Amazon Studios has ordered a pilot for the drama series Once Upon a Time in Aztlan from STXtelevision, starring and executive produced by the 60-year-old Mexican American actor/comedian via his Travieso Productions banner.
Written by Javier Rodriguez, the one-hour drama revolves around a Chicano family in the deep suburbs of Los Angeles as they come to terms with the falsehoods of the American Dream, and their ability to defy expectations.
Rodriguez executive produces with photographer/director Estevan Oriol, LA-based artist Mister Cartoon, and Michael Connolly who put the Latinx package together under his STXtelevision-based Mad Hatter Entertainment banner. Matthew Carnahan joined the package in the writers room and serves as EP.
Ricardo de Montreuil is directing the pilot and will executive produce along with Oriol and Cartoon’s longtime collaborators Mark Suroff and Marco Valadez, who produced the hit documentaryLA Originals, which Oriol directed. Oriol’s work has been showcased in The Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives, The Petersen Automotive Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art, and in Los Angeles’ and New York’s Art in the Streets exhibit, among others.
The 46-year-old Peruvian filmmaker has signed on to direct and co-write the social thriller Danielwith first-time feature writer Owen Renfroe.
The story follows, Daniel, an unlicensed Latinx doctor who works for a dying billionaire on his private, remote estate. When he suddenly uncovers a sinister secret about his boss’s foster daughter, he must fight for the life he worked so hard to build. The film is the first social thriller to tackle head-on the plight of Latinx professionals and the struggles they endure in dealing with systemic discrimination.
“Daniel explores the very real struggles that minorities and disenfranchised groups have to endure in America, at a historic time when these pressures are finally getting broadly exposed,” said de Montreuil.
Montreuil broke onto the scene when he was tapped by Blumhouse to direct the coming-of-age drama Lowriders in 2016. The film stars Demian Bichir, Eva Longoria and Gabriel Chavarria and earned strong reviews with Montreuil landing a number of jobs following its release.
The project includes the participation of famed photographer Estevan Oriol and iconic Los Angeles-based artist Mister Cartoon aka Mark Machado.
Michael Connolly, under his Mad Hatter Entertainment banner, brought the elements together.
Lopez is in final talks to star and executive produce the project through his Travieso Productions, with Javier Rodriguez writing the pilot. Oriol and Cartoon will executive-produce.
“I’m thrilled to be teaming up with Cartoon, Estevan, Jada and Michael for this series and developing a show with STXtv,” Lopez said. “Cartoon and Estevan are the DaVincis of our community; they have been the street chroniclers of our uniquely Chicano story … our American story. I’m looking forward to working with them and the rest of the team to expand their canvas to capture the diverse stories and people that make our culture and community so amazing, colorful and vibrant.”
This authentic L.A.-based series examines a family coming to terms with the falsehoods of the American Dream and their ability to defy expectations.
“I want to create a vision of Los Angeles inspired by my tattoos and murals that enriches and showcases the culture, opening it up to new audiences,” Cartoon said. “Putting together the dream team of Latino street culture and a collection of creative minds headed up by George Lopez, who is born and raised in L.A. and is an icon of our community. George’s experience and sense of humor acts as a foundation for this team.”
Oriol and Cartoon’s longtime collaborators Mark Suroff and Marco Valadez, who produced LA Originals, also will serve as executive producers with Connolly.
“I’m looking forward to developing this with Cartoon, George, Jada and Michael,” said Oriol. “STXtv truly gets what it takes to develop a real show that can only be made in LA. This is the dream team. Period. It doesn’t get more authentic than this and I’m proud and privileged to be invited on this ride.”
He previously starred in Lopez for TV Land and Saint George for FX. And he had a talk show that ran from 2009-11. While his hit comedy George Lopez, whichended in 2007, ran on ABC, STXtv will zero in on buyers in the cable and streaming markets.
Cartoon is L.A.’s legendary tattoo artist, designer and cultural icon whose stylish and influential global work has been featured on countless celebrities including Kobe Bryant, Eminem, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Beyoncé, Lewis Hamilton, Snoop Dogg and many others. Cartoon also designed the logos for Cypress Hill and Eminem’s Shady Records, and his résumé includes cutting-edge designs for Nike, the LA Clippers and T-Mobile and others.
Oriol is an internationally celebrated photographer, director and urban lifestyle entrepreneur. Beginning as a tour manager for Cypress Hill and House of Pain, he developed a passion for photography as he documented life on the road to become hip-hop’s best-known chronicler; his work has been showcased in bestselling books, select galleries, and institutions, including the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives,Mesa Contemporary Art Center, Petersen Automotive Museum, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’ and New York’s Art in the Streets exhibit. He has photographed Eminem, Kim Kardashian, Cypress Hill, Dennis Hopper, Blink-182, Forest Whitaker, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent, and Danny Trejo, among many others. He most recently executive produced the film Lowridersand directed the hit Netflix documentary L.A. Originals.
L.A. Originalswas critically acclaimed and extremely successful, introducing new fans to the world to Oriol and Cartoon.
The 41-year-old Mexican American actress, producer and activist and her production company UnbeliEVAble Entertainment have agreed to a two-year, first-look deal with Universal Pictures.
Universal president of production Peter Cramer made the pact.
First up is Universal’s acquisition of rights to My Daughter’s Quinceañera, a pitch from Lauren Iungerich, creator of the MTV series Awkward.
Longoria and producing partner Ben Spector will produce.
It’s the first crack at features for Iungerich, who’s attached to write, direct and co-produce the film that centers on an overwhelmed single father who is faced with the prospect of planning the quinceañera of his daughter’s dreams.
On the Universal deal, Cramer said: “While audiences have identified with Eva through her iconic television roles, she is also an extremely savvy producer with a keen eye for projects that appeal to a broad range of diverse audiences. We are fortunate that Eva has a found a home with Universal, sharing with us her creative instincts and passion for storytelling.”
“Building upon our continued success as producers in television, we were seeking a home to expand the UnbeliEVAble brand into features,” said Longoria. “There’s simply no better place I could think of than Universal Pictures, whose diverse portfolio of releases is inspirational. Jeff, Donna and Peter’s passion was instrumental in keeping us in the Comcast family, and, beginning with My Daughter’s Quinceañera, we look forward to a long relationship with all our partners at the studio. Lauren’s pitch was so brilliant and funny, and to bring this experience to life is like reliving my 15th birthday.”
From Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions and Imagine Entertainment, the film takes place in the East LA world of low rider cars and street tagging.
Bichir was already tapped to play the lead in the film, with Ricardo de Montreuil on board to direct the script, which was written by Josh Bierne-Gordon and Justin Tipping. Previous drafts were written by Cheo Hodari Coker and Elgin James.
Longoria is currently filming Bichir’s directorial debut Refugio, a Mexico City-set drama about a young dreamer who’s born in the circus and embarks on a search to find his long lost true love. Longoria plays a horse acrobat who joins the circus trying to heal a broken heart.
There’s no word on who Longoria would portray in the upcoming feature if she agrees to make the movie.