Rita Moreno Among the “Cast” for This Year’s Academy Awards Show

Rita Moreno has a special date with Oscar…

The producers of this year’s 93rd annual Academy Awards have cast an ensemble of 15 stars to handle all the presenting duties, including the 89-year-old Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer.

Rita Moreno

Moreno, one of the few artists to have won all four major annual American entertainment awards: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award, is part of a “cast” that includes last year’s Oscar winners Joaquin Phoenix, Renee Zellweger, Brad Pitt and Laura Dern.

It’s part of the producers’ pledge to do the entire broadcast as if it were a movie itself.

Last year’s Best Director winner, Bong Joon Ho, who made four trips to the stage for Parasite, is also part of this ensemble, presumably to present Best Director.

Other names announced — in alphabetical order — are Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Bryan Cranston, Harrison Ford, Regina King, Marlee Matlin, Reese Witherspoon and Zendaya.

“In keeping with our awards-show-as-a-movie approach, we’ve assembled a truly stellar cast of stars,” said producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh. “There’s so much wattage here, sunglasses may be required.”

This idea of having a set group of presenters rotating in and out of the show is not new. When producer Gower Champion reimagined the 1969 Oscar show, he created what they called “Friends of Oscar,” with 10 stars exclusively serving as presenters (and no host). The format was then repeated successfully the next year, and has been tweaked occasionally over the decades — including for the innovative 2009 show produced by Bill Condon and Laurence Mark, which used combinations of five past winners each to present the acting awards.

Additional talent joining the April 25 live broadcast on ABC will be announced later.

Krysta Rodriguez to Take Part in Special “Smash” Virtual Cast Reunion to Benefit Actors Fund

Krysta Rodriguezis ready for a Smashing reunion…

The 35-year-old Latina actress/singer is expected to take part in a virtual Smash cast reunion.

Krysta Rodriguez,

Rodriguez, who portrayed Ana Vargas on NBC’s 2012-2013 musical series, will appear in the one-night-only Actors Fund benefit event alongside her Smashcastmates Jaime CeperoWill ChaseBrian d’Arcy JamesJack DavenportAnn HaradaJeremy JordanAndy MientusLeslie Odom Jr. and Wesley Taylor.

The show’s stars Debra MessingKatharine McPheeChristian BorleMegan Hilty and other cast members will virtually reunite on May 20 for a streaming of the 2015 Bombshell in Concert, with Renée Zellwegerintroducing the event and Julie Klausner hosting a live, virtual cast reunion.

The concert of the show-within-the-show about the life of Marilyn Monroewas taped at Broadway’s Minskoff Theateron June 8, 2015, an event that remains one of the most successful fundraisers ever for The Actors FundBombshell– the creation of which formed the plot of Smash– features a score by Marc Shaimanand Scott Wittman, who also served as executive producers of Smash.

Rodriguez and her cast members will appear in a livestream reunion during the intermission. 

The concert and reunion will stream on Wednesday, May 20, at 8:00 pm ET on people.com, PeopleTV, and People social platforms.

Tony Awardwinner and Actors Fund chairman Brian Stokes Mitchell said, “Bombshell in Concertwill be a wonderful evening to share this benefit night with fans far and wide, and will raise much-needed funds to help The Actors Fund continue to help everyone in need in our entertainment community across the country.”

In the past seven weeks, The Actors Fund has distributed $10.1 million in emergency financial assistance to 8,558 people in need due to the current COVID-19pandemic, or more than five times the funds normally provided in a year.

Smashwas based on an original idea by Steven Spielberg, who was also executive producer of the series, and created by Theresa Rebeck.

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.

Diego Luna to Star in the Anthology Film “Berlin, I Love You”

Diego Luna is spreading a little Liebe to Germany…

The 37-year-old Mexican actor, producer and director will star in the anthology film Berlin, I Love You, the latest feature in the Cities of Love series launched by Emmanuel Benbihy in 2006 with the release of Paris, je t’aime, followed by New York, I Love You (2008) and Rio, I Love You (2014).

Diego Luna

Luna joins an ensemble cast that includes Jenna Dewan Tatum, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Jim Sturgess, Mickey Rourke, Orlando Bloom, Sophie Turner, Jack Huston, Patrick Dempsey and Renee Zellweger.

Like the other films, Berlin, I Love You will feature short stories of romance, this time set in the German capital.

Written by Neil La Bute and David Vernon, the segments are being directed by Fernando Eimbcke, Dennis Gansel, Massy Tadjedin, Peter Chelsom, Til Schweiger, Justin Franklin, Dani Levy and Dianna Agron. Josef Rusnak will helm the transition sequence that ties all the episodes together.

Herrera’s “Twilight” Moment: Creating Bella’s Gown

Carolina Herrera has been expanding her empire to a new generation of fashionistas by dressing starlets like Jessica Alba, Jordana Brewster and Camilla Belle. But her latest creation could make her the Bella of the ball for the younger set.

The 72-year-old Venezuelan designer is the mastermind behind what could become the most copied wedding dress of the century: the bridal gown worn by Kristen Stewart’s character Bella in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part I.

Carolina Herrera Twilight Dress

Twilight author Stephenie Meyer specifically asked Herrera to create the dress, which was handmade for Stewart to wear in her on-screen wedding to her vampire fiancé, Edward Cullen

“I was of course inspired by Stephenie’s description of the gown in the book, but I added the touch of Herrera and also took into consideration the personality and the style of the bride,” Herrera tells British Vogue. “A wedding dress is both an intimate and personal for a woman—it must reflect the personality and style of the bride.  Bella’s dress is romantic and filled with a timeless sophistication, very similar to the character. In a way, this dress served as a symbol of the character’s coming of age and introduction into womanhood.”

Carolina Herrera Twilight Dress

It took Herrera and four seamstresses more than six months to create thedramatic crepe satin and French Chantilly lace dress, which features 152 buttons on the back and 17 on each sleeve. But it only took a second to make an emotional impact on Stewart.

“In the initial fitting when Kristen put the dress on and looked in the mirror, she was very moved,” says the designer. “In that moment she was not an actress or a character in a film, she was a bride, and a happy one at that.  It is always very important to make the bride happy, of course, and in this case I was delighted to do so.  It was a very special moment for both Kristen and the character of Bella to share.”

Herrera’s classic and sophisticated wedding gowns have been worn by some of the world’s most stylish brides, including Renee Zellweger and Christina Hendricks. So what inspired her to work in the Twilight zone?

“Being a big follower of The Twilight Saga, I was very flattered to be a part of this fantastic project,” says Herrera. “I read the books and saw the first film and have been a fan ever since.  You can’t walk down the street and run into someone who doesn’t know what Twilight is anymore, whether it be the books or the movie.  Our bridal collections always possess a timeless elegance and sophistication and I found the same elements in Stephenie Meyer’s descriptions of Bella’s dress.”

The floor-length handmade gown—complete with a Bardot neckline and short train—will be sold at Herrera’s boutiques in New York, Los Angeles, Bal Harbour and Dallas starting in January 2012.