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.

Janicza Bravo to Direct FX Pilot “Kindred,” Based on Octavia E. Butler’s Influential Novel

Janicza Bravo has found her kindred spirit…

The 39-year-old Latina writer/director and Zola helmer has been tapped to direct and executive produce FX pilot Kindred, an adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s influential novel.

Janicza Bravo

Newcomer Mallori Johnson set to star.

The project hails from writer Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Courtney Lee-Mitchell, Darren Aronofsky and his Protozoa Pictures, Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields. FX Productions is the studio. Production is scheduled to begin in September.

Johnson will play the central character Dana, a young Black woman and aspiring writer who has uprooted her life of familial obligation and relocated to Los Angeles, ready to claim a future that, for once, feels all her own. But, before she can get settled into her new home, she finds herself being violently pulled back and forth in time to a nineteenth-century plantation with which she and her family are most surprisingly and intimately linked. An interracial romance threads through her past and present, and the clock is ticking as she struggles to confront the secrets she never knew ran through her blood, in this genre-breaking exploration of the ties that bind.

The novel, which sold over a million copies, has been hailed as a visionary work of science fiction since it was first published more than four decades ago in 1979.

“I first read Kindred 20 years ago,” said Bravo. “I was in college. I hadn’t ever seen myself in a world like that. And certainly not at its center. What might seem like only a portrait of an invisible woman is also a potent embrace of our relationship to history and how it can bring us closer to our future. After what felt like losing over a year of the life I had come to know so well, an opportunity to direct an adaptation of this specific text was a win. On top of that getting to partner with Branden is something I’d been wanting for quite some time.”

Jacobs-Jenkins wrote the pilot.

Most recently, Bravo directed and co-wrote the critically acclaimed film Zola. A24 released the film in theatres on June 30. Starring Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, Nicholas Braun and Colman DomingoZola premiered in competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and is being released in the UK on August 6.

Bravo’s previous film work has screened at AFI, Carnegie Hall, SXSW, Sundance, and Tribeca. Her feature film debut Lemon premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. On the television side, she directed the “Juneteenth” episode of Atlanta, the “Houston” episode of Mrs. America, as well as episodes of HBO’s Divorce, Here and Now, In Treatment, Netflix’s Love and Dear White People and Amazon’s Forever.

Rosario Dawson to Star in Apple TV+’s Genre-Bending Auditory Adaptation of Canal+’s “Calls”

Rosario Dawson is placing some calls

Apple TV+ announced the cast, which includes the 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American actress and activist, and set the premiere date for its genre-bending auditory adaptation of Canal PlusCalls.

Rosario Dawson

In addition to Dawson, the stars featured in the first season of the nine-part drama, include Nick JonasPedro Pascal, Lily Collins, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Aubrey Plaza are among the stars featuring in the first season of the nine-part drama.

Launching on Friday, March 19, the show uses audio and minimal abstract visuals to tell nine short-form stories. Each episode follows a dark mystery that unfolds through a series of seemingly average, unconnected phone calls that quickly become surreal as the characters face growingly unsettling experiences.

Based on a French series created by Timothée Hochet, it is directed by Fede Álvarez, who directed 2013’s Evil Dead feature and 2016’s horror film Don’t Breathe.

Nicholas Braun, Clancy Brown, Mark Duplass, Karen Gillan, Judy Greer, Paul Walter Hauser, Danny Huston, Riley Keough, Joey King, Stephen Lang, Jaeden Martell, Paola Nuñez, Edi Patterson, Danny Pudi, Ben Schwartz and Jennifer Tilly also appear in the first season.

Calls was the streamer’s first international series order back in June 2018 and it also marks its first global co-production – a tie up with French pay-TV broadcaster Canal+. Apple will launch the series, which is produced with Studiocanal and Bad Hombre, in 100 countries, while Canal+ will premiere a French-language version in a number of markets.

Apple will launch the series in a number of Spanish-speaking Latin America markets as Llamadas with Spanish-language custom graphics.

Molina to Star in Paramount Pictures’ Untitled Tina Fey-Margot Robbie Project

Alfred Molina is about to do the Taliban Shuffle

The 61-year-old half-Spanish actor has signed on to appear in Paramount Pictures’ Untitled Tina FeyMargot RobbieMartin Freeman project.

Alfred Molina

Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, the film is based on the autobiography The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker. The book is being adapted by 30 Rock scribe Robert Carlock.

Production has already started in New Mexico.

Molina joins a cast that includes Billy Bob Thornton, Sheila Vand, Christopher Abbott, Nicholas Braun, Stephen Peacocke and Evan Jonigkeit.

Molina most recently appeared on the big screen in the drama Love is Strange.

Bichir to Star Opposite Mateo Arias in the Teen Coming-of-Age Comedy “Good Kids”

Demián Bichir has landed a good role…

The 51-year-old Mexican actor has landed a role in in the teen coming-of-age comedy Good Kids.

Demian Bichir

Bichir, the star of FX’s border drama series The Bridge, will star opposite Ashley Judd, Nicholas Braun, Zoey Deutch, Israel Broussard and Mateo Arias in the teen coming-of-age comedy for Voltage Pictures.

The story follows four overachieving high school students living on Cape Cod who, upon graduation, realize that they’ve missed out on key life experiences by always being the “good kids.” They decide to completely reinvent themselves when the summer kids show up, in order to truly enjoy their last time together before college.

Bichir, who earned an Oscar nomination for his performance in A Better Life, will play the senior tennis coach at a local club. Judd will play a beautiful Cape Cod tennis wife.

Also joining the cast are Dayo Okeniyi, Julia Garner and Ginny Gardner.

Chris McCoy wrote the 2011 Black List script and is making his directorial debut on the film.

Produced by Depth of Field, Good Kids is currently shooting in Massachusetts.