Jesse Garcia to Star in the Eva Longoria-Directed “Flamin’ Hot” Film

It’s a flamin’ hot time for Jesse Garcia.

The 38-year-old Mexican American actor and former Quinceañera star has landed the lead role in Eva Longoria’s feature directorial debut Flamin’ Hot from Searchlight Pictures and Franklin Entertainment.

Jesse Garcia

Garcia will play Richard Montanez, the architect of the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto, while Annie Gonzalez of Gentefied will portray his wife, Judy.

Flamin’ Hot tells the true life story of Richard Montanez, the Frito Lay janitor who took inspiration from his Mexican American heritage to create Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, the snack that disrupted the food industry and became a pop culture phenomenon.

Desperate Housewives actress and Telenovela, Grand Hoteland Devious Maids EP Longoria beat out several directors for the job after impressing Franklin and Searchlight with her authentic approach to the project.

“It has been my biggest priority to make sure we are telling Richard Montañez’s story authentically,” said Longoria in a statement. “I am so happy to have two extremely talented and fellow Mexican-Americans on board in these pivotal roles. Jesse and Annie have a deep understanding of our community and will be able to help tell this story of great importance for our culture.”

Also new to Flamin’ Hot is scribe Linda Yvette Chavez who has come aboard for revisions on the Lewis Colick-penned screenplay. Chavez is the creator of Netflix’s Gentefied and she’s also adapting I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter at the streamer for America Ferrera’s upcoming directorial debut.

Garcia appears in the Searchlight Pictures title Under the Same Moon, alongside Kate del Castillo and Ferrera. He has been widely recognized for his role in the highly acclaimed Quinceañera winner of the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. For his performance as Carlos, Garcia was nominated and won the prestigious ALMA Award (American Latino Media Arts) as Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture in 2007. Garcia can also be seen in The Avengers.

Gonzalez is a Chicana actress and East Los Angeles native. She grew up singing with the band Quetzal, (which has been a noted force in the Chicano movement), was one of the original dancers on Jamm X Kids for the WB and has been appearing on TV since the age of 10. She is most known for her roles in Gentefied, Vida, Shameless, and Legion. She was recently cast in the ABC pilot, Bucktown starring opposite Jane Lynch and Nicole Richie. Gonzalez also has a YouTube page with videos dedicated to her thoughts on spirituality, self-love, peace, positivity and living life as a Latina.

Kate del Castillo to Star in the Off Broadway Production of Isaac Gomez’s “the way she spoke”

Kate del Castillois ready to take the stage…

The 46-year-old Mexican actress, who starred in Telemundo’s wildly popular La Reina del Sur series, will return to the New York stage this summer in the Off Broadway production of Isaac Gomez’s the way she spoke, directed by Jo Bonney as the next Audible Theater production at the Minetta Lane Theatre.

Kate del Castillo

Previews begin on Monday, July 8, with opening night set for Thursday, July 18. The Minetta Lane, in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, is home base for Audible’s live performances, with productions recorded and released by Audible as audio plays.

the way she spoke follows an actress who enters a theater, picks up a script, and begins to read a story that reveals “disturbing and haunting accounts of the murder of thousands of women in Juarez, Mexico and one playwright’s journey of discovery and responsibility.” 

According to Audible’s description, “As lines blur between theatricality and reality, intense and provocative questions are raised and demand deeper examination. Based on a series of intimate interviews, this one-woman play demonstrates the power of speaking truth, even as it considers the implications of doing so.”

Kate Navin, Audible Artistic Producer, called Gomez’s play “deeply moving,” and that del Castillo’s “raw and inspiring performance is sure to captivate our live audiences in New York City and resonate with Audible members everywhere.”

The creative team includes Riccardo Hernandez (scenic design), Emilio Sosa (costume design), Lap Chi Chu(lighting design), Elisheba Ittoop(sound design), and Aaron Rhyne(projection design).

del Castillo, set to co-star with Will Smithand Martin Lawrencein 2020’s Bad Boys For Life, has been a popular star of Mexican television since her teens, but her performance on La Reina del Sur in 2011 became a cultural phenomenon. A second season launched last month. The series, produced by Telemundo and Spain’s Antena 3, is a primetime serial that chronicles del Castillo’s Teresa character, a Mexican woman who rises to great power through international drug trafficking (Alice Bragaplays the character in USA Networks’ American version Queen of the South).

del Castillo’s other credits include Jane The VirginUnder the Same MoonThe 33All About Nina, and the upcoming Bad Boys For Life.

Off-screen, del Castillo made international news when, after controversially tweeting about El Chapoin 2012, the actress was contacted by a lawyer for the Mexican drug lord to discuss a biopic about him (El Chapo, it turned out, was a del Castillo superfan, with a stockpile of La Reina del Sur DVDs found at the safe house raided by Mexican intelligence agencyCISEN.) Later, del Castillo helped arrange the meeting between El Chapo and actor Sean Penn.

Ferrera Among 683 Stars Invited to Become Members of The Academy

America Ferrera is joining the Academy…

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited a record 683 people to joins its ranks, including the 32-year-old Honduran American actress, more than double last year’s 322 invitees.

America Ferrera

Best known for her Golden Globe-, Screen Actors Guild Award and Emmy-winning role on ABC’s Ugly Betty, Ferrera has also starred in several acclaimed films including Real Women Have Curves, Under the Same Moon, End of Watch, Cesar Chavez and Lords of Dogtown.

The Academy was careful to include a breakdown by gender and race, with the new list comprising of 46% women, including Girl in Progess star Eva Mendes and Fast & Furious star Michelle Rodriguez, and 41% people of color, including Luis Guzman, Oscar Isaac and Spanish director J.A. Bayona.

“We’re proud to welcome these new members to the Academy and know they view this as an opportunity and not just an invitation — a mission and not just a membership,” Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement. “This class continues our long-term commitment to welcoming extraordinary talent reflective of those working in film today. We encourage the larger creative community to open its doors wider and create opportunities for anyone interested in working in this incredible and storied industry.”

The new invitees include 28 Oscar winners, range in age from 24 to 91 and represent 59 countries.

 

Other Latinos invited to join AMPAS include Enrique Castillo, Sal Lopez, Marisa Paredes, Jacob Vargas, Daphne Zuniga, Ciro Guerra and Nicole Garcia.

 

Check out the complete list here.

Derbez to Star in Sony Pictures’ “Miracles From Heaven”

Eugenio Derbez has landed a miracle role…

The 53-year-old Mexican actor and director has joined the cast of Sony PicturesMiracles From Heaven, which will be released via TriStar Pictures.

Eugenio Derbez

The film, starring Jennifer Garner, Martin Hendersen and Queen Latifah, will be directed by fellow Mexico compatriot Patricia Riggen.

Written by Randy Brown, adapting Cristy Beam’s same-titled book, the faith-based Miracles From Heaven centers on a young girl suffering from a rare digestive disorder who is miraculously cured after suffering a terrible accident.

Derbez will play an eminent but simpatico U.S.-based Mexican gastroenterologist-pediatrician, who plays games with his child patients to lighten their experience of hospital treatment.

Derbez’s character is inspired by Boston Children’s Hospital specialist Dr. Samuel Nurko, he said.

Derbez joins the Miracles From Heaven Atlanta shoot next week.

Miracles From Heaven reunites Riggen and Derbez, who co-starred in Riggen’s 2008 U.S. breakthrough Under the Same Moon, which grossed $12.6 million for the Weinstein Company.

This is a relatively rare drama outing for Derbez, who has carved out a career in comedy, breaking through with comedy-drama Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever in North America, with a $44.5 million box office trawl. It went on to become the biggest Mexican hit ever in Mexico, punching $46.1 million.

Derbez is currently advancing on three projects at his production label 3pas Studios, which has a first-look deal with Pantelion Films, the LionsgateTelevisa joint U.S. distribution venture.

“The projects have a lot to do with my personality,” Derbez said.

Derbez is set to direct and star in a remake of Argentine hit Chinese Take-Out, a cross-the-cultural-tracks buddy movie about a cantankerous Argentine hardware store owner and an adrift Chinese immigrant. Derbez regular co-scribe Eduardo Cisneros is writing the screenplay. The Argentine would become an American.

3pas Studios is also developing an English-language remake of 2006 French comedy Le Valet. Derbez’s next actor-director gig looks like one of these two projects. “Le Valet” is also at screenplay stage.

A third 3pas Studios project is an Untitled Latin Lover Project, from an original screenplay by Chris Spain and Jon Zack, about an aging Latin lover suddenly thrown out by his wife and forced to get a real job.

Derbez runs 3pas Studios with former Pantelion Films production chief Ben Odell.

Riggen to Direct the Faith-Based Drama “Miracles From Heaven”

It’s special miracle for Patricia Riggen

The 44-year-old Mexican film director has sealed a deal to direct Sony Pictures’ faith-based drama Miracles From Heaven. 

Patricia Riggen

Riggen’s project is an adaptation of Miracles From Heaven: A Sick Little Girl, Her Journey to Heaven, and the Lives Forever Changed, the book by Christy Beam that will go on sale April 14.

Beam’s memoir centers on her daughter, who miraculously overcame an incurable, life-threatening digestive disorder. After she was dramatically rescued from a near-death experience, a stunning series of miracles unfolded that left her family, her medical doctors and community baffled. Beam lived in Texas when the incidents occurred, and her family belongs to the Alsbury Baptist Church.

Randy Brown, who wrote Clint Eastwood‘s Trouble With the Curve, penned the script.

The studio is expected to release the film in spring 2016 through its TriStar Pictures releasing label, the same label that released the faith-based hit Heaven Is for Real.

Riggen directed the critically acclaimed film Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna), as well as the Disney Channel movie Lemonade Mouth.

She most recently helmed the upcoming film The 33, which tells of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days and is based on the book Deep Down Dark written by Hector Tobar.

Derbez Developing a Remake of the French Film “The Valet”

Eugenio Derbez is ready for a makeover…

The 53-year-old Mexican comedian, actor, writer and filmmaker, who recently inked a first look deal with Pantelion Films, is developing a remake of the French film The Valet.

Eugenio Derbez

The film, written and directed by Francis Veber, was released in 2006 and grossed $29 million worldwide.

The story centers on a parking valet and a top model who have to pretend to be a couple in order to salvage a CEO’s marriage.

The Valet is the first project under his new agreement with Pantelion Films, a deal that underscores the high stakes of reaching the coveted Hispanic moviegoing audience — a fast-growing demographic at the box office.

Derbez starred in and directed Pantelion’s hit Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S. at $44 million. The film grossed another $55 million outside the U.S.

“Pantelion and Televisa can reach my core fan base better than anyone and, with the distribution expertise and brand recognition of Lionsgate, I know we can build on the crossover audience that we began to reach with Instructions,” said Derbez.

Derbez also starred in 2007’s Under the Same Moon, which took in about half of its $23 million worldwide in the U.S.

Pantelion, a partnership between Lionsgate and Mexican media conglom Grupo Televisa, made the deal with Derbez’s newly-launched 3Pas Studios production company. 3Pas, a partnership with former Pantelion President of Production Benjamin Odell, will focus on Spanish and English-language films targeting Latino and crossover audiences in the U.S.

Derbez Signs Exclusive First-Look Deal with Pantelion Films

Eugenio Derbez is ready to make more crossover films… And, he now has the support to produce them.

The 53-year-old Mexican writer, director and star of the hit Spanish-language comedy Instructions Not Included, has signed an exclusive first-look deal with Lionsgate/Grupo Televisa’s Pantelion Films.

Eugenio Derbez

The pact keeps Derbez in business with the label that released his record-setting Spanish-language film last year.

The deal was made via Derbez’s newly launched 3PasStudios, a partnership with former Pantelion president of production Benjamin Odell. 3Pas will focus on Spanish- and English-language films targeted at Latino and crossover audiences in the U.S.

Instructions Not Included became the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S. when it opened last year. Pantelion also is behind biopic Cantinflas which has pulled in $3.6M since it opened last weekend in 382 theaters.

Derbez’s film credits include Under The Same Moon, also among the highest-grossing Spanish language films released in the U.S.

He and Odell first worked together on Sangre de Mi Sangre in 2006, starring Derbez, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and for which Odell was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Odell also produced Pantelion’s 2012 release Girl In Progress, starring Eva Mendes, Cierra Ramirez, Patricia Arquette and Derbez, and he is producing Pantelion’s upcoming drama Spare Parts, starring Marisa Tomei, Jamie Lee Curtis and George Lopez, scheduled for release on January 16, 2015.

Derbez Signs with Creative Artists Agency (CAA)

Eugenio Derbez is one step closer to taking over America…

Following the success of his comedy-drama film Instructions Not Included in the United States, the 52-year-old Mexican actor has signed with Creative Artists Agency.

Eugenio Derbez

Derbez is hailed as one of the top Latino filmmakers/actors in the business; and he’s one of the most recognizable Latino faces in the world.

He’s the creator and star of one of Mexico’s most popular sitcoms La Familia P. Luche (The Plush Family), which ran for 10 years on Univision. He also created the Televisa produced sketch-show XHDRbZ, which aired for two seasons.

Both programs not only appeared in the U.S. but also ran in Europe and Latin America. He had very recognizeable names in the Latino market on his sketch show, including the Mexican president Vicente Fox.

Derbez also wrote, directed and starred in last year’s Instructions Not Included, which is touted as the highest-grossing Spanish-language film in the U.S., earning $44.4M in the U.S. and $41M internationally for a total of $85.5 million worldwide.

He was also the voice of Donkey in the Spanish-language version of Shrek and lent his voice to one of the characters in Guillermo Del Toro’s animated comedy Book of Life.

U.S. audiences may remember him from Liongate’s Girl in Progress starring opposite Eva Mendes (2012) or in Fox Searchlight’s sleeper hit Under the Same Moon.

Mexican Screenwriter Villalobos Named a Humanitas Prize Finalist

Ligiah Villalobos has the write stuff… And, she’s earning acclaim for it.

The Mexican screenwriter has been named as one of the finalists for this year’s Humanitas Prize, an annual series of awards that honor film and television writing.

Ligiah Villalobos

Villalobos is nominated in the 90 Minute Category for penning the script for Hallmark Hall of Fame’s 2012 television movie Firelight, which stars Cuba Gooding Jr., Q’orianka Kilcher and DeWanda Wise.

In the film, Gooding Jr. portrays Dwayne Johnson, nicknamed DJ, a counselor at a youth correctional facility where “the incarcerated girls and young women come from trouble, often violent, backgrounds.”

The $95,000 in prize money honors writing that explores the human experience in an entertaining and delightful way

“Humanitas does a simple thing. It gives credit where credit is due,” said Humanitas president Ali LeRoi. “To take time, and be of the mind, to write something that should be written, and provoke feelings that should be felt, is in itself an honorable thing. But it helps to know that someone was moved enough to say so, and thus inspire others that this quiet nobility, being the writer of something good, is worth it, if for no other reason, than someone knows it can be done, and someone else would like to see if they can do it too.”

Villalobos’ credits include penning Under the Same Moon and serving as the head writer on Go, Diego, Go!

Since its inception in 1974, the Humanitas Prize has handed out more than $3 million in winnings to 310 writers. Past recipients include Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), Denis Leary and Peter Tolan (Rescue Me), Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious), Steve Levitan (Modern Family, Frasier) and Ryan Murphy (Glee).

Find the complete list of nominees by visiting the Humanitas website.

del Castillo to Star in “No Good Deed”

Kate del Castillo’s quest to become a Hollywood leading lady is one step closer to becoming reality…

The 39-year-old Mexican actress, considered the reigning queen of telenovelas, has joined the cast of No Good Deed, starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson.

Kate del Castillo

The thriller revolves around a former DA-turned-stay-at-home mom (Henson) and her two small children who are kidnapped from their home by a mysterious stranger (Elba).

Del Castillo—who starred in Telemundo’s hugely popular telenovela   La Reina del Surwill play Elba’s cheating ex-fiancée.

It’s the latest Hollywood role for del Castillo, who received critical acclaim for her performance in La misma luna (Under the Same Moon), guest-starred on CSI: Miami and had a story arc on Weeds. Up next for del Castillo: playing a transsexual in the film K-11, set for release later this year.