Critics Choice Association to Honor Rita Moreno at Inaugural “Celebration of Latino Cinema”

It’s a special celebration for the legendary Rita Moreno

The 89-year-old Puerto Rican actress, dancer and singer will be honored alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda and Demián Bichir at the Critics Choice Association’s inaugural Celebration of Latino Cinema.

Rita MorenoMoreno, Miranda and Bichor will be honored alog with a group of additional honorees, many associated with upcoming 2021 films, still to be announced.

The Celebration of Latino Cinema, to be presented virtually, will take place on Thursday, December 9, 2021 and aims to put a spotlight on the contributions of great Oscar-winning and -nominated artists like Moreno, Miranda and Bichir, but also Latino filmmaking in general, a facet of the motion picture industry that doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves during awards season.

Among other things, the CCA’s Celebration of Latino Cinema aims to change that.

“We are thrilled to be launching the first annual Celebration of Latino Cinema which recognizes the talented performers and skilled professionals who create the acclaimed films we are so proud to honor,” said Claudia Puig, a CCA member and co-programmer of the event.

“Films by our honorees represent the diverse and multi-faceted Latino community, and reflect our increasingly inclusive industry” said CCA board member and event co-programmer Clayton Davis.

The Celebration of Latino Cinema will be produced by Madelyn Hammond and Javier Infante of Madelyn Hammond & Associates. Stagedge will be responsible for transforming the show into an immersive virtual experience.

A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to LA Collab, whose mission is to accelerate Latino access, visibility and representation in the entertainment industry.

Moreno has won all four of the most prestigious awards in show business: an Oscar, a Tony, two Emmys, and a Grammy. She recently co-starred in the Latinx reimagining of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom One Day at a Time, and her documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It had its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival before being released in theaters; it will be broadcast on PBS’ American Masters in October. Moreno also co-stars in and executive produces Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story.

She is a recipient of the Peabody Career Achievement Award, a Kennedy Center Honor, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts.

Miranda is a Pulitzer-, Grammy-, Emmy– and Tony Award-winning songwriter, actor and director, and creator and original star of Broadway’s Hamilton and In the HeightsA recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Award, a Kennedy Center Honor and the Portrait of a Nation Prize, he received an Emmy with Tom Kitt for their song “Bigger” from the 67th Tony Awards. Upcoming projects include Disney’s Encanto and his directorial film debut, tick, tick… BOOM!

Bichir received a Best Actor Oscar nomination in 2012 for his role in Chris Weitz’s A Better Life, becoming the first Mexican-born actor to be nominated in that category by the Academy since Anthony Quinn in 1957. He more recently received rave reviews for his performance in the film Land, directed by Robin Wright. His film credits include Steven Soderbergh’s Che, Oliver Stone’s Savages, Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills, Paul Feig’s The Heat, Richard Shepard’s Dom Hemingway, Ridley Scott’s Alien, George Clooney’s The Midnight Sky, and Adam Wingard’s Godzilla Vs. Kong.

Judy Reyes to Star in the Lifetime’s Border Separation Film “Torn From Her Arms”

Judy Reyes is a woman Torn

The 53-year-old Dominican American actress and former Scrubs star will lead the cast of Torn From Her ArmsLifetime’s family border separation film.

Judy Reyes,

Hailing from Ozy Media and Motion Picture Corporation of America, the movie will also star Gloria Reuben.

Fátima Molina and Camila Nuñez also star in the timely film, which, amidst the ongoing crisis at the U.S. border, depicts the harrowing true story of a mother and daughter who must find their way back to each other after being separated.

It’s slated to premiere this fall.

Reyes will play Thelma Garcia, a Texas Immigration lawyer who works tirelessly to reunite the pair, while Reuben plays Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist ProPublica reporter, Ginger Thompson, who broke the story.

Originally covered by Ozy’s reporting arm, Torn From Her Arms marks Ozy’s first foray into scripted programming and an expansion of its television catalog.

Based on a true story, Torn From Her Arms follows Cindy Madrid (Molina) and her six-year-old daughter, Ximena (Nuñez), who fled violence in El Salvador for safety in the U.S., only to be separated at the border as a part of the Administration’s Zero Tolerance Policy. Detained in detention centers in different states, Cindy and Ximena endured inhumane living conditions and inadequate medical care, but that was nothing compared to the emotional toll of being apart. Their story would gain national attention when a whistleblower leaked a gut-wrenching audiotape of six-year-old Ximena crying for her mother. The onslaught of media attention incited by Ginger’s story alerted the nation to the cruelties being committed against undocumented immigrant families at the border.
Alan Jonsson Gavica directs from a script written by Tawnya Bhattacharya and Ali Laventhol.

Reyes, who plays “Quiet Ann” on Claws, also appeared on Devious Maids.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Appear on HBO’s New Talk Show Special “Seeing America with Megan Rapinoe”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is joining the conversation…

The 30-year-old Puerto Rican politician, who serves as the U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district, will appear on Seeing America with Megan Rapinoe, the Team USA soccer star’s new talk show special for HBO.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

On the special, Rapinoe will engage with guests like Ocasio-Cortez in today’s cultural conversations. 

The goal is to help shape the ongoing cultural conversation that’s been taking place during this significant time in our country’s history.

“It is an honor to host a show with a critical conversation between some of America’s most innovative thought leaders,” Rapinoe said. “I am so thankful to HBO for providing such a powerful platform for this important dialogue.”

In addition to AOC, the special will include appearances by comedian and Netflix’s Patriot Act host Hasan Minhaj, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Seeing America with Megan Rapinoewill premiere at 10:00 pm ET/7:00 PT on Saturday, August 1.

Rapinoe, a two-time Women’s World Cup winner with Team USA, has made international headlines for years through a combination of her talent on the field and her dedication to activism. From kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 in support of Colin Kaepernick to her success and unyielding outspokenness throughout the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, where she was named the tournament’s most outstanding performer, Rapinoe’s ability to galvanize worldwide attention on social, economic and political issues has transformed her into one of the country’s most recognizable and admired advocates for change.

“We are grateful Megan Rapinoe would choose HBO as home for this conversation and look forward to more opportunities with her to continue this dialogue,” said Peter Nelson, EVP of HBO Sports. “Megan is fearless in speaking out on issues.”

Gael García Bernal to Star in Good Film Collective’s “People of the Book” Film

Gael García Bernal is hittin’ the book(s)…

The 41-year-old Mexican actor and producer will star in People of the Book, a film that Good Films Collective has put together, based on the New York Times bestseller from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Geraldine Brooks.

Gael García Bernal

Garcia Bernal will star opposite Nazanin Boniadi and Jason Isaacs will star in the film, which tells the moving history behind the creation of the Sarajevo Haggadah— an illuminated manuscript that contains the illustrated traditional text of the Passover Haggadah which accompanies the Passover Seder

It originated in Barcelona in 1350, and the film will tell the journey taken by people from different cultures and religions who risked their lives to save it. 

The film will be helmed by Academy Award winner Danis Tanovic and is written by Petter Skavlan.

Disney Bringing Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hit Broadway Musical “Hamilton” to the Big Screen

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadwayhit is heading to the big screen. 

Disney will release a feature film of the original Tony Award-winning stage musical Hamilton, created by the 40-year-old Puerto Rican composer/lyricist, actor and creator, in the U.S. and Canada on October 15, 2021.

Hamilton

The studio is teaming with Miranda, Jeffrey Sellerand Thomas Kail on the project, which is billed as a “leap forward in the art of ‘live capture.’” It explains the live capture method as “combining the best elements of live theater and film,” resulting in “a cinematic stage performance that is a wholly new way to experience Hamilton.”

Producers for this version of Hamilton include Miranda, Seller and Kail, who also directs. 

The film was shot in June 2016 at the Richard Rodgers Theatreand reports began circulatingin 2018 that bidders were circling the film version of the stage production. Studios had to pledge not to release it until at least 2020.

The original Broadway cast of the record-smashing show will appear in the new film. Cast members include Miranda as Alexander HamiltonDaveed Diggsas Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas JeffersonRenée Elise Goldsberryas Angelica Schuyler; and Leslie Odom, Jr.as Aaron Burr. Also due to star are Christopher Jacksonas George WashingtonJonathan Groffas King GeorgePhillipa Sooas Eliza Hamilton; and Jasmine Cephas Jones as Peggy Schuyler/Maria ReynoldsOkieriete Onaodowanas Hercules Mulligan/James Madison; and Anthony Ramosas John Laurens/Philip Hamilton.

“Lin-Manuel Miranda created an unforgettable theater experience and a true cultural phenomenon, and it was for good reason that Hamiltonwas hailed as an astonishing work of art. All who saw it with the original cast will never forget that singular experience,” Disney CEO Bob Igersaid. “And we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share this same Broadway experience with millions of people around the world.”

Miranda, who starred in an update of Mary Poppinsin 2018, affirmed his connection with Disney. “I fell in love with musical storytelling growing up with the legendary Howard AshmanAlan MenkenDisney collaborations – The Little MermaidBeauty and The BeastAladdin,” he said. “I’m so proud of what Tommy Kail has been able to capture in this filmed version of Hamilton – a live theatrical experience that feels just as immediate in your local movie theater. We’re excited to partner with Disney to bring the original Broadway company of Hamilton to the largest audience possible.”

Kail added, “We are thrilled for fans of the show, and new audiences across the world, to experience what it was like on stage – and in the audience – when we shot this. … We wanted to give everyone the same seat, which is what this film can provide.”

According to sources, Disney beat out other suitors and paid $75 million for worldwide rights to the show that won 11 Tony Awards in 2016, as well as the Pulitzer Prizefor Drama. Disney won the deal with a commitment for a wide global theatrical release for the 2 hour, 40 minute movie, which was shot two weeks before the original cast left.

Rodrigo Garcia to Direct the Drama “Four Good Days”

There are good days in store for Rodrigo Garcia.

The 60-year-old Colombian television and film director is set to direct the drama Four Good Days, about a mother helping her daughter work through four crucial days on the road to recovery from substance abuse.

Rodrigo Garcia

The film will star Glenn CloseMila Kunisand Stephen Root

Launched at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the project is due to begin shooting next week in Los Angeles. 

Root will play the role of Chris, a man worn down by the emotional stress caused by his stepdaughter’s (Kunis) addiction and his wife’s (Close) attempts to save her.

Garcia directs from his own script, co-written by Washington Post 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner Eli Saslow, based on Saslow’s article.

Garcia’s credits include the films Nine LivesMother and ChildAlbert NobbsLast Days in the Desert, as well as the HBO drama series In Treatment.

Newcomer Rachel Zegler Lands Maria Role in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story”

Rachel Zegler is headed to the West Side

The 17-year-old Colombian American actress/singer,New Jersey High School studentand Hollywood newcomer has landed the lead role of Maria in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story.

Rachel Zegler

Zegler, who beat out more than 30,000 people from around the world, will make her film debut opposite Ansel Elgortas Tony.

Rounding out the principal Shark roles are Broadway veterans Ariana DeBose as Anita and David Alvarezas Bernardo. Theater performer Josh Andrés Rivera has been cast as Chino.

Spielberg and his team were committed to finding the best actors within the Puerto Rican as well as the broader Latinxcommunity. The team has been conducting research and having conversations with Hispanic heritage and advocacy groups. In December 2018, Spielberg and Tony Kushner, who is adapting West Side Story, sat with professors and students at the University of Puerto Rico(Universidad de Puerto Rico – Río Piedras) to learn more about performing arts on the island.  The production team maintains a dialogue with the University and Puerto Rican filmmakers there.

The new castmembers join Rita Moreno, who won an Oscarfor her portrayal of Anita in the 1961 movie, who will play Valentina, a reconceived and expanded version of the character of Doc, the owner of the corner store in which Tony works. Moreno also serves as executive producer. 

“When we began this process a year ago, we announced that we would cast the roles of Maria, Anita, Bernardo, Chino and the Sharks with Latina and Latino actors. I’m so happy that we’ve assembled a cast that reflects the astonishing depth of talent in America’s multifaceted Hispanic community,” said Spielberg. “I am in awe of the sheer force of the talent of these young performers, and I believe they’ll bring a new and electrifying energy to a magnificent musical that’s more relevant than ever.”

“I simply cannot wait to get on set to work with this group of young actors,” said Moreno. “What an ensemble, and I look forward to passing the baton to this next generation of Sharks!”

Zegler saw the notice on Twitterback in January 2018 for Latinx actors and submitted a video of herself singing “Tonight” and “Me Siento Hermosa” (“I Feel Pretty”).

“I am so thrilled to be playing the iconic role of Maria alongside this amazing cast,” said Zegler. “West Side Story was the first musical I encountered with a Latina lead character. As a Colombian-American, I am humbled by the opportunity to play a role that means so much to the Hispanic community.”

DeBose, who was nominated for a Tony Award in 2018 for her portrayal of Donna Summerin Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, will play Anita, the role made famous on film by Moreno. DeBose’s other Broadway credits include the original cast of HamiltonA Bronx Tale: The MusicalPippinMotown: The Musical and Bring It On: The Musical. Her screen debut came in 2009 as a competitor on So You Think You Can Dance.

“I’m honored to follow in the footsteps of the remarkable women who have played Anita – including Chita Rivera and, of course, the incomparable Rita Moreno,” said DeBose. “I relate so strongly to Anita – a strong Puerto Rican woman who came to New York in search of opportunity – and I feel so fortunate for the chance to work with this amazing cast and creative team.”

Alvarez, who won a Tony in 2009 for originating the title role in Billy Elliot: The Musical, will play Bernardo, Maria’s brother and the leader of the Sharks. Following his appearance in Billy Elliot, Alvarez served in the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Division, before returning to Broadway in 2014 to join the company of On the Town.

“My parents emigrated from Cuba with no connections, knowing no English, driven only by the hope of a better life. I know how challenging the decision was for them, and I see a lot of that internal conflict in Bernardo,” said Alvarez. “I have dreamt of playing this part since I first saw the original film, and I am so grateful for the chance to bring my own perspective and journey to this role – as an artist, a Veteran and a Latino – and to work with this incredible cast to breathe new life into these characters’ experiences.”

Rivera – an actor, singer and dancer who most recently appeared in the first national tour of Hamilton – will play the role of Chino.

West Side Story is the dream for any performer, and to tackle it with this creative team is truly a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” said Rivera. “I feel very fortunate to be able to portray the Nuyorican experience alongside these amazingly talented actors. I’m confident Puerto Ricans on and off the island will see ourselves reflected in this project.”

West Side Story will be produced and directed by Spielberg from a script by Oscar-nominated screenwriter and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner. The film will be adapted for the screen from the original 1957 Broadway musical, which was written by Arthur Laurentswith music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and concept, direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins. Also leading the production are Tony Award-winning producer Kevin McCollumand Academy Award-nominated producer Kristie Macosko Krieger.

West Side Story will be released by Twentieth Century Fox. Filming is slated to start in the summer of 2019.

Additional casting announcements will be made in the coming weeks, specifically in regards to The Sharksand The Jets.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Bringing Jimmy Fallon & “The Tonight Show” to Puerto Rico

Lin-Manuel Miranda is helping Jimmy Fallon take his show on the calle 

The Tonight Show will air a special episode from Puerto Rico on January 15, during the 24-show run of the 38-year-old Puerto Rican composer, lyricist, playwright, rapper, and actor’s Hamilton on the island to raise relief funds in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

The news was announced during an interview with Miranda on The Tonight Show.

The January show, on which Miranda will be a guest, will highlight the nation’s efforts to rebuild after the hurricane that struck in September. The episode will feature an exclusive performance of the musical’s new touring cast along with Miranda, who is reprising his lead role.

Hamilton will run from January 8-27 at the University of Puerto Rico to raise money for the Flamboyan Arts Fund to benefit the arts, artists and arts institutions in the recovery.

Miranda also wrote the book, music and lyrics and starred in the original, which won 11 Tony Awardsand the Pulitzer Price.

Lin-Manuel Miranda to Reprise Lead Role in His Hit Musical “Hamilton” During Puerto Rico Run

Lin-Manuel Miranda is heading back to the stage…

The 37-year-old Puerto Rican composer, lyricist, playwright, and actor will return to play Alexander Hamilton in his smash musical Hamilton when it plays in San Juan, Puerto Rico in January.

Javier Muñoz in Hamilton

Miranda and producer Jeffrey Seller broke the news on the stage of the Teatro UPR theater in San Juan. The University of Puerto Rico venue was damaged during Hurricane Maria in September but will be restored and repaired in time for the musical’s open.

It will mark the first time Miranda, the creator-star of the Tony Award– and Pulitzer Prize-winning show, will perform the title role since he stepped down in July 2016. The three weeks of performances will run January 8-27.

“Bringing [Hamilton] to Puerto Rico is a dream that I’ve had since we first opened at The Public Theater in 2015,” Miranda in a statement, as reported by Playbill. “When I last visited the island, a few weeks before Hurricane Maria, I had made a commitment to not only bring the show to Puerto Rico, but also return again to the title role. In the aftermath of Maria we decided to expedite the announcement of the project to send a bold message that Puerto Rico will recover and be back in business, stronger than ever.”

Miranda is in Puerto Rico to aid recovery efforts. On Monday, he joined forces with the Hispanic Federation to announce the launch of a $2.5 million recovery fund and the first seven recipients to help seed projects encompassing micro-enterprise, housing, arts and culture, and conservation efforts, among others.

Hamilton, which won 11 Tony Awards, is on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers and is amidst a Los Angeles run that ends December 30.

Netflix ThisClose to Renewing Navarro’s “13 Reasons Why” for a Second Season

Christian Navarro may soon find more Reasons

It appears that Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, starring the 25-year-old Puerto Rican actor, may be getting a second-season renewal soon, according to reports by Deadline.com.

Christian Navarro

The series, executive produced by Selena Gomez, is an adaption of the bestselling 2007 Young Aduly book by Jay Asher.

13 Reasons Why has been well received by critics and has created buzz on social media, quickly developing a following. There had been talks about how to extend the premise beyond Season 1.

The series follows teenager Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) as he returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (newcomer Katherine Langford) —his classmate and crush—who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Will Clay be one of them? If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

In addition to Navarro, who portrays Tony Padilla, the series also stars Kate Walsh, Brian D’Arcy James, Derek Luke, Brandon Flynn, Justin Prentice, Alisha Boe and Tommy Dorfman.

13 Reasons Why is directed by Oscar winner Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), written by Tony and Pulitzer Prize Winner Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal), and executive produced by Gomez.

The series is produced for Netflix by Paramount Television.