Keanu Reeves & Fisher Stevens Co-Producing Documentary About Benny “The Jet” Urquidez

Benny “The Jet” Urquidez’s life story is getting the Hollywood treatment.

Keanu Reeves is partnering with Academy Award winner Fisher Stevens to co-produce a documentary on the life story of the 71-year-old half Spanish/Mexican American former professional kickboxer, martial arts choreographer and actor, an iconic athlete who introduced mixed martial arts to the world.

Benny “The Jet” UrquidezTitled The Jet, the film is currently in production under the direction of Emmy-nominated sports documentary editor turned filmmaker Jennifer Tiexiera.

The film’s financiers are Chris Quintos Cathcart and Tyler Boehm of the newly formed Unapologetic Projects, a company dedicated to working with underrepresented creators.

Maura Anderson and Zak Kilberg of Stevens’ recently launched production company Highly Flammable will also serve as producers along with John Scalise and his FAYA Project.

Benny “The Jet” UrquidezNancy Weisler, Brian Maya and Chris Quintos Cathcart & Tyler Boehm of Unapologetic serve as executive producers on the project slated for release in 2025.

Nicknamed for his explosive spinning back kick, Sensei Benny “The Jet” Urquidez had a profound impact on martial arts in mainstream culture, as an actor, fight coordinator, and trainer to the stars.

Known for his exceptional skills in kickboxing and karate, he held six world titles in five weight divisions and remained undefeated over the course of his 20+ year kickboxing career.

In addition to his competitive achievements, Urquidez is renowned for his contributions to martial arts cinema, having appeared in numerous action films during the 1980s and 1990s.

Notable film credits include The OctagonRoad House and Grosse Pointe Blank. Over the years, he also trained and worked with the likes of Jackie Chan, Muhammed Ali, Elvis Presley, Mark Wahlberg, Nicole Kidman, Kurt Russell, Patrick Swayze, Nicolas Cage, Michelle Pfeiffer, Duff McKagan and many others.

“Benny’s fighting career was born out of his struggles with identity, poverty, and race, but he didn’t let those things define him,” Tiexiera said. “The result is a story about how struggle and sacrifice evolved into one about love, spirituality and deeper meaning.”

Stated Reeves, “Benny is a true mentor, and has had such a profound yet underappreciated impact on both cinema and martial arts. I’m very excited to help share his story with the world.”

Antonio Banderas Starring in A24’s Erotic Thriller “Babygirl”

Antonio Banderas has found his babygirl

The 63-year-old Spanish Oscar-nominated actor will star in A24’s erotic thriller Babygirl.

Antonio BanderasNicole Kidman, Harris Dickinson, Sophie Wilde and Jean Reno will also star in the film, which will be directed by Halina Reijn.

In the film, written by Reijn, a successful CEO begins an illicit affair with her much younger intern. David Hinojosa of 2AM will produce alongside Reijn of MAN UP Film and A24, which is financing the project.

Reijn comes to make Babygirl with A24 after collaborating with the studio on her critically acclaimed satirical slasher Bodies Bodies Bodies, which world premiered out of SXSW. She previously saw her 2019 directorial debut Instinct, selected as the official Dutch entry for the Best International Feature Oscar, acquired by the company.

This year, Banderas appeared in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny with Harrison FordMads MikkelsenPhoebe Waller-BridgeToby Jones and John Rhys-Davies. He has also portrayed Herod in the Christmas musical film Journey to Bethlehem.

Zoe Saldaña’s “Special Ops: Lioness” Touted as Paramount+’s Most-Watched Global Series Premiere in Its First 24 Hours

Zoe Saldaña is celebrating a special accomplishment…

The 45-year-old Puerto Rican and Dominican American actress’ latest project, Special Ops: Lioness, is a streaming sensation.

Zoe Saldaña, Special Ops: Lioness,The espionage thriller from Taylor Sheridan premiered with two episodes on Paramount+ on July 23, and Paramount Global is now touting it as the streamer’s most-watched global series premiere in its first 24 hours, topping a previous record set by Halo in March 2022.

In addition to debuting on Paramount+, the first two episodes also aired on Paramount Network across the last two weekends. The first episode debuted on July 23 to coincide with the series’ streaming debut, and Episode 2 aired on July 30. The remaining episodes will only be available on Paramount+.

After three days of delayed viewing, Episode 1 scored a combined audience of nearly 6M across viewing on Paramount+ globally and linear viewing on Paramount Network in the U.S., according to Paramount Global.

(For reference, Samba TV reported that 918,000 U.S. households watched Episode 1 on Paramount+ on release day, while 218,000 watched Episode 2.)

“On one of the most competitive weeks of the year, Special Ops: Lioness scored as the No. 1 new scripted series of the year on cable and one of the highest performers of all time on Paramount+,” said Chris McCarthy, President/CEO, Paramount Media Networks & Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios. “Brilliantly created by Taylor Sheridan and brought to life by our stellar cast, this heart-pounding thriller inspired by real-life events clearly struck a chord with a huge audience.”

Added Domenic DiMeglio, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer, Paramount Streaming: “The strong viewer reception for Special Ops: Lioness reflects the power of Paramount across the board in creating, producing, marketing and delivering this incredible Taylor Sheridan drama with broad global appeal. We can’t wait for viewers to come along with us on this high stakes thrill ride.”

On the Paramount Network, Special Ops: Lioness followed Paramount Network and CMT’s airing of the Paramount+ original series 1883, which drummed up 2.2M viewers — a season high for that Taylor Sheridan series.

Inspired by an actual U.S. military program, the new Sheridan drama follows Joe (Saldaña) as she attempts to balance her personal and professional life as the tip of the CIA’s spear in the war on terror. The Lioness Program, overseen by Kaitlyn Meade (Nicole Kidman) and Byron Westfield (Michael Kelly), enlists an aggressive Marine Raider named Cruz (Laysla De Oliveira) to operate undercover alongside Joe among the power brokers of state terrorism in the CIA’s efforts to thwart the next 9/11.

Special Ops: Lioness also stars Dave Annable, Jill Wagner, LaMonica Garrett, James Jordan, Austin Hébert, Jonah Wharton, Stephanie Nur and Hannah Love Lanier. The series is executive produced by Sheridan, David C. Glasser, Saldaña, Kidman, Ron Burkle, Bob Yari, David Hutkin, Wagner, Geyer Kosinski, Michael Malone and John Hillcoat.

It’s produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and 101 Studios for Paramount+. The series is distributed by Paramount Global Content Distribution outside of Paramount+ markets.

“We are thrilled audiences have discovered the power of Zoe Saldaña, Nicole Kidman & Laysla De Oliveira,” said David C. Glasser, CEO of 101 Studios.  “These three incredible actors delivered and make Lioness an action packed, dramatic, joy-ride week after week.”

Paramount+ Releases First Look Photos of Zoe Saldaña’s New Espionage Thriller “Special Ops: Lioness”

Zoe Saldaña is a lioness

Paramount+ has released first-look photos and an official title for Taylor Sheridan’s upcoming espionage thriller Special Ops: Lioness (fka Lioness), starring the 44-year-old Puerto Rican and Dominican American actress.

Zoe Saldaña, Special Ops: Lioness,Saldaña is starring opposite Nicole Kidman, Laysla De Oliveira and Morgan Freeman in the project.

Based on a real-life CIA program, Special Ops: Lioness follows Cruz Manuelos (De Oliveira), a rough-around-the-edges but passionate young Marine recruited to join the CIA’s Lioness Engagement Team to help bring down a terrorist organization from within.

Zoe Saldaña, Special Ops: Lioness,Saldaña will play Joe, the station chief of the Lioness program tasked with training, managing, and leading her female undercover operatives.

The series, from MTV Entertainment Studios and 101 Studios, also stars series regulars Dave Annable, Jill Wagner, LaMonica Garrett, James JordanAustin Hébert, Jonah Wharton, Stephanie Nur and Hannah Love Lanier with Emmy Award nominee Michael Kelly in a recurring role.

Zoe Saldaña, Special Ops: Lioness,Sheridan executive produces with David C. Glasser, Saldaña, Kidman, Ron Burkle, Bob Yari, David Hutkin, Jill Wagner, Geyer Kosinski, Michael Malone and John Hillcoat.

Zoe Saldaña, Special Ops: Lioness,

Pedro Pascal to Serve as Presenter at This Year’s Academy Awards Show

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Pedro Pascal is headed to the Oscars

The 47-year-old Chilean actor appears on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ final list of names chosen as presenters for the 95th annual Academy Awards.

Pedro Pascal

In addition to Pascal, the latest round of stars set to present includes Eva Longoria, Halle Berry, Paul Dano, Cara Delevingne, Kate Hudson, Mindy Kaling, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Andie MacDowell, Elizabeth Olsen and John Travolta, executive producers and showrunners Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner and executive producer Molly McNearney have announced.

Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 12, at Ovation’s Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and will air live on ABC and broadcast outlets worldwide starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

Previously announced Oscars presenters include Riz Ahmed, Halle Bailey, Antonio Banderas, Elizabeth Banks, Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain, John Cho, Glenn Close, Jennifer Connelly, Ariana DeBose, Andrew Garfield, Hugh Grant, Danai Gurira, Salma Hayek Pinault, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Michael B. Jordan, Nicole Kidman, Troy Kotsur, Jonathan Majors, Melissa McCarthy, Janelle Monáe, Deepika Padukone, Florence Pugh, Questlove, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver and Donnie Yen.

Antonio Banderas to Serve as Presenter During Academy Awards Show

Antonio Banderas is headed to the Oscars

The 62-year-old Spanish actor and director has been added to the presenter ranks for this weekend’s Academy Awards show by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS).

Antonio BanderasBanderas is among a list of recently added presenters that includes Halle Bailey, Elizabeth Banks, Jessica Chastain, John Cho, Andrew Garfield, Hugh Grant, Danai Gurira, Salma Hayek, Nicole Kidman, Florence Pugh and Sigourney Weaver.

They join the previously announced Riz Ahmed, Emily Blunt, Glenn Close, Jennifer Connelly, Ariana DeBose, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Michael B. Jordan, Troy Kotsur, Jonathan Majors, Melissa McCarthy, Janelle Monáe, Deepika Padukone, Questlove, Zoe Saldaña and Donnie Yen.

More presenters will be revealed during the week.

The latest adds to Hollywood’s Big Night come just as Oscar voting is set to end, with ballots due at 5 p.m. PT tonight.

The months-long awards season culminates with the 95th annual Academy Awards, which will be handed out Sunday, March 12, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

ABC will air the ceremony live coast-to-coast starting at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET, along with more than 200 countries around the world.

Gael García Bernal Starring in the Hitchcockian Thriller “Holland, Michigan”

Gael García Bernal is headed to the Midwest

The 44-year-old Mexican Golden Globe-winning actor/director will star opposite Nicole Kidman and Matthew Macfadyen in the Hitchcockian thriller Holland, Michigan.

Gael Garcia BernalFrom Prime Video, the film will be directed by Mimi Cave.

While Holland, Michigan is said to concern secrets that lurk beneath a Midwestern town, specifics as to the plot of the film scripted by Andrew Sodroski are under wraps.

Blossom Films’ Kidman and Per Saari are producing alongside Pacific View Management & ProductionsPeter Dealbert, and Churchill FilmsKate Churchill.

The film will stream in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide.

Garcia Bernal is known for his performances in the films Bad Education, The Motorcycle DiariesAmores perrosY tu mamá tambiénBabel, Coco and Old.

He won a Golden Globe for his role as Rodrigo de Souza in the series Mozart in the Jungle.

Edgar Ramirez to Star on Season Two of Peacock’s Anthology Series “Dr. Death”

Death becomes Edgar Ramirez.

The 45-year-old Venezuelan actor will star in Peacock’s Dr. Death for the anthology series’ second season.

Edgar RamirezThe Emmy-nominee will portray Paolo Macchiarini, the focus of Season 2 which is based on the third season of the Wondery podcast of the same name. Macchiarini is a visionary surgeon whose innovative organ transplants seduced the global medical community. When his fiancé, Benita Alexander, and a few suspicious colleagues launch investigations into his botched surgeries, cracks start to appear in Paolo’s charming persona. As Benita learns how far Paolo will go to protect his secrets, a group of doctors halfway across the world makes shocking discoveries of their own that call everything about him into question.

Season 2 hails from showrunner, writer, and executive producer Ashley Michel Hoban. Patrick Macmanus, who served as showrunner, writer, and EP of the show’s freshman season, will executive produce Season 2 via his Littleton Road Productions banner, under his overall deal with UCP.

Jennifer Morrison and Laura Belsey will split directing duties. Morrison is set to direct episodes one to four; Belsey will direct 5-8.

Ramirez most recently portrayed Detective Joe Mendoza in the HBO miniseries The Undoing alongside Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant. He will lead the Netflix drama series Florida Man in the role of Mike Valentine.

He’s most notably known for his portrayal of Gianni Versace in Ryan Murphy’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, which earned Ramirez an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series. He was also nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of the titular character in the miniseries Carlos in 2011.

Bobby Cannavale Signs with Creative Artists Agency (CAA)

Bobby Cannavale is making management moves…

The 52-year-old half-Cuban American actor has signed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

Bobby CannavaleCannavale has moved from WME, after just opening alongside Ana De Armas at the Venice Film Festival in the Andrew Dominik-directed Blonde

He next will star in Gracie Otto’s Seriously Red, and opposite Robert De Niro in the Tony Goldwyn-directed Inappropriate Behavior.

Cannavale has had memorable turns in projects from Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman to Boardwalk Empire, Motherless Brooklyn, I, Tonya, Ant-Man, The Station Agent and many others.

In television, Cannavale will next star in Ryan Murphy’s limited series The Watcher with Naomi Watts. He was recently seen in Hulu’s limited series Nine Perfect Strangers, alongside Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy. His other TV credits include Homecoming, Angie Tribeca, Mr. Robot, Master of None, Nurse Jackie and Vinyl.

On the stage, Cannavale is a two-time Tony Award-nominee for Mauritius and The Mother F*cher With The Hat. A member of the LAByrinth Theater Company, the New Jersey-born Cannavale last appeared on stage in the 2020 production of Medea at The Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Javier Bardem Joins Voice Cast of Animated Film “Spellbound”

Javier Bardem is officially feelin’ the magic…

The 53-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actor has joined the voice cast of the animated film Spellbound.

Javier BardemLed by West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler, the recently expanded voice cast also includes Bardem’s Being the Ricardos co-star Nicole Kidman, John LithgowNathan LaneJenifer LewisAndré De Shields and Jordan Fisher.

The upcoming musical from Apple Original Films and Skydance Animation will have Kidman voicing Ellsmere, the kind and just, yet hyper-precise Queen of Lumbria, with Bardem as Lumbria’s boastful yet big-hearted King, Solon. Together, they are the parents of Princess Ellian (Zegler), who they join on her daring quest to save her family and kingdom after a mysterious spell transforms them into monsters and threatens to cover Lumbria in darkness forever.

Lithgow and Lewis will voice Princess Ellian’s royal advisors, Minister Bolinar and Minister Nazara Prone, with Lane and De Shields as The Oracles of the Sun and Moon that Ellian seeks out to break the spell on her parents and the kingdom.

Additional characters aiding Ellian throughout her journey include the young nomad Callan, voiced by Fisher.

Academy Award winner Alan Menken is providing the film’s original score and songs, with song lyrics by Glenn Slater. Chris Montan is serving as executive music producer.

Bardem, who landed his fourth nom for his portrayal of Desi Arnaz in Being the Ricardos, recently appeared in Dune and Fernando León de Aranoa’s comedy The Good Boss.

His upcoming projects include Columbia Pictures’ adaptation of the children’s book Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, Rob Marshall’s The Little Mermaid and Dune: Part Two.