Ice Spice Reports Her Debut Full-Length Album is “Finished”

Ice Spice is thisclose to releasing her debut full-length album…

The 24-year-old half-Dominican American rap sensation, who’s real name is Isis Naija Gaston, has confirmed the project was finished via social media where she succinctly wrote, “I finished recording y2k the album.”

Ice SpiceShe also shared two images where she is seen rocking her signature ginger ringlets, wearing pink platform heels and a jean skirt with a red lollipop as an accessory. Her colorful garbs stand out from the background of the photo, which is gloomy and dark.

It’s unclear whether the visual nods will make their way into the concept for her debut album, but in recent months, Ice Spice has spilled other details on the anticipated debut.

While the release date, tracklist and even how many songs might be on it are completely unconfirmed, the artist told Variety in September that her go-to producer RiotUSA will be prominently featured in the credits with additional production from A Lau, who has worked with Jay Critch, Ski Mask the Slump God and others in the New York Drill scene.

She also said she has plans to co-produce some of the tracks.

Despite telling Variety that the set would not feature a lot of A-list heavy hitters, Ice Spice did confirm in a January interview with the“Today show that she has a “crazy collaboration” locked in for Y2k. She’s already released remixes and collaborations with Taylor Swift, Nicki Minaj, Rema and PinkPantheress.

The only single she’s released this year so far is “Think U The Shit (Fart),” which went viral across TikTok before its January 25 release. She told the Today show that the single was a “familiar sound and aura” for her, but that her forthcoming album will include that similar sound mixed in with genres she hasn’t experimented with before.

The record will build on what is already been a monumental 2024 for Ice Spice, who was nominated for four Grammys at the ceremony earlier this year. She is also set to receive a Billboard Women in Music Award on March 6

Lila Avilés Among Storytellers Immortalized with Barbie Doll in Their Likeness for International Women’s Day

Lila Avilés is getting all dolled up…

The 42-year-old Mexican film director, screenwriter, actress and producer, whose meteoric rise on the international stage after just two feature films that have both represented Mexico at the Oscars, is among eight women storytellers selected by Mattel to be immortalized with Barbie dolls in their likeness.

Lila Avilés, BarbieAvilés joins Academy Award-winning actors Helen Mirren and Viola Davis along with country-pop artist Shania Twain, Australia’s Kylie Minogue, German comedian Enissa Amani, Japanese model Nicole Fujita and Brazilian Indigenous influencer Maira Gomez who have been selected as Barbie role models in honor of International Women’s Day.

Their dolls will be one of a kind and not for sale.

Said Mattel in a statement: “Since the brand’s inception, Barbie has helped girls explore their limitless potential through different roles and narratives – from encouraging self-expression through dress-up to playing out any of her 250+ careers. With Barbie by their sides, countless children have been able to imagine their own stories through play that help shape their real-life futures.”

“The brand is sharing countless stories of empowerment and bringing her legendary legacy to life through the eyes and words of fans everywhere, starting with some of the most renowned storytellers out there,” it continued.

Given the phenomenal box office and critical success of Greta Gerwig’s multi-Oscar nominated movie, Barbie, the company chose the storytelling theme for this year.

Last year’s theme was STEM, which covered women in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. That year, Engineer Katya Echazarreta, the first Mexican-born woman in space, was among the few to be chosen for a Barbie doll to be made in her likeness.

Lila Avilés, BarbieDescribing her selection as an “incredible, beautiful and surreal surprise,” Avilés expressed her delight at the recognition. “It’s not only me but my career that is being honored,” she told Variety.

The figurine portrays her with a camera on her shoulder, a script in one hand and her beloved cat by her feet.

Her latest film, Totem, which landed on the long list for the Oscar’s Best International Feature category, has played in more than 100 film festivals and will be rolling out theatrically across 40+ countries, including the U.S. where it’s still out. It’s slated to play on the Criterion Channel and just became available on Netflix Latin America.

“People ask me if my movies are feminist. In as much as my protagonists are women, they are, in an organic way,” she said.  The Chambermaid, my feature debut, gave voice to a woman who’s ostensibly invisible to many,” she noted. “Totem delves into childhood and the idea that childhood is destiny,” she added, recalling the times when she and her brother played with each other’s toys, including her Barbie dolls.

This doll is hers to keep. Fortunately, her daughter is already in her teens so may not be clamoring to play with it.

Penélope Cruz to Receive Variety’s Creative Impact in Acting Award

Penélope Cruz is making a creative impact

Variety will honor the 49-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actress, who is currently earning praise for her performance in Ferrari, with the Creative Impact in Acting Award at the upcoming Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Penelope CruzThe award will be presented as part of Variety’s annual 10 Directors to Watch and Creative Impact Awards brunch on January 5 at the Parker Palm Springs.

Cruz will be recognized for her accomplished career as a four-time Oscar nominee known for her daring, multidimensional and unforgettable performances in Volver, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Nine and Parallel Mothers.

Her latest film, Ferrari, was directed by Michael Mann and stars Adam Driver as the iconic race car driver and entrepreneur. The film premiered at the Venice International Film Festival and comes out in theaters on December 25.

It was named to National Board of Review’s list of the year’s top 10 films and earned Cruz a Gotham Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Performance.

“More than 30 years after her stunning film debut in Bigas Lunas’ Venice Festival prize winner, Jamón Jamón, Penelope Cruz continues startling global film audiences with her limitless versatility in films created by the world’s finest directors,” said Variety’s Executive Vice President Content, Steven Gaydos. “Her long association with Pedro Almodóvar has won her major accolades, and she took home the Oscar for Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona. She’s now at the peak of her powers in Michael Mann’s masterpiece, Ferrari. It’s Variety‘s great honor to present our Creative Impact in Acting to Penelope Cruz, for both her illustrious career and for her powerful performance as the unforgettable woman at the heart of Ferrari.’

Poor Things director Yorgos Lanthimos and Killers of the Flower Moon co-writer Eric Roth are also set to receive honors at the January 5 event. Variety  will announce its 10 Directors to Watch on January 3.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival runs January 4 to 15. For additional information visit http://www.psfilmfest.org.

Warner Bros. & Legendary Move Up Release Date of Javier Bardem’s “Dune: Part Two” to March 1

Javier Bardem has been given his March-ing orders for his highly-anticipated film.

Warner Bros. and Legendary have moved up the release of Denis Villenueve’s Dune: Part Two, starring the 54-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actor.

Javier BardemThe second half of the space epic will now open nationwide on March 1.

The new date is two weeks earlier than the March 15 date Warner Bros. set in August when it moved Dune: Part Two out of 2023 amid the Hollywood strikes. The sequel was originally set to open on November 3.

Dune: Part Two is the second chapter in Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal science-fiction novel.

The first film opened simultaneously in theaters and on Max (then known as HBO Max) in November 2021 and grossed $402 million at the worldwide box office. It also earned 10 Academy Award nominations, including best picture, and won the Oscars for original score, sound, film editing, cinematography, production design and visual effects.

In addition to Bardem, Villeneuve’s original Dune cast members Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, Josh Brolin, Dave Bautista, Stellan Skarsgård and Charlotte Rampling are all back for the second chapter.

Newcomers to the franchise include Christopher Walken, Austin Butler, Florence Pugh and Léa Seydoux.

“I just I loved the first film so much,” Butler previously told Variety about stepping into Villeneuve’s world. “It was this cinematic masterpiece, so the idea of getting to be a part of that world is just incredibly exciting and Denis is one of my favorite filmmakers and just an amazing human being. He’s so kind and I’m a fan of every one of those actors in the film, so I I felt really honored.”

In a recent interview with Empire, Villeneuve shared his hopes for a third installment in the sci-fi epic film series, saying, “If I succeed in making a trilogy, that would be the dream.”

On his Dune: Part Three progress, Villeneuve teased, “I will say, there are words on paper.” The project would be based on Dune Messiah, the direct sequel to Dune author Frank Herbert’s 1965 original novel.

The official Dune: Part Two synopsis from Warner Bros. and Legendary reads: “This follow-up film will explore the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a warpath of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, he endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.”

Vanessa Gonzalez to Appear on Netflix’s New Stand-Up Comedy Series “Verified Stand-Up”

Vanessa Gonzalez is officially verified

Netflix has unveiled Verified Stand-Up, a new series featuring short sets from 10 comedians including the Latina stand-up comic.

Vanessa GonzalezThe series will premiere globally on the streamer on November 28.

In addition to Gonzalez, rising comedians who will perform in the two-part series, filmed at Webster Hall in New York City, include Asif AliDulcé Sloan, Gianmarco Soresi, Isiah Kelly, Leslie Liao, Nimesh Patel, Robby HoffmanRosebud Baker and Sabrina Wu.

Linda Mendoza directed Verified Stand-Up, with Anne Harris serving as executive producer.

In 2022, Gonzalez was named one of Variety’s Top 10 Comics to Watch and Best Stand Up Comic in Austin by the Austin Chronicle. She’s been featured on TruTV’s Laff Mobb’s Laff Tracks, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents, A Little Late with Lilly Singh and Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

She can currently be seen on Entre Nos: Spot On and Comedy Chingonas on MAX, This Joka on the Roku Channel and performing live opening for Chelsea Handler on the 2023 Little Big Bitch Tour.

Ice Spice Among Honorees at Party Celebrating Variety’s 2023 New Power of New York Impact List

Ice Spice will be making a special appearance in New York City…

Variety has announced it will host its annual New York Party on Thursday, October 5, celebrating the 23-year-old half-Dominican American rapper/singer, this year’s cover star honoree,  along with the individuals profiled in Variety’s 2023 New Power of New York Impact List.

Ice SpiceThe New Power of New York Impact List recognizes 50 creatives, executives and entrepreneurs who are making waves in the New York entertainment scene. From film and television to music and theatre, these artists and visionaries personify the spirit of the ever-evolving city and show us what New York offers to the global industry.

The party will celebrate Ice Spice’s meteoric rise over the past year as one of the most exciting rappers in music.

Her recent collaboration with Nicki MinajPrincess Diana” made history, marking the first time that a track co-billed by two women topped the Hot Rap Songs chart, since it launched 34 years ago.

Her second collaboration with Minaj, “Barbie World,” hit No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and soundtracked the closing credits of Barbie, the summer’s biggest blockbuster, starring Margot Robbie.

“Variety’s annual New York issue is a love letter to the Big Apple and the creativity that it inspires – this year we are thrilled to profile Bronx-born Ice Spice on the cover of our issue,” said Variety’s Co-Editor-in-Chief Ramin Setoodeh. “Our story by Steven Horowitz is not to be missed, as it explores Ice Spice’s meteoric rise in music, friendship with Taylor Swift and recent collaborations with Nicki Minaj.”

Jenna Ortega to Appear on This Season’s “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors”

Jenna Ortega is talkin’ shop with a fellow former child star…

Variety’s Actors on Actors series returns featuring the biggest stars in this year’s Television Emmys race for Season 18, including the 20-year-old Puerto Rican & Mexican American actress.

Jenna OrtegaOrtega, who stars in Netflix’s acclaimed series Wednesday, will sit down with The Great actress Elle Fanning for their segment.

But Ortega isn’t the only Latinx artist to participate this season…

Pedro Pascal, the star of HBO’s The Last of Use, will sit down with Steven Yeun, who stars in Netflix’s Beef.

Meanwhile, in a Star Wars themed conversation, Diego Luna, the star of Andor, will appear opposite opposite Hayden Christensen of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The four episodes will debut on PBS SoCal on Thursday, June 15th starting at 8:00 pm, followed by encores on KCET and public television stations across the country and the WORLD Channel (check local listings). All episodes will stream on pbssocal.org and the free PBS App following their premieres.

Variety’s Actors on Actors issue will hit newsstands on June 7th and the conversations will start airing on Tuesday, June 6th on Variety.com and its social media channels.

This year’s “Actors on Actors” lineup includes:

Katherine Heigl (“Firefly Lane”) with Ellen Pompeo (“Grey’s Anatomy”)
Jeremy Allen White (“The Bear”) with Jennifer Coolidge (“The White Lotus”)
Ali Wong (“Beef”) with Jason Segel (“Shrinking”)
Jenna Ortega (“Wednesday”) with Elle Fanning (“The Great”)
Kieran Culkin (“Succession”) with Claire Danes (“Fleishman Is in Trouble”)
Melanie Lynskey (“Yellowjackets”) with Natasha Lyonne (“Poker Face”)
Brett Goldstein (“Ted Lasso”) with Theo James (“The White Lotus”)
Steven Yeun (“Beef”) with Pedro Pascal (“The Last of Us”)
Diego Luna (“Andor”) with Hayden Christensen (“Obi-Wan Kenobi”)
Meghann Fahy (“The White Lotus”) with Elizabeth Olsen (“Love and Death”)
Sheryl Lee Ralph (“Abbott Elementary”) with Jennifer Garner (“The Last Thing He Told Me”)
Brian Cox (“Succession”) with Emily Blunt (“The English”)
Rachel Weisz (“Dead Ringers”) with Taron Egerton (“Black Bird”)

Variety Studio: Actors on Actors won a Daytime Emmy Award in 2019, as well as the Los Angeles Area Emmy Award for best entertainment programming in 2015 and 2016.

The series is produced by PBS SoCal in partnership with Variety Media, LLC.

Brandon Perea to Star in Upcoming “Twister” Sequel, “Twisters”

Brandon Perea is getting twisted

The 27-year-old half-Puerto Rican actor will star in the upcoming Twister sequel.

Brandon Perea, Perea, a standout in Jordan Peele’s Nope, joins Daisy Edgar-Jones, Glen Powell and Anthony Ramos in Twisters, directed by Lee Isaac Chung from a script by writer Mark L. Smith.

The film, from Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. and Amblin Entertainment, is described as a “new chapter” of the 1996 movie, which followed a team of storm chasers as they hunted down the most powerful tornado in decades.

Plot details, including Perea’s role, are being kept under wraps.

Twisters is slated for release on July 19, 2024.

The original Twister was a massive hit, earning more than $494 million at the worldwide box office, which is often credited to the film’s groundbreaking special effects. Starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton, the film was helmed by director Jan De Bont and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, from a screenplay by Michael Crichton.

Before Nope, Perea was best known for his work in Netflix’s The OA, where he played Alfonso “French” Sosa for two seasons. Then, Perea auditioned for Peele, delivering such a compelling performance that the Oscar winner rewrote the part of Angel Torres to suit the actor, casting him alongside Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun and Michael Wincott.

“This is the greatest miracle to ever experience,” Perea told Variety on the red carpet at the film’s world premiere last July. “For Jordan to change the role for me is just truly a blessing. And I’m glad I just went with my gut feeling of, like, you know what, let me go do something different. I know Jordan is just full of surprises, so I was just like, ‘Let me surprise him.’ So I’m glad that I was able to.”

In another interview with Variety, Perea explained that Angel, who works as a tech expert at Fry’s Electronics, was written as more of a cheery, can-do guy, but Perea brought a more downbeat, angsty approach to the part.

Following his scene-stealing performance, Perea was selected as one of BAFTA’s Breakthrough Artists for 2022 and honored with the rising star award for film at the Critics Choice second annual Celebration of Latino Cinema and Television.

Variety to Honor Raúl Alarcón with Legends and Groundbreakers Award at Miami Entertainment Town Lunch

Raúl Alarcón is being recognized for his breakthrough career…

The Latino music executive who serves as CEO and chairman of the Spanish Broadcasting System, one of the largest Spanish-language media companies in the U.S., will be honored at Variety’s second annual Miami Entertainment Town lunch, to be held on Thursday, April 13, in the Florida city.

Raúl AlarcónAlarcón willreceive the Legends and Groundbreakers Award for his role in promoting Latin music radio stations across the nation.

A legend in Miami, Alarcón has been on the forefront of promoting Latin artists, via radio play, and has been a crucial advocate for many of the biggest stars in Latin music. 

The event, in partnership with CN Bank, celebrates the growing entertainment and media industry based out of Miami and recognizes those profiled in Variety’s Miami Entertainment Impact Report.

At the celebration, Ronald Day, President of Entertainment and Content Strategy for NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, and Karen Barroeta, Executive Vice President of Production and Development Telemundo Global Studios, will participate in a keynote conversation with Rodrigo Nieto-Galvis, Entertainment Banking Team Leader at CN Bank Miami. The conversation will be centered around Telemundo’s strategy and around music and original programming based out of Miami.

This year, Variety will be adding a new award to the program with mega-music producer Timbaland.

He will receive the Pioneer Award for his work creating Beat Club and producing music with top artists in Miami.

Loud and Live’s CEO Nelson Albareda will participate in a spotlight conversation with Miami Dade County Mayor, Daniella Levine Cava, about the city’s expansion into the entertainment sector.

Variety’s Chief Operating Officer, Dea Lawrence, and City National Bank’s Head of Entertainment Banking, JaHan Wang, will give opening remarks with Miami Beach Mayor, Dan Gelber.

City National Bank congratulates Variety’s Miami Impact Report honorees, especially Raúl Alarcón and Timbaland who have transformed the Miami media market and entertainment industry at large,” said Wang. “Our bank has delivered for the entertainment industry for almost seven decades, and we are especially proud of our work to support Latin music, television and film in South Florida and beyond.”

Eva Longoria Named to Variety’s “10 Directors to Watch” List for 2023

Eva Longoria is earning attention for her skills behind the camera…

The 47-year-old Mexican American actress, producer and activist has earned a spot on Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch in 2023 list.

Eva LongoriaFor more than a quarter-century, Variety has canvassed the field of emerging filmmaking talents for the artists whose voices set them apart: directors with an original point of view and the chops to go the distance. The idea: to identify talent before they “pop,” although in some cases, they’ve already started racking up awards — like Charlotte Wells, who won the Gothams’ Breakthrough Director prize shortly after being selected for the list.

Six of these filmmakers have yet to unveil their latest work to the world, and we’re grateful to them for giving us an early look. Three — Elijah Bynum, Laurel Parmet and Niza Mansoor — will debut their films later this month at the Sundance Film Festival.

Others, such as Longoria and Jingyi Shao, have made crowd-pleasers that will be released later in the year.

Eva Longoria
Flamin’ Hot
How long has the Desperate Housewives star wanted to direct?
“I’ve always been a director who fell into acting,” insists Longoria, adding, “I feel like I’m more comfortable behind the camera. I’ve really touched every rung of the ladder: I started with short films, I did a documentary, I did half-hour TV, I did multi-cam, I’ve done one-hours and pilots.” But starring on the hit series gave Longoria a special understanding of how the process works, a chance to learn at a budget far bigger than she would have to make her debut. “I used ‘Desperate Housewives’ as my film school. I paid attention to where the lights go, cameras, lenses. That was a decade of my life,” says Longoria, who found mentors along the way, including Ron Howard, who produced her second short film.

“My first feature was supposed to be this comedy at Universal with me and Kerry Washington.” But another project she was preparing came first, one rooted in a side of Los Angeles she insisted on showing authentically: “Flamin’ Hot,” about Richard Montañez, the former gangbanger turned Frito-Lay janitor who came up with the idea for the company’s super-spicy (and ultra-profitable) line of snacks.

“I like to produce with purpose,” she says. “Contributing to the world, to our art form, to societal and cultural change. This is a really important film because we Latinos don’t get a lot of bites at the apple.”

Technically, the Searchlight-backed comedy is a biopic — a genre with a tendency to be boring. “Flamin’ Hot” is never dull, but that took work. “When I read the original script, it had no point of view. It was like a documentary,” Longoria recalls. So she said, “This should be in his voice. He’s the smartest uneducated guy you’ll ever meet. It’s Scorsese meets Adam McKay.”
A twist on the American Dream shot in just 35 days, the result is inspirational and engaging, but also authentic, owing to the care Longoria took in representing a community she knew well. “Opportunity is not distributed equally. Talent is. All his life he was told, ‘No, ideas don’t come from people like you.’”

Influences: Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese
Reps: Agency: WME; Management: Brillstein Ent.; Legal: Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein

The 10 directors were honored in person on January 6 at the Palm Springs Film Festival, where a couple of last year’s alumni (Aitch Alberto and Goran Stolevski) will also be screening their films.

Click here for the complete list.