo del Toro

The BFI’s international magazine polled more than 180 critics, programmers and academics from around the world to secure the results which, for the first time, include a television series in the Top 10: David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: The Return came in 2nd.

del Toro’s critically acclaimed fantasy drama, which was awarded the Golden Lion for best film at this year’s Venice International Film Festival, comes in a No. 14, in a tie with Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country.

Written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, the film stars Sally HawkinsMichael Shannon and Octavia Spencer, and follows a mute custodian at a high-security government laboratory who befriends a captured sea creature in 1962 Baltimore.

Get Out, from Blumhouse Productions and Universal Pictures, topped the list.

Argentinian filmmaker Lucrecia Martel’s Spanish-language film Zama made the Top 5.

Below are the Top 21 titles on the list.

1. Get Out, dir: Jordan Peele
2. Twin Peaks: The Return, dir: David Lynch
3. Call Me by Your Name, dir: Luca Guadagnino
4. Zama, dir: Lucrecia Martel
5. Western, dir: Valeska Grisebach
6. Faces Places, dir: Agnes Varda
7. Good Time, dirs: Ben and Josh Safdie
8. Loveless, dir: Andrey Zvyagintsev
9. Dunkirk, dir: Christopher Nolan
9. The Florida Project, dir: Sean Baker
11. A Ghost Story, dir: David Lowery
12. You Were Never Really Here, dir: Lynne Ramsay
12. BPM, dir: Robin Campillo
12. Lady Macbeth, dir: William Oldroyd
14. God’s Own Country, dir: Francis Lee
14. The Shape Of Water, dir: Guillermo del Toro
16. Let the Sunshine In, dir: Claire Denis
16. Mudbound, dir: Dee Rees
16. Strong Island, dir: Yance Ford
16. I Am Not Your Negro, dir: Raoul Peck
16. Personal Shopper, dir: Olivier Assayas

Warner Bros. Releases Trailer for Michael Peña’s War Drama “12 Strong”

Michael Peña is going strong…

Warner Bros. has released the trailer for the war drama 12 Strong, starring the 41-year-old Mexican American actor.

12 Strong

“The most important thing a man can take into combat is a reason why,” says the trailer. In this case, it’s the thousands of tons of rubble that once was the Twin Towers. “Nineteen men attacked our country,” an officer says. “The 12 of you will be the first ones to fight back.”

The film stars Peña, Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon  as three of the U.S. Special Forces dirty dozen who are tasked with going into the rugged mountains of Afghanistan. Once there, they must persuade Northern Alliance General Dostum (Navid Negahban) to join forces with them to fight their common adversary.

Along with overcoming mutual distrust and a cultural chasm, the Americans — accustomed to state-of-the-art warfare — must adopt the rudimentary tactics of the Afghan horse soldiers. But despite their uneasy bond, the new allies face overwhelming odds: outnumbered and outgunned by a ruthless enemy that does not take prisoners.

Nicolai Fuglsig directs the war drama from Alcon Entertainment, Black Label Media and Jerry Bruckheimer FilmsTed Tally and Peter Craig wrote the script based on Doug Stanton’s bestseller.

Warner Bros. will release 12 Strong on January 19.

Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” Wins Top Prize at the Venice Film Festival

Guillermo del Toro has reason to roar…

The 52-year-old Mexican filmmaker’s lyrical period fairy tale, The Shape of Water, was awarded the top prize Golden Lion at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

Guillermo del Toro

del Toro’s fantasy premiered on the Lido last week early in the proceedings, and left viewers swooning in its wake. It was among the best-reviewed films of the festival, and had one of the most emotional gala screenings in memory.

When the Lion was announced tonight, the press room positively erupted with joy.

The Shape Of Water, a Cold War-set parable that stars Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer and Michael Shannon, represents del Toro’s first time in competition in Venice.

The prize, he noted, is the first time a Mexican helmer has won the Golden Lion.

From the stage, the filmmaker said, “I’m 52 years old, I weigh 300 pounds, and I’ve done 10 movies. There is a moment in every storyteller’s life, no matter what age you are, you risk it all and go and do something different.”

Added the teary del Toro, “To every Latin American filmmaker dreaming of doing something in the fantastic genre, it can be done.”

He said he intends to call the statue the “Sergio Leone” and remarked how full the Sala Grande was of the things he believes in, “Life, love and cinema.” That echoed something he’d said earlier in the week of the film, which mixes fantasy, romance, thriller, and old-style Hollywood: it’s a movie that’s “in love with love and in love with cinema.”

Shape took 10 years of struggle for del Toro to get made, and he’s said it was the hardest shoot he’s ever had.

With his Venice appearance, del Toro completed, in a way, a circle begun by his compatriots and pals Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro G Inarritu, whose Gravity and Birdman, respectively, made big splashes in recent years on this island before going on to Oscar glory. The Shape Of Water is a movie we will be talking about all through awards season.

Backstage, del Toro spoke to the press and was asked about the significance of the win for genre movies. “It means a lot,” he said pointing to parables that are “artistic, beautiful, politically charged movies.” It’s about time, he said, that “we understand every vernacular in cinema done with intelligence and passion is valid.”

Here’s a look at the overall winners:

VENICE 74

Golden Lion
The Shape Of Water, dir: Guillermo del Toro

Grand Jury Prize
Foxtrot, Samuel Maoz

Silver Lion, Best Director
Xavier Legrand, Jusqu’à La Garde

Volpi Cup, Best Actress
Charlotte Rampling, Hannah

Volpi Cup, Best Actor
Kamel El Basha, The Insult

Best Screenplay
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Special Jury Prize
Sweet Country, dir: Warwick Thornton

Marcello Mastroianni Award for for Best New Young Actor or Actress
Charlie Plummer, Lean On Pete

VENICE HORIZONS

Best Film
Nico, 1988, dir: Susanna Nicchiarelli

Best Director
Vahid Jalilvand, No Date, No Signature

Special Jury Prize
Caniba, dirs: Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel

Best Actress
Lyna Khoudri, Les Bienheureux

Best Actor
Navid Mohammadzadeh, No Date, No Signature

Best Screenplay
Los Versos Del Olvido, dir: Alireza Khatami

Best Short Film
Gros Chagrin, dir: Céline Devaux

Lion of the Future – “Luigi De Laurentiis” Venice Award for a Debut Film
Jusqu’à La Garde, dir: Xavier Legrand

VENICE CLASSICS

Best Restoration
Idi I Smotri, dir: Elem Klimov

Best Documentary on Cinema
The Prince And The Dybbuk, dirs: Elwira Niewiera, Piotr Rosolowski

VENICE VIRTUAL REALITY

Best VR
Arden’s Wake (Expanded), dir: Eugene YK Chung

Best VR Experience
La Camera Insabbiata, dirs: Laurie Anderson, Hsin-Chien Huang

Best VR Story
Bloodless, dir: Gina Kim