Lionsgate Acquires Domestic Rights to Eiza Gonzalez’s World War II Film “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare”

Eiza González is bringing the warfare to the United States…

Lionsgate has picked up the domestic distribution rights to Guy Ritchie’s World War II film The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, starring the 33-year-old Mexican actress/singer.

Eiza GonzálezIn addition to Gonzalez, the film also stars Henry Cavill, Henry Golding, Alex Pettyfer and Cary Elwes, among others.

The studio is targeting a 2024 wide theatrical release.

Prime Video has secured most of the international rights for the film, distributing across Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, India and pan-Asian pay TV.

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is billed as an “outrageous true story” about U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s and James Bond author Ian Fleming’s secret WWII combat organization.

As per a synopsis, “this clandestine squad’s unconventional and entirely ‘ungentlemanly’ fighting techniques against the Nazis significantly changed the course of the war and gave birth to the modern Black Ops unit.”

Principal photography begins on Monday in Turkey. Acknowledging the devastating earthquake that has ravaged parts of the country, Ritchie and the producers noted that the shoot will take place “several hundred miles from the epicenter” of the disaster.

“We do so with profound sympathy for everyone affected,” said Ritchie in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the members of our crew with family in the region. We wish to express our sincere condolences to the people of Turkey. We stand by them and are committed to supporting members of our production team and the wider community over the coming weeks and months.”

The film’s script is from Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson, Arash Amel and Ritchie, and based on war correspondent and military historian Damien Lewis’ best-selling book of the same name. Tamasy and Johnson initiated the project and sold it as a pitch to Bruckheimer and Paramount in 2015.

Jerry Bruckheimer will produce alongside Chad Oman, Ritchie’s producing partner Ivan Atkinson, and John Friedberg for Black Bear International.

Camila Cabello Releases Cover of Bing Crosby’s Holiday Classic “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”

Camila Cabello is getting into the holiday spirit…

The 25-year-old Mexican Cuban singer and current The Voice coach has released her rendition of the holiday classic “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”

Camila CabelloIn Cabello’s version of the classic track — which was originally performed and released by Bing Crosby in 1943 to honor soldiers stationed overseas during World War II — she gives it an update with a Latin flare through the use of a big band and romantic, acoustic guitar to flesh out the instrumental.

“I’ll be home for Christmas/ You can plan on me/ Please have some snow and mistletoe/ And presents by the tree/ Christmas eve will find me/ Where the love light gleams/ I’ll be home for Christmas,” Cabello effortlessly sings the song’s defining chorus.

Cabello previously delivered her “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” cover on two separate occasions last year for her performance at the White House for In Performance at the White House: Spirit of the Season and for Michael Bublé’s Christmas in the City.

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” is far from Cabello’s first foray into holiday tunes — in 2021, she teamed up with her then-boyfriend Shawn Mendes for a cover of Nat King Cole’s Christmas classic, “The Christmas Song,” which served double duty as a fundraiser for Feeding America.

Jacob Elordi to Star in TV Adaptation of Richard Flanagan’s Novel “The Narrow Road to the Deep North”

Jacob Elordi has narrowed down his next project…

The 24-year-old Spanish-Australian actor and Euphoria star will serve as the lead in Justin Kurzel and Shaun Grant’s limited series adaptation of Richard Flanagan’s Booker Prize-winning novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

Jacob Elordi,Kurzel and Grant’s adaptation had been in development with Fremantle for several years but Sony Pictures Television has taken rights and Sony’s recently-launched Australian label Curio Pictures will produce.

Elordi, who is best known for playing Nate in HBO smash hit Euphoria, will play Dorrigo Evans, an army surgeon whose brief love affair with Amy, the young wife of his uncle, sustains and haunts him through his darkest days as the reluctant leader of men prisoners in a Thai-Burmese camp during World War II.

The book won the 2014 Booker Prize and was critically acclaimed for its themes of war, marriage and love.

Kurzel is directing, Grant is writing and the pair are executive-producing alongside Flanagan, Porter and Rachel Gardner.

“The character of Dorrigo Evans requires a multi-layered actor who can bring strength, sensitivity and charisma to the role – qualities Jacob has in spades,” said Porter. “Together with the creative powerhouses of Justin Kurzel and Shaun Grant, there couldn’t be a more exciting team to bring this important novel to life.”

Elordi broke out in Netflix YA smash The Kissing BoothHe starred in Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, Zach Helm and Adrian Lyne’s Hulu feature Deep Water earlier this year and is playing Elvis Presley in Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla opposite Cailee Spaeny.

Eiza González to Star in the World War II Action Spy Film “The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare”

The spy’s the limit for Eiza González

The 32-year-old Mexican actress and singer will star in the World War II action spy film The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare.

Eiza GonzálezGonzalez will star opposite Henry Cavill in the film from Guy Ritchie and Jerry Bruckheimer.

Ritchie will direct the project as his next film, with filming expected to begin in Turkey in January.

The film, inspired by real events, will chart United Kingdom Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s and James Bond scribe Ian Fleming’s secret WWII combat organization. The clandestine squad’s unconventional and entirely ‘ungentlemanly’ fighting techniques against the Nazis helped change the course of the war and in part gave birth to the modern Black Ops unit.

The project was initially in development at Paramount through Bruckheimer’s first look deal, but the studio will not be distributing the film. Black Bear is reportedly in active discussions regarding U.S. distribution and international deals.

The script, by Ritchie and Arash Amel, is based on war correspondent and military historian Damien Lewis’ popular book of the same name.

González, who most recently seen in Michael Bay’s Ambulance, will play a military sniper with extraordinary spy-craft abilities.

She will next be see in Netflix’s sci-fi film The Three Body Problem and Scott Z Burns’ Extrapolations for Apple TV+.

Google Honors the Late Tito Puente with Special Google Doodle

Tito Puente’s legacy lives on… with a special doodle.

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, Google is commemorating the late Puerto Rican musician, songwriter, bandleader, and record producer, known as the King of Latin Music, with a charming new Doodle video, created by New York-based Puerto Rican illustrator Carlos Aponte.

Tito Puente“Tito was part of my musical experience growing up in Puerto Rico. My aunt introduced me to Tito Puente via La Lupe, a famous singer in Puerto Rico and New York,” says the illustrator. “Tito was like a Svengali for talents like Celia Cruz. He was a household name. So Tito was part of my Puerto Rican soundtrack.”

Featuring the lively “Ran Kan Kan,” the animated clip takes viewers back to Puente’s childhood at 110th Street and Third Avenue in Spanish Harlem, where the budding artist bangs on pots and pans in his room bedecked with a Puerto Rican flag. It follows Puente’s various stints as a musician, showing him as a U.S. Navy ship’s bandleader (he served during World War II) up to him ruling over New York City nightlife as the undisputed King of the Timbales.

Tito Puente, Google DoodleThe Google Doodle also celebrates the one-year anniversary of the Tito Puente Monument, which was unveiled in his hometown of East Harlem, New York, on this day (Oct. 10), located on the northern end of Central Park.

In 2000, the same year the musical legend died, 110th Street was renamed Tito Puente Way.

Born Ernesto Antonio Puente Jr. on April 20, 1923, in Spanish Harlem to Puerto Rican parents, the young Nuyorican musician grew up surrounded by the rich Latin diversity the city is known for. He led his first orchestra in the late ‘40s, and by the 1950s, he became an unrivaled master of timbales and vibraphone. In 1969, he was bestowed the key to New York City.

In his lifetime, he released an immense discography that includes more than 100 full-length albums that showcased his propulsive dance rhythms and jubilant brass melodies. He penned timeless hits such as “Oye Como Va,” which was famously covered by Santana, “Mambo Gozón” (1958), “La Guarachera” (1966) with Celia Cruz, and many more. In the late ‘60s, Tito Puente joined New York’s maverick troupe Fania All-Stars, also starring Eddie Palmeri, Ricardo Ray and Bobby Cruz.

His journey began with “Ran Kan Kan,” his first recorded track, which is featured in the Google Doodle. In 1992, “Ran Kan Kan” entered the top 10 of Billboard‘s Dance Club Songs chart. In 2010, “Guantanamera” by Celia Cruz, featuring Puente, landed at No. 2 on the World Digital Song Sales chart. In 1995, Puente was given the Billboard Latin Music Lifetime Achievement Award.

Last year, Google Doodles honored Latin culture independence days, celebrating Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Mexico. Another Doodle celebrated a Chilean holiday with a drawing of a huemul, represented on the country’s national shield.

Illustrator Aponte has also provided artwork for the Latin Recording AcademyThe New Yorker and The New York Times. He currently teaches drawing at the Fashion Institute of Technology. With his Doodle, he hopes people will take away this message: “Love what you do, train, study, and be the best you can be. If you excel, everything else will fall into place. There are no shortcuts. Those who make it easily don’t last long. Tito was a perfect example; he was the best!”

Cattleya Producciones Acquires Rights to Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s Novel “The Italian” with Plans to Adapt as a Miniseries

It appears another of Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s novels is coming to life…

ITV Studios-owned Spanish drama house Cattleya Producciones has acquired the rights to the 70-year-old Spanish novelist and journalist’s bestselling novel El Italiano and will adapt it as a miniseries.

Arturo Pérez-ReverteInspired by real events, El Italiano is a story of love, spies and the sea set at the height of World War II in the Bay of Algeciras, where Italian combat divers are causing chaos among the Allied forces.

Arturo Díaz, Managing Director and Executive Producer of Cattleya Producciones, and Ricardo Tozzi, founder and President of Cattleya, are leafing the project.

Cattleya Producciones is searching for an international cast to bring El Italiano‘s Spanish, Italian and English characters to life.

Arturo Pérez-Reverte, El ItalianoScreenwriter Beto Marini, co-creator of Movistar+ series La Unidad and feature films such as Retribution and Extinction is adapting the story.

Pérez-Reverte was trained in underwater activities at Spain’s Centro de Buceo de la Armada (Navy Diving Center) in Cartagena in the late 1960s and part of El Italiano comes from a story told to him by his father when he was a child.

“I’m positive that this series from Cattleya, whose productions I have always admired for their quality, will be faithful to the story I wrote,” he said.

Pérez-Reverte’s previous work La Reina del Sur (2002), about a Mexican woman who becomes a leader of a drug trafficking cartel in the south of Spain, was adapted into a Spanish-language telenovela starring Kate del Castillo, and later an English-language series (Queen of the South) starring Alice Braga.

Santino Fontana to Star in Stage Adaptation of “The Pianist”

Santino Fontana has landed his next Broadway project…

The 40-year-old part-Spanish American actor will star in the stage adaptation of The Pianist, based on the Władysław Szpilman memoir that was the source of the Oscar-nominated 2002 film of the same name.

Santino FontanaThe project is being developed by director Emily Mann with an eye toward Broadway.

An industry reading is set for New York City this month with the Tony Award-winning Fontana in the lead role

The project was announced by producers Robin de Levita Productions, Gorgeous Entertainment, and Wolk Transfer Company.

Described as a play with music, The Pianist features an original score by Dutch concert pianist Iris Hond.

The invitation-only industry reading is set for June 23, with Fontana leading a company that includes Richard Topol, Georgia Warner, Claire Beckman, Arielle Goldman, Paul Spera, Addison Finley, Jordan Lage, Robert David Grant and Tina Benko.

The Pianist tells the true story of Szpilman, a survivor of Nazi-occupied Warsaw in World War II. The 2002 film adaptation of Szpilman’s 1946 memoir won Adrien Brody an Oscar for his portrayal of the composer, with Roman Polanski winning Best Director and Ronald Harwood Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Pianist tells a soaring tale of survival and triumph through music,” says producer Wolk. “It is a riveting story that is fiercely present tense — though it’s set in the past, it shows us that just like today, worlds are destroyed when we demonize each other. And it gives us hope by showing how human connections and the power of music can transcend hate and fear and heal our hearts.”

Producers say the production will feature the first-time theatrical use of “a richly immersive soundscape” enhanced by Atmos Dolby Surround Sound, that allows for surround sound effects, isolating particular parts of an audio track, to be placed in a particular area of a theater. The production team also includes scenic design by Beowulf Boritt and sound design by Mark Bennett.

Jayro Bustamante to Direct World War II Drama “Down Wind”

Jayro Bustamante is heading down wind

The 45-year-old Guatemalan film director and screenwriter, whose most recent film La Llorona made the Oscar international film shortlist, is partnering with Panama’s award-winning Hypatia Films and Jonathan Keasey of Mind Riot Entertainment to make the World War II drama Down Wind.

Jayro BustamanteThe film marks a rare collaboration between two major Central American filmmakers and an American writer-producer.

Bustamante will direct based on a screenplay by Keasey, who has also boarded as a producer.

The drama’s lead production company, Hypatia Films, run by Pituka Ortega Heilbron and Marcela Heilbron, is an associate producer on Claire DenisCannes Film Festival competition contender The Stars at Noon, which was filmed in Panama and on which Hypatia provided production services.

Inspired by true events, Down Wind (a working title) is sourced from an article concerning incidents that transpired in the U.S. Southwest towards the end of World War II.

Ortega Heilbron who hopes to shoot the film on location in New Mexico and tap its robust incentives.

For Bustamante, for what would be his first film in English, albeit with some Spanish dialogue, the idea of making Down Wind immediately appealed to him.

“My career has always been tied to themes of discrimination against indigenous people,” said Bustamante, who’s in post on his fourth film and prepping his fifth.

Lisa Vidal to Star in the Crime-Action Heist Feature “Shelter”

Lisa Vidal is sheltering…

The 56-year-old Puerto Rican actress will star in the crime-action heist feature Shelter.

Lisa Vidal

Vidal joins a cast that includes Cam Gigandet, Jaina Lee Ortiz, Carlos Miranda and Hollywood newcomer Sasha Merci.

In pre-production, filming is scheduled to start shortly in Los Angeles on the movie about the head of a secret organization who assembles a crew to steal back artwork from a neo-Nazi billionaire oligarch who plundered it during World War II.

Produced by Jolene Rodriguez of Broken English productions and financed by Ruben IslasGrandave Capital, the film is an original screenplay by Michael Corcoran, directed by Anthony Nardolillo.

“I’m thrilled to work with such a talented group. I’ve followed many of their careers and to make a movie with them is such a privilege. Shelter is a great example of taking any script and making it inclusive. It takes effort but it’s possible and it matters,” said Rodriguez.

Vidal has starred on ABC’s The Baker and The BeautyBET TV series Being Mary Jane and Grey’s Anatomy.

Ortiz will star in her fifth season of Shondaland’s ABC series Station 19 after a successful run in Fox’s Rosewood and a consequent role in Shooter.

Miranda will join the cast of ABC’s Station 19 as a series regular in the coming season and has had recurring roles in Amazon Original series Bosch and Comedy Central’s Ana as well as being a series regular in Starz series Vida.

Merci recently starred in the HBO feature film De Lo Mio.

Rafael Nadal to Lead Spanish Team at Next Month’s ATP Cup

Rafael Nadal is headed back to the court next month…

The 34-year-old Spanish tennis star is set to return for the ATP Cup, the season-opening men’s team tennis event, starting February 1, but the United States will be missing because of a change in format that has halved the field.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal, last year’s runner-up, will be joined in the tournament by last year’s ATP Cup champion Novak Djokovic. His Spanish team includes Roberto Bautista Agut, Marcel Granollers and Pablo Carreno Busta.

Diego Schwartzman, Guido Pella, Horacio Zeballos and Maximo Gonzalez will represent Argentina in this year’s tournament, while Alex de Minaur will play for Australia and Steven Diez will represent Canada.

The inaugural event last year featured 24 teams and was played in three Australian cities, with Djokovic’s Serbia team beating Nadal and Spain in the final at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena.

The February 1-5 second edition will involve 12 teams and be played entirely at Melbourne Park amid COVID-19 restrictions, along with WTA and ATP tournaments, in the week leading into the Australian Open.

The draw will be held on January 20, with teams divided into four groups. The winner of each round-robin group will advance to the semifinals.

Qualification for the ATP Cup was based on the ranking of each country’s top player, with Australia included on a wild-card entry. Other competing countries include Austria, Russia, Greece, Germany, Argentina, Italy, Japan, France and Canada.

All players arriving in Melbourne for the Australian Open will be required to quarantine for 14 days before the delayed start of the season’s first major. The Australian Open is usually staged in the last two weeks of January, but it has been pushed back to February 8-21 because of travel and other restrictions in place for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qualifying for the men’s singles draw will take place in Doha, Qatar, and for the women’s in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, both running January 10-13.

As with other sports, the international tennis calendar was disrupted in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, including the postponement of the French Open‘s start from May to September, and the cancellation of Wimbledon for the first time since World War II.