John Leguizamo to Star in Apple‘s Upcoming Drama Series “Firebug”

John Leguizamo is buggin’…

The 63-year-old Colombian Emmy– & Tony Award-winning actor will star alongside Taron Egerton in Apple‘s upcoming drama series Firebug.

John LeguizamoHailing from Apple Studios and creator Dennis Lehane, the series will be directed and executive-produced by Kari Skogland.

Written by Lehane and loosely inspired by true events, Firebug will follow a troubled detective and an enigmatic arson investigator (Egerton) as they pursue the trails of two serial arsonists.

Leguizamo with play Esposito, a former policeman with a lot of bad habits and a lot of good instincts.

Jurnee Smollett will also star in the series.

In addition to starring, Egerton will serve as executive producer alongside Richard Plepler through Eden Productions, Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas through Imperative Entertainment and Kary Antholis.

Leguizamo is host and executive producer of MSNBC’s hit travel show, Leguizamo Does America, which is currently in production on its second season.

He recently starred in Amazon series The Power, alongside Toni Collette, in Showtime’s five-part drama series Waco: The Aftermath, and in Mark Mylod’s horror comedy The Menu.

Leguizamo stars in the independent film Bob Trevino Likes It, which recently premiered at SXSW, winning the SXSW Grand Jury Award and the Audience Award in the Narrative Feature category.

He also stars as federal agent Gordon Rogers in The Green Veil drama series, which he produced alongside director Aram Rappaport.

Upcoming, he hosts the PBS documentary series American Historia: The Untold History of Latinos, a project he co-created with director Ben De Jesus. He’ll also be seen in the upcoming thriller feature Tin Soldier, opposite Robert Di Niro, Jamie Foxx and Rita Ora.

Canelo Alvarez Named an Executive Producer on “The Long Game”

Canelo Alvarez is embracing his artistic side…

The 33-year-old Mexican boxing great and entrepreneur will serve as an executive producer on the film, The Long Game, which earned the SXSW Narrative Spotlight Audience Award in 2023.

Canelo AlvarezThe feature, directed by Julio Quintana, opens in theaters nationwide on April 12.

The Long Game, inspired by the book Mustang Miracle written by Humberto G. Garcia, follows the true story of five young Mexican American caddies in 1955 who created their own golf course in the middle of the South Texas brush country. Despite outdated and inferior equipment and no professional instruction to begin with, they would go on to compete against wealthy, all-white teams and win the 1957 Texas State High School Golf Championship.

It stars Jay Hernandez, Dennis Quaid, Cheech Marin, Julian Works, Paulina Chavez, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Brett Cullen and Oscar Nuñez. Quintana penned the script alongside Jennifer C. Stetson and Paco Farias.

The Guadalajara-born boxing star is an avid golfer himself and has his golf apparel line “No Golf, No Life” collection.

“From the first time I saw The Long Game I was inspired to give whatever support was needed. I connected with The Long Game on so many levels and I am excited for the public to know more about true stories within the history of sports that haven’t been told.” Alvarez tells Deadline in a statement.

He added, “I’m proud to be part of a team that is sharing the story of five Mexican-Americans with determination, drive and passion to create their own journey. This film is an inspiration for the golf community and the world.”

Mucho Mas Media and Bonniedale Entertainment teamed up to release the film in theaters.

“We are thrilled to have Canelo come on board The Long Game and bring his insight, passion and voice to help get the word out about this powerful and inspirational movie. Not unlike the film, Canelo’s journey is symbolic of a true underdog story,” shared MMM Co-Founder Javier Chapa.

Raúl Castillo to Star in Paramount‘s “Smile” Sequel

Raúl Castillo has a new reason to smile

The 46-year-old Mexican American actor has been cast in Paramount‘s Smile sequel.

Raul CastilloCastillo is among a list of new cast additions that includes Miles Gutierrez-Riley, who starred in The Wilds.

The film’s plot and character details are being kept under wraps.

The duo joins the previously announced cast: Naomi Scott, Lukas Gage, Kyle Gallner, Rosemarie DeWitt and Dylan Gelula.

Smile writer and director returns for the second installment to again direct from his own script, with Temple Hill producing.

Smile 2 is currently slated for release on October 18, 2024, when it will go up against a still-unnamed title from Universal Pictures.

Going on to gross over $217M in theaters, even if it was initially set up for release on Paramount+, Smile was one of the great, unexpected box office successes of 2022. One of several original studio horror films of late to expand into a franchise, it tells the story of Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon), a psychiatrist who becomes increasingly convinced she is being threatened by an uncanny entity, after witnessing a bizarre, traumatic incident involving a patient.

Castillo most recently starred in the Amazon film Cassandro opposite Gael Garia Bernal. He’s set to appear in HBO‘s Mark Ruffalo-led series, the Untitled Brad Ingelsby Task Force Project (w/t), currently in pre-production.

Prior television credits also include HBO’s Looking, Starz’s Vida and Netflix’s Atypical to name a few; Army of the DeadCha Cha Real SmoothKnives Out and We The Animals are among his film credits.

Gutierrez-Riley made his TV debut in the second season of Prime Video’s The Wilds, where he portrayed Ivan. In September 2022, Miles he starred in Paramount’s film adaptation of On The Come Up, which made its world premiere on the opening night of TIFF. Next up, he will star opposite Corey Fogelman in Tommy Dorfman’s directorial debut I Wish You All the Best, premiering at SXSW in March. It has also been announced that Gutierrez-Riley will star in Disney+’s WandaVision spinoff, Agatha: Darkhold Diaries.

Christian Nodal Among Artists Set to Perform at Billboard Presents THE STAGE at SXSW

Christian Nodal is hitting The Stage in Austin, Texas…

Billboard has announced its return to South by Southwest (SXSW) for three star-studded concerts running Thursday, March 14, through Saturday, March 16, with the 25-year-old Mexican musician, singer and songwriter among the artists scheduled to perform.

Christian Nodal,Billboard Presents THE STAGE at SXSW will kick off with a night dedicated to R&B headlined by singer-songwriter and producer PARTYNEXTDOOR on March 14; on March 15, a night celebrating Latin music will feature TJ the DJ and Nodal; and on March 16, a dance-centric night will kick off with DJ Sober before electronic giant ILLENIUM takes the stage.

Nodal has won three Latin Grammy Awards, a Lo Nuestro Award, two Billboard Latin Music Awards and a Latin American Music Award.

Additional talent will be announced at future dates.

Billboard Presents THE STAGE at SXSW takes place at Moody Amphitheater at Waterloo Park in Austin. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster.

Billboard will report live from SXSW 2024, which takes place March 8-16 in Austin.

SXSW began in 1987 and has continued to grow with each passing year into a must-attend event for those in the music, film and tech industries.

Last March, Billboard Presents THE STAGE at SXSW featured performances from rapper-singer Lil Yachty with opening acts Lola Brooke and Armani White; Latin stars Feid and Eladio Carrión; and electronic giants Kx5 (Kaskade x deadmau5).

Later in the year, the inaugural SXSW Sydney took place, bringing the festival to Australia for the first time. Japanese girl group XG headlined Billboard’s THE STAGE at SXSW Sydney.

LD Entertainment & Variance Films to Release Rene Rosado-Starrer “National Anthem” In Theaters This Summer

Rene Rosado’s latest project is heading to a theater near you.

LD Entertainment will partner with Variance Films on the theatrical release of National Anthem, the queer ranching drama starring the 41-year-old Puerto Rican actor.

Rene RosadoThe feature directorial debut of Luke Gilford, which debuted at last year’s SXSW, also stars Charlie Plummer, Eve Lindley, Mason Alexander Park and Robyn Lively.

National Anthem will be released in the U.S. on July 12.

Immersed in the world of a rural queer ranching community, and set against the exuberant, real-life International Gay Rodeo AssociationNational Anthem is billed as a celebration of first love and chosen family. The protagonist of the film is Dylan (Plummer), a 21-year-old working in construction in New Mexico who joins a community of queer rodeo performers in search of their own version of the American dream.

Said Variance’s Dylan Marchetti and Kristen Osborne: “Variance’s mission is to help people find joy at the movie theater, and Luke’s incredible vision is a perfect fit. National Anthem is a celebration of so many things that TRULY make America great- love, our beautiful open spaces (shot in glorious 35mm, no less), and finding your family no matter where you may live- because no matter where you live, your family is out there waiting for you. We can’t wait for audiences to glam up and find theirs at theaters everywhere this summer!”

Added LD’s Mickey Liddell and Pete Shilaimon: “We have been impressed with Variance’s commitment to providing a re-imagined look at independent film releases. It is within the theater that audiences come together as a community to have fun and take home a message that resonates. Luke’s film embodies this same spirit, one that is a ballad to young love and finding yourself. We are beyond thrilled to invite audiences, cowboys, and drag queens alike to the rodeo.”

Hope Runs High Acquires North American Distribution Rights to Tomás Gómez Bustillo’s Debut Feature “Chronicles of a Wandering Saint”

Tomás Gómez Bustillo’s latest project is headed to U.S. theaters…

After landing three Independent Spirit Award nominations including Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay and Best Cinematography, the Argentine writer-director’s under-the-radar debut feature Chronicles of a Wandering Saint has been slated for North American distribution and worldwide sales by boutique Hope Runs High.

Tomás Gómez BustilloThe film will be released in U.S. theaters early this year.

The rare film to make a splash on the awards front even before release, Chronicles of a Wandering Saint is set in a tiny Argentinian town, where a pious yet competitive woman decides that staging a miracle could be her ticket to sainthood. After discovering a lost statue, she orchestrates a grand reveal that will finally anoint her as the most admired woman in town. But before the unveiling, a jarring event illuminates the hidden magic of her world, forcing her to reevaluate everything she once took for granted.

Tomás Gómez Bustillo’s Chronicles of a Wandering SaintPreviously, the supernatural comedy won the Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award at SXSW. It’s the first from producers Gewan Brown and Amanda Freedman of new indie outfit

In a statement to Deadline, Hope Runs High curator Taylor Purdee shared that the film “came out of nowhere and ricocheted me between hilarity and reverie. It’s quotidian adventure, it’s fantastical magics, it turns you upside down at the half way point and leads you lovingly towards one of the most simply moving conclusions I’ve seen in a film of this kind in quite a while.”

He added that “if moviegoers are lucky, Tomás Gómez Bustillo will be inventing worlds like this for a long time.”

Producer Brown shared that the team is “very excited” to partner with Hope Runs High on the film’s release, noting that they were “immediately drawn” to the “highly collaborative and clever nature” of those at the company.

Bustillo added that “their passion for championing innovative and unique stories is contagious, and I hope that US audiences can share in the joy we had in making our beloved little film.”

Tubi Acquires North American Rights to Alberto Ammann’s Tense Drama-Thriller “Upon Entry”

Alberto Ammann’s latest Entry is headed to North America…

Tubi has acquired North American rights to Spanish and English-language thriller Upon Entry, starring the 45-year-old Argentine and Spanish actor, from French sales firm Charades and Anonymous Content Independent.

Alberto Ammann, Upon EntryThe SXSW film from writer-directors Alejandro Rojas and Juan Sebastián Vásquez, which recently received three Spirit Award nominations and three Goya Awards nominations, will launch on the ad-supported platform on December 12.

The tense drama-thriller Upon Entry finds a couple held and interrogated by border agents determined to see if they have something to hide.

In addition to Ammann, the cast comprises Bruna Cusí, Ben Temple and Laura Gómez.

Internationally, the film has played at festivals including San Sebastian, Tallinn and Thessaloniki.

The films Spirit Award nominations include Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay, while the Goya Awards nominations came for Best Actor, Best Screenplay and Best New Director.

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.

Juan Pablo González Signs with Buchwald

Juan Pablo González has new representation…

The 38-year-old Mexican filmmaker, whose first narrative feature, Dos Estaciones, claimed a Special Jury Award for Acting and a Grand Jury Prize nom upon its premiere in World Cinematic Dramatic Competition at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, has signed with Buchwald.

Juan Pablo González,The drama, which picked up for distribution by Cinema Guild, is set in the bucolic hills of Mexico’s Jalisco highlands, watching as iron-willed businesswoman Maria (Teresa Sánchez) fights against the impending collapse of her tequila factory. It also notably screened at New Directors/New Films (MoMA/Lincoln Center), the San Sebastián Film Festival and the Morelia International Film Festival, where Sánchez received the Eye for Best Acting Award, additionally picking up nominations at both the Cinema Eye Honors and the Gotham Awards.

Institutions supporting the film, which González co-wrote and directed, included IMCINE, Nouvelle Aquitaine Fond de Soutien au Cinéma, the Venice Biennale, the Sundance Institute, the Tribeca Film Institute and Cine Qua Non.

Previously helming the hour-long doc Caballerango, which premiered at IDFA Festival in 2018, González was also behind the 2016 narrative short La Espera, which premiered at SXSW and won the Grand Jury Prize at the New Orleans Film Festival. He has been a fellow of the Fund for Culture and Arts in Mexico, was awarded a 2021 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise, and was also named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2015, appearing there alongside the likes of Reinaldo Marcus Green, Trey Edward Shults, Pippa Bianco and recent Oscar winners The Daniels, among others.

Juan Pablo González,

Kino Lorber Acquires North American Rights to Luis Guzman’s Indie Drama “Story Ave”

Luis Guzman’s story is headed to U.S. theaters…

Kino Lorber has acquired the North American rights to the indie drama Story Ave, starring the 66-year-old Puerto Rican actor and Asante Blackk.

Luis GuzmánKino Lorber is slating the film for release in theaters in October, with an on digital and home video debut to follow.

Marking the feature debut of well-known music video director Aristotle Torres, the film tells the story of Kadir (Blackk), a South Bronx teen and gifted visual artist who loses his way following the death of his younger brother. Overcome with grief and struggling with school and family, he escapes into the creative yet dangerous world of graffiti gangs. To prove himself and join his neighborhood’s ruling gang, Kadir attempts to rob MTA conductor Luis (Guzmán) on the Story Ave subway platform, only to be caught off guard when Luis agrees to give Kadir the cash if he’ll sit down to a meal with him. Following their conversation and the delicate friendship that grows out of it, Kadir sees for the first time how his artistic talent could lead to a better life.

A FirstGen Content and Foxxhole Entertainment Production, in association with Mero Mero Production, The Space Program and Dark Rabbit ProductionsStory Ave won a Special Jury Award for Cinematography at SXSW upon its world premiere at the Austin, TX festival. Torres and Bonsu Thompson wrote the film also starring Melvin Gregg (Snowfall), Alex R. Hibbert (Moonlight) and Coral Peña (For All Mankind).

Said Kino Lorber’s SVP of Theatrical Distribution and Acquisitions, Wendy Lidell, “Story Ave is a New York story unlike any we’ve seen before. Aristotle Torres shines an authentic light on the South Bronx, its beauty never eclipsed by its hardships, and offers audiences the true gift of a complex and worthy role for the immensely talented Luis Guzmán.”

Added Torres in his statement, “I am incredibly honored that my first film has been acquired by Kino Lorber. This partnership with such a renowned distributor is a dream come true, and I am grateful for their recognition of my work.”

Continued the filmmaker, “The team and I invested our hearts and souls into this project, and I am thrilled to see it find a home with such a prestigious brand. I am excited to collaborate with Kino Lorber to bring my film to audiences on a wider scale and share the unique vision we’ve created. This is just the beginning of an exciting journey, and I can’t wait to continue creating meaningful stories that resonate with audiences everywhere.”