Penelope Cruz’s “Official Competition” Acquired for UK Distribution by Protagonist Pictures

Penelope Cruz’s latest project is headed to theaters in United Kingdom…

The 47-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actress’ Spanish-language comedy Official Competition, co-starring Antonio Banderas and Oscar Martínez, has been acquired for UK distribution by Protagonist Pictures.

Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas, Official Competition

The announcement came ahead of the film’s world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

In Official Competition, Oscar winner Cruz plays renowned filmmaker Lola Cuevas, who is recruited by a billionaire entrepreneur who impulsively decides to create an iconic movie. Banderas stars as Hollywood heartthrob Félix Rivero, and joining them is Argentinian actor Oscar Martínez (The Distinguished Citizen), who plays radical theatre actor Iván Torres.

The Spanish-language comedy, directed by Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat from a script they wrote with Andrés Duprat, will also screen in the Special Presentations section of the Toronto International Film Festival and will open this year’s Perlak Section at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

Produced by The Mediapro Studio, the film has already sold to a string of international indie buyers.

“We are incredibly excited to work with such a talented cast and such lauded directors. We’re thrilled to bring this hilarious and witty film to UK audiences at a time when it is much needed,” said Curzon officials.

Protagonist CCO George Hamilton added: “Our friends at Curzon have a prodigious record in delivering high-quality films to discerning UK audiences, making them the perfect partners to distribute this whip-smart comedy, led by A-list talent at the top of their game, and helmed by some of Spain’s most fiercely talented filmmakers. We know Official Competition is in the best hands possible.”

Diego Calva to Star in Damien Chazelle’s Hollywood Period Feature “Babylon”

Diego Calva is heading to Babylon

The Mexican actor will join the ensemble cast of Damien Chazelle’s Hollywood period Paramount feature Babylon.

Diego Calva

Calva joins the previously announced cast, which includes Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Jovan Adepo and Li Jun Li.

The project, which is set for a Christmas Day 2022 release and a January 6, 2023 expansion, is an R-rated drama, set in the shifting moment in Hollywood when the industry turned from silent film to talkies.

In addition, Calva has signed with WME.

The Mexico City native has starred in the Netflix series Unstoppabland will appear in the upcoming season of the streamer’s Narcos: Mexico

He previously starred in I Promise You Anarchy, which was screened at the Contemporary World Cinema section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. The feature from Julio Hernández Cordón won several awards at festivals like Mix Brasil, Sao Paulo International Film Festival, Lisbon International Film Festival, Costa Rica International Film Festival with Calva receiving the Best Actor award at the Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana, Cuba.

Eiza Gonzalez to Star Opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in Michael Bay’s Action-Thriller “Ambulance”

Eiza Gonzalez is calling 9-1-1…

The 30-year-old Mexican actress and singer will star opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in Michael Bay’s action-thriller Ambulance

Eiza González

Chris Fedak wrote the original script, based on the original Danish Film Ambulancen produced by Nordisk Film Productions.

The logline is being kept under wraps, but insiders say the film is the vein of the great action thrillers of the ’90s like Speed and Bay’s Bad Boys.

The script has been highly coveted for years but never able to lock down a director before Bay got his hands on it and instantly fell in love.

Universal Pictures recently finalized the deal to distribute the film with Endeavor Content handling the packaging of the project.

Production is expected to start in January.

Gonzalez’s 2021 looks to be quite busy as she can be seen next in the thriller I Care A Lot, which also stars Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was picked up by Netflix for a 2021 release.

She also has the tentpole Godzilla vs. Kong, which will bow in 2021 in theaters and on HBO Max day and date.

Eiza González Signs with William Morris Endeavor (WME)

Eiza González has new representation…

The 30-year-old Mexican actress/singer has signed with William Morris Endeavor (WME) for representation in all areas.

Eiza González

González rose to acclaim after her roles in El Rey’s series From Dusk till Dawn, in which she collaborated with Robert Rodriguez. She further increased her star power in the United States after appearing in Edgar Wright’s 2017 summer blockbuster Baby Driveras Darling, the heist girlfriend to Jon Hamm’s Buddy, in the $227M grossing movie.

González has scored roles in notable movies, including Nyssiana in the Rodriguez-directed 20th Century Fox sci-fi movie Alita: Battle Angel($404.8M WW), Madame M opposite Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson in Hobbs & Shaw($759M WW), and the upcoming Legendary/Warner Bros. sequel Godzilla vs. Kongdue out on May 21, 2021.

She most recently starred in Sony PicturesBloodshotopposite Vin Diesel and Guy Pearce, which earned her an Imagen Award nomination for Best Actress in a Feature Film.

González will next be seen opposite Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage in I Care A Lot, which will premiere at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival.

The Mexico City native studied at the American School Foundation, the Edron Academy, M&M Studio and Televisa’s Centro de Educación Artística.’

Her breakthrough came in the teenage telenovela Lola: Érase una vezin 2007. González also starred in numerous additional series in Mexico. She signed with Universal Music, and recorded five albums.

Her other feature credits include Robert ZemeckisWelcome to Marwen, and voiceover credits in DreamWorksThe Croods and 20th Century Fox’s Alvin and the Chipmunks and Horton Hears A Who!

Benjamín Naishtat Signs with United Talent Agency (UTA)

Benjamín Naishtat is going global…

The 32-year-old Argentinian writer and director has signed with United Talent Agency (UTA) in all areas.

Benjamín Naishtat

Born in Buenos Aires, Naishtat is best known for creating experimental and fictional shorts centered on historical and societal complexities. He has made a name for himself on the global film circuit: His first feature, History of Fear played at the Berlin Film Festival, and it won the Best Film Award at the Jeonju International Film Festival.

Additionally, he wrote and directed The Movement, which participated in the Cineasti del Presente section of the Locarno Film Festival.

His most recent film Rojo made its world premiere earlier this year at the Toronto International Film Festival in the Platform section; it t was also an official selection at the San Sebastián Film Festival where it won the Silver Shell for Best Director.

Focus Features to Release Penelope Cruz & Javier Bardem’s “Everybody Knows” in February

Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem will have a thrilling Valentine’s month…

Focus Features has set a February 8 limited release date for Everybody KnowsAsghar Farhadi’s psychological thriller starring the 44-year-old Spanish actress and her 49-year-old Spanish actor husband.

Penelope Cruz & Javier Bardem Everybody Knows

The film, which also stars Ricardo Darín, opened the Cannes Film Festival in May.

Written and directed by Farhadi, the Spanish-language film first will get a brief Oscar-qualifying run starting on November 30.

It follows Laura (Cruz) on her travels with her two kids from Argentina to her small hometown in Spain for her sister’s wedding. Amid the joyful reunion and festivities, the eldest daughter is abducted. In the tense days that follow, various family and community tensions surface and deeply hidden secrets are revealed.

At the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, Farhadi talked about his inspiration for the movie. “It comes from a trip I had to Spain with my family 15 years ago, he said. “My daughter was very small at that time, and she saw photos of a girl on the wall in the street. She asked my interpreter, ‘Who is she?’ and he explained to us that there had been a kidnapping. My daughter was afraid for the whole trip. And from that time, I was thinking about this situation, in which a family would lose one member. … It was with me for a long time.”

Jacob Vargas to Star on Netflix’s “Mr. Iglesias”

Jacob Vargas is making the grades

The 47-year-old Mexican-American actor has been cast as a series regular opposite Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias in Mr. Iglesias, Netflix’s upcoming comedy series from the comedian and Cristela co-creator/executive producer Kevin Hench.

Jacob Vargas

In the comedy, Iglesias plays Gabe, a good-natured public high school teacher who works at his alma mater. He takes on teaching gifted but misfit kids to not only save them from being “counseled out” by a bully bureaucrat Assistant Principal, but also to help them unlock their full potential. 

Vargas will play Tony Medina, Gabe’s longtime best friend and fellow teacher at the high school.

Iglesias executive produces with Hench.

Vargas is known for his role as Allesandro Montez on Sons of AnarchyHe stars in the feature The Public with Emilio Estevez, which will screen at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival. His recent television credits include Luke Cage and HBO’s Mosaic

Trailer Released for Louis C.K.’s Latest Film “I Love You, Daddy”

Louis C.K.’s latest project may be a little too timely…

“A girl that age is getting into trouble, and if she loves her daddy, that means you’re doing nothing,” says the first trailer for I Love You, Daddy, the new film from the 50-year-old Mexican American comedian, filmmaker and television creator that is likely to be looked at quite differently now than when it debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Louis C.K.

The potentially jarring dark comedy is directed by Louis C.K., who also stars as Glen, a successful TV writer-producer-father who panics when his 17-year-old daughter China (Chloë Grace Moretz) starts spending time with a legendary movie director (John Malkovich) — who is sixtysomething and well known for dating “really young women.”

“She is a child — she knows nothing,” Glen says of his progeny. “She’s like a Disney princess on estrogen.

Conceived in 1940s Hollywood style and resplendent in vintage black-and-white, the film also features Helen Hunt as Glen’s combative ex-wife, Better ThingsPamela Adlon as his feisty ex-girlfriend, Edie Falco as his long-suffering production partner and Charlie Day as his brash TV actor buddy Ralph.

The Orchard swooped in with a distribution deal after the film’s well-received TIFF premiere screening last month and will release I Love You, Daddy on November 17.

 

 

Leto to Make His Feature-Length Scripted Directorial Debut with Paramount Pictures’ “77”

Jared Leto is about to accomplish a new career first…

The 45-year-old part-Spanish American actor/singer is set to direct Wolf Films’ period thriller 77 for Paramount Pictures. The film marks his feature-length scripted directorial debut.

Jared Leto

Set in politically charged 1974 Los Angeles, the story centers on two police officers who team up to recover kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst, while simultaneously investigating the brutal murder of a fellow officer. They uncover not only relentless corruption and crime, but a dark and violent conspiracy as well.

David Matthews penned the script from an original screenplay by L.A. Confidential author James Ellroy.

The film will be produced by writer/producer Dick Wolf and Tony Ganz of Wolf Films. Leto also is producing.

Leto’s directing credits include the documentary Artifact, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2012; the documentary short Great Wide Open; and the documentary series Into the Wild and Beyond the Horizon

As an actor, he won a Supporting Oscar for 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club, played the Joker in last year’s Suicide Squad and next appears in Blade Runner 2049.

Miami Film Festival’s Encuentros Sidebar to Include Schnicer & Guardiola’s “Tigre”

Silvina Schnicer and Ulises Porra Guardiola will have a special encuentro in Miami…

The Miami Film Festival has unveiled its industry sidebar Encuentros, a selection of Latin American feature films produced partially or entirely by Ibero-American-based production companies currently in the postproduction stage, with the Argentine filmmakers’ latest project making the list.

Tigre

In addition to Schnicher and Guardiola’s Tigre, the program also selected Eugenia (Bolivia), directed by Martin BoulocqCamocim (Brazil), directed by Quentin Delaroche; and Los debiles (Mexico), directed by Raul Rico and Eduardo Giralt Brun.

The Encuentros sidebar was curated by Sandro Fiorin, from LatAm-specialty sales agent FiGa Films,

The projects will be matched with industry professionals, and a jury will award a $10,000 cash prize in completion financing, courtesy of the Knight Foundation.

“None of them were seen anywhere before,” said Fiorin on this year’s selection. “All remarkable in their own way, they represent what is happening at this moment in Latin America. The freshness and attitude are palpable, though the similarities and politics are buried deep inside each story. A total reflection of our times here in the U.S. and elsewhere,” he added.

Last year, the Encuentros winner was The Candidate, directed by Uruguayan actor Daniel Hendler, and an international premiere at the Miami fest this year.

The Festival also announced this year’s Miami Encuentros jury, formed by Dana Keith (Miami Beach Film Society and Cinematheque), Molly O’Keefe (Tribeca Film Institute), and the program creator Diana Sanchez (Toronto International Film Festival).

Additional prizes to be awarded include a DCP Mastering Service package valued at $5,000 presented by Madrid’s Aracne Digital Services; and a poster design service valued at $5,000 presented by Buenos Aires’ Boogieman Media.

Presented by the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, Miami Encuentros will be hosted March 6-7 at the Faena Hotel Miami Beach.

The 34th edition of the Miami Dade College’s Miami Film Festival will run March 3 –12.