Dascha Polanco to Star in Fox’s Forensic Genealogy-Themed Crime Drama Pilot “Blood Relative”

It’s all relative for Dascha Polanco

The 37-year-old Dominican actress will star opposite Tate Donovan and Melissa Leo in the Fox pilot Blood Relative.

Dascha Polanco

The forensic genealogy-themed crime drama hails from writer-producer Chris Levinson and producer Liza Chasin

Blood Relative is based on James Renner’s 2018 article “Beyond the Jungle of Bad: The True Story of Two Women from California Who Are Solving All the Mysteries,” about Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick and Dr. Margaret Press, who combined their genealogy expertise to push the boundaries of forensic science and helped law enforcement identify Joe and Jane Does and track down serial killers.

Written by Levinson and Renner and to be directed by Phillip NoyceBlood Relativecenters on genetic genealogy, the best new tool in crime scene forensics, and nobody knows it like Louise Kelly (Leo). Too bad she’s impossible to deal with.

Polanco will play Maria Alvarez, a woman making lemonade out of lemons. She and her hearing-impaired 8-year-old son Sam live with her home psychic mother while Maria goes to night school to get her Ph.D. in psychology (she will eventually go to work at the same Parish Precinct as John (Donovan). Maria’s reason for wanting to work with cops? She’s spent her entire life in their world. Twenty years ago, her father Diego was convicted of murder. Maria is stunned to learn that the police have discovered the body of Gary Northrup – the very man her father is accused of killing. Lou’s DNA genius might prove her father’s innocence. Maria’s life will be changed by this new science and this oh so unique woman. She’ll also prove to be one of the only people alive who speaks “Lou,” making her an invaluable asset. 

Paramount Television Studios and Anonymous Content co-produce with Fox Entertainment.

Polanco rose to acclaim as Dayanara Diaz on all seven seasons of Netflix’s Orange is the New BlackShe’ll next co-star in Lin Manuel-Miranda’s In the Heights and as the female lead alongside Sylvester Stallone in Samaritan.

Polanco’s other credits include Netflix’s When They See UsThe Irishman and FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.

Polanco was high on Fox’s wish list of talent for pilots this season. Her deal for Blood Relativewas in negotiations when pilot season ground to a halt in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Marissa Cuevas to Appear on Netflix’s Series “What/If”

There’s a big What/If in Marissa Cuevas‘ future…

The 26-year-old Latina actress has landed a recurring role on What/If, Netflix’s social thriller anthology drama series.

Marissa Cuevas

Starring Renée ZellwegerJane Levyand Blake Jenner, the series hails from Revengeand Swingtowncreator Mike Kelley.

Written by Kelley, directed by Phillip Noyceand produced by Page FrightAtlas Entertainmentand Compari Entertainmentin association with Warner Bros TelevisionWhat/Ifexplores the ripple effects of what happens when acceptable people start doing unacceptable things. 

The first season focuses on a mysterious woman’s lucrative but dubious offer to a cash-strapped pair of San Francisco newlyweds.

Cuevas’ credits include Midnight, Texas and a co-starring role in Netflix feature #Realityhigh.

Juan Castano to Star in Netflix’s Anthology Drama Series “What/If”

Juan Castano has landed a thriller role…

The Latino actor has joined the cast of What/IfNetflix’s social thriller anthology drama series starring Renée Zellweger, Jane Levy and Blake Jenner.

Juan Castano

From Revengeand Swingtowncreator Mike Kelley, the series is written by Kelley, directed by Phillip Noyceand produced by Page Fright, Atlas Entertainment and Compari Entertainment in association with Warner Bros Television.

What/Ifexplores the ripple effects of what happens when acceptable people start doing unacceptable things. Each season will tackle a different morality tale inspired by culturally consequential source material, and the power of a single fateful decision to change the trajectory of an entire life.

Castano, who recently closed his stand-out performance as Cristofer in MCC’s production of Transfers by Lucy Thurber off-Broadway, will portray Marcos.

He previously had starring roles in New York theatre productions of A Parallelogram at 2nd Stage and the Public’s Oedipus El Rey as Oedipus. He was honored this season with the Drama Desk’s Sam Norkin Award given for off-Broadway excellence.

Blake Jenner to Star in Netflix’s Social Thriller Anthology Drama Series “What/If”

Blake Jenner has landed a new gig…

The 26-year-old Cuban American actor and Glee star has been cast as the male lead in What/If, Netflix’s social thriller anthology drama series starring Renée Zellweger and Jane Levy.

Blake Jenner

From Revenge and Swingtown creator Mike Kelley, the series is written by Kelley, directed by Phillip Noyce and produced by Page Fright, Atlas Entertainment and Compari Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television.

What/If explores the ripple effects of what happens when acceptable people start doing unacceptable things. Each season will tackle a different morality tale inspired by culturally consequential source material, and the power of a single fateful decision to change the trajectory of an entire life.

The 10-episode first season focuses on two struggling newlyweds, scientist-entrepreneur Lisa (Levy) and EMT Sean (Jenner), who accept a powerful woman’s (Zellweger) ethically perilous proposition to secure a badly needed financial windfall. All actors have one-year deals.

Jenner first gained acclaim on the second season of The Glee Projectwhich he won, landing him the role of Ryder Lynn onGlee. He also recurred on SupergirlJenner most recently starred in the indie heist film American Animals. His feature credits also include The Edge of Seventeen andEverybody Wants Some!!

This weekend, Jenner finished out a run as Chrisitian to Peter Dinklage’s Cyrano in Goodspeed MusicalsCyranoa new take on the Edmond Rostand classic Cyrano de Bergerac adapted by Erica Schmidt in collaboration with members of indie alternative band The National.

Cruz to Star in Fox’s Medical Drama Pilot “The Resident”

Valerie Cruz is scrubbing in for duty…

The Cuban American actress has been cast as a series regular in The Resident, Fox’s medical drama pilot written by Amy Holden Jones, Hayley Schore and Roshan Sethi.

Valerie Cruz

Directed by Phillip Noyce and produced by Antoine Fuqua, The Resident centers on Devon Pravesh (Manish Dayal), an idealistic young doctor who begins his first day under the supervision of a tough, brilliant and cocky senior resident, Conrad Hawkins (Matt Czuchry), who pulls the curtain back on all of the good and evil in modern day medicine. Lives may be saved or lost, but expectations will always be shattered.

Cruz will play hospital CEO Renata Lopez.

Cruz will next be seen on the big screen in the upcoming feature Locating Silver Lake with Finn Wittrock.

Martinez to Star in NBC’s Martial Arts Drama “Warrior”

Natalie Martinez is going to war(rior)

The 30-year-old has Cuban American actress landed the lead role in Warrior, NBC’s magical martial arts drama pilot.

Natalie Martinez

Written/executive produced by David DiGilio and directed by Phillip Noyce, the cast is set in a grounded, contemporary multicultural and sometimes magical milieu.

Warrior, from Universal Television, centers on Kai Forrester (Martinez), a damaged heroine who works undercover with physical and spiritual guidance from a mysterious martial arts master to bring down an international crime lord.

Martinez’s previous credits include Under the DomeDetroit 1-8-7 and CSI: NY.