Matthew López to Make Feature Directorial Debut with Film Adaptation of Best-Selling LGBTQ+ Novel “Red, White & Royal Blue”

Matthew López is embracing the red, white and (royal) blue

The 44-year-old Puerto Rican playwright and screenwriter, who made history as the first Latinx playwright to win the Tony Award for Best Play, will make his feature directorial debut on the LGBTQ+ romantic comedy Red, White & Royal Blue.

Matthew Lopez

The Amazon Studios production is a film adaptation of Casey McQuiston’s 2019 best-selling novel of the same name.

It centers on a star-crossed power couple — the Latinx character of Alex Claremont-Diaz, the son of the president of the United States, and his relationship with Prince Henry, grandson of the Queen of England.

López rewrote a draft of the script by Ted Malawer in addition to being tapped to direct the film.

Here’s the official logline: “What happens when America’s Prince falls in love with an actual prince? The film follows Alex Claremont-Diaz who, upon his mother’s election as president, was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, brilliant―his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a long-running feud with his royal counterpart across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S.-British relations take a turn for the worse. Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instagram-able friendship grows into something more meaningful than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could complicate his mother’s re-election campaign, upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all?”

Lopez has a busy dance card. He’s penning a remake of The Bodyguard for Warner Bros., collaborating with songwriting duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and Amber Ruffin on a musical-adaptation of Some Like it Hot, and scripting a feature film adaptation of the novel Leading Men, which centers on the relationship between Tennessee Williams and his longtime partner

López will also executive produce the film.

The Inheritance, a two-part epic about the AIDS crisis, is set to make its Los Angeles premiere at the Geffen Playhouse in 2022. In New York, López’s work has been seen Off Broadway with The Whipping Man (Manhattan Theatre Club), and The Legend of Georgia McBride (MCC Theater). He previously signed an overall television development deal with Amazon Studios in October of last year

Netflix Releases Trailer for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Directorial Debut Film “tick, tick…BOOM!”

Lin-Manuel Miranda is readying for a BOOM’in release…

Netflix has released the trailer, key art and the first single from the film’s official soundtrack entitled “30/90” for tick, tick…BOOM!the film directed by the 41-year-old Puerto Rican Tony Award-winning talent behind the hit musicals Hamilton and In The Heights.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

An adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical pre-Rent musical, the film stars Andrew Garfield as Larson.

Netflix’s tick, tick…BOOM! will premiere in theaters on November 12, 2021 and will hit streaming a week later on November 19th.

Garfield plays Jon, a young theater composer who’s waiting tables at a New York City diner in 1990 while writing what he hopes will be the next great American musical. As described by Netflix: Days before he’s due to showcase his work in a make-or-break performance, Jon is feeling the pressure from everywhere: from his girlfriend Susan (Alexandra Shipp), who dreams of an artistic life beyond New York City; from his friend Michael (Robin de Jesús), who has moved on from his dream to a life of financial security. Amidst an artistic community being ravaged by the AIDS epidemic, Jon feels the clock ticking and faces the question everyone must reckon with: What are we meant to do with the time we have?

Larson, of course, would not live to see the success of his “next great American musical,” dying at age 35 on Januaruy 25, 1996, the morning of Rent’s first Off Broadway preview. The cause of death was an aortic aneurysm caused by undiagnosed Marfan’s Syndrome.

The film, which also stars Joshua Henry, MJ Rodriguez, Bradley Whitford, Tariq Trotter, Judith Light and Vanessa Hudgens, will mark Miranda’s feature directorial debut.

In 2001, Miranda, then 21, was writing In The Heights when he attended an Off Broadway revival of tick, tick…BOOM! In 2014, Miranda, who would later say that Rent inspired him to begin writing musicals, portrayed Jon in a two-week Encores! production of tick, tick…BOOM!

tick, tick…BOOM!, with a screenplay by Steven Levenson based on Larson’s musical and choreography by Ryan Heffington.

 

The first single from the film’s official soundtrack entitled “30/90” is available here. Performed by Garfield and featuring additional vocals by Henry, Hudgens, Rodriguez, Shipp and de Jesús, the track is the lead offering from the full soundtrack of music written by Jonathan Larson as heard in the film

 

The first single from the film’s official soundtrack entitled “30/90” is available here. Performed by Garfield and featuring additional vocals by Henry, Hudgens, Rodriguez, Shipp and de Jesús, the track is the lead offering from the full soundtrack of music written by Jonathan Larson as heard in the film.

Ariana DeBose to Star in Apple Original Films’ Actioner “Argylle”

The spies have it for Ariana DeBose

The 30-year-old half-Afro-Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer has joined the cast of Argylle, an action film from Apple Original Films and Matthew Vaughn’s Marv Studios.

Ariana DeBose

The film is currently in production in Europe.

DeBose, a Tony Award nominee, joins a cast that includes Henry Cavill, Sam Rockwell, Bryce Dallas Howard, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O’Hara, John Cena, Samuel L. Jackson, and Grammy winner Dua Lipa, who is making her big screen debut.

The film—setting up a new franchise for Vaughn—follows the world’s greatest spy, Argylle, as he is caught up in a globetrotting adventure, which takes him from America to London and beyond.

It’s based on Elly Conway’s upcoming spy novel of the same name, which is set for publication via Transworld Publishers Ltd, a division of Penguin Random House, next year.

Vaughn is directing Argylle from a script by Jason Fuchs. Dua Lipa will also pen the film’s original title track and score.

“We have assembled an absolutely stellar cast to inhabit each of the wonderfully original and captivating characters in this thrill ride of a story,” said Vaughn. “We’re so excited that production is now off and running, bringing us closer to sharing this epic action spectacle with audiences around the world.”

DeBose earned her Tony nomination in 2018 for her turn as Donna Summer in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. She also featured in the original cast of Hamilton, along with other Broadway titles including Bring It On: The Musical and Pippin.

She will next be seen portraying Anita in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story, and can currently be seen in Apple’s musical comedy series Schmigadoon!.

Matthew López’s “The Bodyguard” Remake to Feature a Latina Starlet

Matthew López is planning to bring a Latina twist to his The Bodyguard redo.

The 44-year-old Puerto Rican playwright and screenwriter is remaking the 1992 romantic thriller, which originally starred Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner.

Matthew Lopez

But this time, the film will feature a brand-new storyline about an overnight Latina sensation.

López, the history making Tony Award-winning playwright of The Inheritance who will be writing the new film, tells Variety that he wants a Latina to front the project.

Unlike Houston, who portrayed Oscar-nominated actress and high-profile singer Rachel Marron dodging death threats and a stalker in the film, the new female lead of The Bodyguard will play an up-and-coming singer who realizes how much she needs protection after growing into her fame.

“It’s so much fun. When Warner Bros. approached me about the idea, I quickly said I would but I wanted the protagonist to be Latina. They agreed to that,” he said. “There’s been a lot of speculation about what I’d bring to the remake and some people were assuming that there’d be a gay storyline to it. Instead of focusing on an established star like the one Whitney Houston played, this is about a young Latina performer who has just become famous. It’s about how her life has changed because she is an overnight sensation. In the 21st century, that means she’s in immediate need of protection. It was important to me to use this opportunity to get Latin faces up on that screen and to get their stories told in a big way.”

Variety initially reported that Afro-Latina superstars Cardi B and Tessa Thompson were suggested for the film, to respectively go alongside Channing Tatum and Chris Hemsworth.

No official casting information has been publicly released.

Matthew López Becomes First Latino to Win Tony Award for Best Play

Matthew López has earned his place in Broadway history…

The 44-year-old Puerto Rican playwright and screenwriter’s The Inheritance was named Best Play at the Tony Awards, earning him his first career Tony.\

Matthew Lopez

Lopez’s acclaimed elegiac two-part drama about the AIDS scourge was inspired by E.M Forster’s Howards End.

López, after thanking and acknowledging three queer artists who inspired him (Forster, Terrence McNally and Miguel Pinero), noted that he was the first Latinx playwright to win a Tony Award for Best Play.

He said that while the Latinx community made up 19% of the U.S. population, the number drops to only 2% on Broadway. “This must change,” he said.

The 74th Annual Tony Awards, hosted by Audra McDonald, were livestreamed exclusively on Paramount+. The presentation honored the outstanding shows, performances and artistry of the 2019-2020 Broadway season, which was brought to a halt in March 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s the complete list of honorees:

74th ANNUAL TONY AWARDS WINNERS LIST

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
David Alan Grier, A Soldier’s Play

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Danny Burstein, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Lois Smith, The Inheritance

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Lauren Patten, Jagged Little Pill

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Rob Howell, A Christmas Carol

Best Costume Design of a Play
Rob Howell, A Christmas Carol

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Hugh Vanstone, A Christmas Carol

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Derek McLane, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Catherine Zuber, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Justin Townsend, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Peter Hylenski, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Sound Design of a Play
Simon Baker, A Christmas Carol

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
A Christmas Carol
Music: Christopher Nightingale

Best Book of a Musical
Jagged Little Pill
Diablo Cody

Best Orchestrations
Katie Kresek, Charlie Rosen, Matt Stine and Justin Levine, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Choreography
Sonya Tayeh, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Direction of a Play
Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance

Best Direction of a Musical
Alex Timbers, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Andrew Burnap, The Inheritance

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Aaron Tveit, Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Mary-Louise Parker, The Sound Inside

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Adrienne Warren, Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

Best Revival of a Play
A Soldier’s Play Charles Fuller

Best Play
The Inheritance
Author: Matthew López

Best Musical
Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Special Tony Awards were presented to:

  • The Broadway Advocacy Coalition, an arts-based advocacy nonprofit dedicated to building the capacity of individuals, organizations and communities to use storytelling as a way of dismantling the systems that perpetuate racism. The organization was founded in 2016 by several Black members of the Broadway community as a direct response to the nation’s pandemic of rac:ism and police brutality, and has since grown into a multidisciplinary organization which unites artists, legal experts and community advocates to create lasting impact and collaborations on policy issues ranging from criminal justice reform to education equity to immigration.
  • David Byrne’s American Utopia, the Broadway theatrical concert production described by the Tony Awards administration committee as “a jubilant celebration of live music, community, and connection.” The production recently returned to Broadway for a limited engagement.
  • Freestyle Love Supreme, created by Thomas Kail, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Anthony Veneziale, was developed in the basement of The Drama Bookshop in 2004 and slowly worked its way to Broadway’s Booth Theatre in 2019. Directed by Kail, the acclaimed show features a comedic improvisational musical structure, and a rotating cast. Freestyle Love Supreme will return to Broadway for a strictly limited engagement at the Booth on Thursday, October 7.

Tony Honors For Excellence in the Theater were previously announced for:

  • Fred Gallo, President of PRG Scenic Technologies. Gallo, a former stagehand and production carpenter, co-founded Scenic Technologies leading to the formation of his company PRG, one of the world’s leading suppliers of scenery and automation for theatrical productions.
  • Irene Gandy, the first Black female press agent member of the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers, and a Tony Award-winning Broadway producer for The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, and a producer for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill starring Audra MacDonald.
  • Beverly Jenkins, a professional stage manager for over 30 years, currently the production stage manager for the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Hadestown.
  • Woodie King, Jr., founder of the New Federal Theatre, a groundbreaking company with a mission to integrate artists of color and women into the mainstream of American theater.

The 2020 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award was previously announced for:

  • Actress Julie Halston for her work and advocacy in raising funding and awareness for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.

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.

Lin-Manuel Miranda to Appear on “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!” Special

Lin-Manuel Miranda is celebrating Broadway’s reopening…

The 41-year-old Puerto Rican Tony Award-winning actor, singer, songwriter, rapper, producer and playwright will take part in Broadway’s Back!, the live two-hour broadcast special immediately following this Sunday’s streaming-only Tony Awards ceremony.

Lin-Manuel Miranda 

In addition to Miranda, who created the Broadway hits In The Heights and Hamilton, the program will include appearances by Kristin Chenoweth, André De Shields, Jake Gyllenhaal, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Broadway legend Chita Rivera, Daphne Rubin-Vega, who originated the role of Mimi Marquez in the Broadway musical Rent, and more, according to CBS and The American Theatre Wing.

The special, presented live on Sunday, Sept. 26 from Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre, will be hosted by Leslie Odom, Jr.

Designed as a celebration of Broadway’s return to the stage following the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, the special (full title: The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!) airs on CBS from 9:00 – 11:00 pm ET (live) and PT (delayed). The special also will be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

The concert special will include Broadway performers and Tony Award winners re-uniting on stage to perform classics, and will feature performances from the three Tony-nominated Best Musical contenders: Jagged Little Pill, Moulin Rouge! The Musical and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.

The special also will include the live presentation of three Tony Awards: Best Play, Best Revival of a Play and Best Musical.

The 74th Annual Tony Awards, delayed from June 2020 due to COVID-19 and representing a shorter roster of nominees because of the shutdown, will stream exclusively on Paramount+ live beginning at 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT. The ceremony will be hosted by Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning singer and actor Audra McDonald, and will cover productions from the abbreviated 2019-2020 Broadway season.

The line-up of Broadway’s Back! performers and presenters also includes Annaleigh Ashford, Kerry Butler, Christopher Jackson, Ruthie Ann Miles, Bebe Neuwirth, Leslie Odom, Jr., Kelli O’Hara, Ben Platt, Jeremy Pope and BD Wong. Additional performers and presenters will be announced later this week.

The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back! will be produced in collaboration with Tony Award Productions, a joint venture of The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, and White Cherry Entertainment, the team behind the annual Tony Awards telecast. Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss are executive producers for White Cherry Entertainment. Weiss will serve as director.

Jonathan Del Arco to Star in Joanna Gleason’s Directorial Debut Film “The Grotto”

Jonathan Del Arco is headed to the grotto

The 55-year-old Uruguayan actor and former Major Crimes star has signed on to star in The Grotto, the first feature written and directed by Tony Award-winning actress Joanna Gleason.

Jonathan Del Arco

Del Arco will star opposite Betsy Brandt, Dan BucatinskySteve Kazee and Susan Sullivan in the film.

The film centers on Alice (Brandt), who uncovers her recently deceased fiancé’s secret past when she inherits part ownership of a forgotten nightclub in the Mojave Desert.

Del Arco will play Victor, the owner of the nightclub, with Bucatinsky portraying Alice’s new best friend, Kip. The roles played by Kazee and Sullivan have not yet been disclosed.

Actors set to appear in supporting roles include Miguel Sandoval, Caroline Aaron, Michael Nouri, Amy Aquino, Lindsay Mendez (Broadway’s Carousel) and Kevin Chamberlin.

It will enter production in Los Angeles in a matter of days.

“The cast for ‘The Grotto’ is an embarrassment of riches. I have had these characters in my mind for the past few years and always believed that by some miracle, the right actors were going to show up. And they have — with big thanks to our casting directors,” said Gleason. “The chance to work with these actors led by the incomparable Betsy Brandt is a dream come true.”

Gleason’s first feature comes on the heels of several directorial outings in television. Back in the ’90s, she helmed episodes of the series Love & War (CBS), The Louie Show (CBS) and Oh Baby (Lifetime).

Matthew López to Pen the Remake of Warner Bros.’ “The Bodyguard”

Matthew López is preparing for a new body(guard) of work…

The 44-year-old Puerto Rican award-winning playwright and screenwriter, who earned a Tony Award nomination for The Inheritance, will pen the remake of Warner Bros’ 1992 blockbuster The Bodyguard.

Matthew Lopez

The original film, which starred Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston (who died in 2012), grossed $411M WW.

The new film is reportedly inspired by the 1992 romantic drama which followed a former Secret Service agent, played by Costner, who takes on the job of bodyguard to an R&B singer, whose lifestyle is most unlike a President’s.

The Bodyguard served as Houston’s big screen debut at the time.

The film’s original soundtrack is the top selling of all-time with 45M copies sold around the globe. The soundtrack won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and certified 18x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Two songs, “Run to You” and “I Have Nothing,” were nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars, but lost out to “A Whole New World” from Disney’AladdinThe film’s signature song “I Will Always Love You” went 8x Platinum in the U.S. selling 8M copies. Overall, it was the 15th-best selling album in the U.S., big shoes for this reboot, as yet uncast, to fill.

Lawrence Kasdan wrote and produced the original movie, which was directed by Mick Jackson.

Danny Pino to Appear on Soundtrack for Film Adaptation of Broadway Musical “Dear Evan Hansen”

Danny Pino isn’t just starring in Dear Evan Hansen… He’s also appearing on the soundtrack.

Universal has announced the track list for the film adaptation of the award-winning Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen, with the 47-year-old Cuban American actor among the talents appearing on the album.

Danny Pino

Pino appears on the film’s track “Requiem,” alongside Kaitlyn Dever and Amy Adams.

The soundtrack, which will be available on September 9 – the same day as the film’s theatrical release via Interscope Records, will also feature Sam Smith with Summer WalkerSZACarrie Underwood with Dan + Shay, Finneas, and Tori Kelly. They’ll be performing reimagined versions of the musical’s Tony Award-winning songs and as well as original recordings from the film’s score.

Dear Evan Hansen

Songwriting duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul also wrote original tracks for the movie adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen. The album also features 16 tracks that include recordings by the film’s cast.

“Pasek and Paul’s songs from the Dear Evan Hansen stage play are so amazing and timeless — newly recorded by our film’s cast for the soundtrack (and freshly produced by Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, Alex Lacamoire and Dan Romer, and supervised by Jordan Carroll) — and they’re now also complemented by two new original songs written for the film (with one of them co-written and performed in the film by Amandla Stenberg),” Mike Knobloch, president of global film music and publishing at Universal Pictures, tells Billboard.

Pino portrays Larry Mora in the film.