News & Updates

  • ‘Havana Quartet’: Tom Fontana Joins Antonio Banderas Starz Series As EP

    Posted by on August 05, 2016

    by

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    Starz is stepping up its efforts to get its Havana Quartet drama series project starring Antonio Banderas off the ground, bringing in veteran showrunner Tom Fontana as executive producer. He is bringing a steady and experienced hand to the ambitious production, which is looking to be the first U.S. series to film in Cuba on a continuous basis.

    At TCA, Starz CEO Albrecht said that Havana Quartet remains a priority for the network, with efforts focused on the logistics of filming portions of the show in Cuba.

    Known Cuban playwright Eduardo Machado (Starz’s Magic City), who lives in the U.S., is the writer on the project, based on the popular four-book series of detective novels Havana Blue, Havana Gold, Havana Red and Havana Black by another Cuban writer that is well known internationally, novelist Leonardo Padura. Fontana is taking a look at the multiple Havana Quartet scripts penned under Starz’s model of setting up writers rooms in anticipation of a series order.

    Set in the 1990s, Havana Quartet follows hard-drinking, romantic Cuban Police Detective Mario Conde (Banderas) who longs to be a writer but settled for a job as a detective.

    Entertainment One Television is producing. Starz will retain all U.S. network pay TV and initial SVOD rights to the project, and eOne controls all other rights to the series worldwide. Fontana is executive producing alongside Machado, Banderas, Peter Nadermann of Nadcon Film, as well as Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny of Sienna Films.

    Check this out on deadline.com

     

     

  • TCA Panel Addresses Their Biggest Frustrations About Diversity on TV

    Posted by on August 05, 2016

    by Whitney Friedlander

    2016 Summer TCA Tour - Day 6Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images        

    On Monday at the Television Critics Association in Beverly Hills, people of color working in Hollywood dug deep into the question of diversity hires on television. They offered a range of perspectives on the prevailing frustrations in the industry, both in front of and behind the camera.

    Colorism is a big issue.
    “The elephant in the room is always the dark skin,” actress Tichina Arnold of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse said, pointing to her own arm and saying “women of color, color, color.” Survivor’s Remorse director Victoria Mahoney said this is understandable, considering skin tone is a topic that is hard to even “navigate within the [black] community.” Mahoney talked about an upcoming Survivor’s Remorse episode where the A-story line is about colorism. “When I met with Mike [O’Malley, the showrunner] initially, one of the things that I spoke about that’s important to me is the difficulty to navigate the community, and have light skin and dark skin be an issue,” she explained. “On the day of when we were shooting, we all had to have these very delicate conversations, and it was really crucial for me to make sure that the individuals in the scene had input.”

    It’s incredibly hard for female directors of color.
    Although director Anthony Hemingway (Underground; The People v. O.J. Simpson) said that we “are definitely coming into a time where there are more opportunities,” thanks to TV One, Starz, El Rey, and other channels that actively seek out minority programming, Mahoney added that Survivor’s Remorse’s O’Malley had to take to Twitter to find a female director of color for his series because he couldn’t find anyone from the agencies:

    “I’m a four-percenter. Often today — not 30 years ago and not 100 years ago — when people hire people of color, they usually hire male. When they decide to hire women, they usually hire white … in order for me to get out of that four-percent, I need co-conspirators … there’s a cat that gets a $250 million film at Sundance. He goes straight to a $140 million franchise. But I’ve been directing TV for five years — multi-cams, all kinds of shit  … and someone was just talking about whether I’ve got experience.”

    She said that “there’s a line in the sand, and what my job is now is I have to move that line in the sand and confront people who are very comfortable in old, old ways of thinking. It’s exhausting. It’s boring … I’m starving for something else.”

    Diversity hires are also a concern for below-the-line jobs.
    “We have to be at the table on every single level; and it goes for TV One as well,” said D'Angela Proctor, the senior vice president of programming and production for that channel. “We’re an African-American network, but at the same time, we may use a white production company. I cannot have it when I go to set and my entire cast is black and everyone below the line is white.”

    Even when we get shows that have non-white casts, they’re often steeped in stereotypes.
    “I’m dying to see a Latino family show that’s not criminals,” said Carlos Coto, the showrunner for El Rey’s From Dusk Til Dawn. “I want to make a Latino show without the word ‘cartel’ in it. That would be awesome.”

    There are still way too many "girlfriend" parts for women.
    “I could have a résumé that’s 50 pages long if I would take every role that’s offered to me where I’m playing the girlfriend,” said actress Jurnee Smollett-Bell, adding that she took her lead part on WGN’s Underground because she wasn’t just the girlfriend. “That’s definitely been the challenge, is fighting these stereotypes that people oftentimes write because it’s just easy to just write us as one-dimensional people.”

    Check this out on volture.com

  • NALIPster To Mentor Projects Participating in Docunexión Mx-De

    Posted by on August 05, 2016

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    NALIPster producer, writer and director, Alejandro Sugich, is set to participate in the Docunexión Mx-De program brought by the International Documentary Film Festival of Mexico City (DocsDF), in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Mexiko and Dok.Fest München.

    The projects selected to participate in the program will have the opportunity to participate in workshops with Sugich and other renowned international professionals in the München Dok.Fest and DocsDF festivals to create an active exchange of ideas and foster creative collaborations around documentary film.

    The DocsDF festival will take place in Mexico, from October 17 to 21, and the Dok.Fest München festival will take place in Germany, on May 3 to 13 in 2017.

    Aside from participating in films, Sugich is the co-founder of SumoVR A 360/VR/AAR, a production company based in Venice CA and Mexico City.

    Learn more on alemania-mexico.com

  • ABC Entertainment President says she wants to 'see changes’

    Posted by on August 05, 2016

    by Saba Hamedy

    Could Star Wars come to ABC?

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    According to Channing Dungey, ABC Entertainment President, it's a definite possibility.

    “As a fan, I would absolutely love to say yes,” Dungey said during the network's Television Critics Association presentation on Thursday. “We have had conversations, and we will continue to have conversations with Lucasfilm. It would be wonderful to extend the franchise.”

    However, there is no official timeline.

    Dungey, the first African American person to lead a broadcast network in the U.S., has been with ABC Studios since 2004. She helped with the development of Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, freshman hit Quantico and Once Upon a Time

    She replaced Paul Lee in February 2016. 

    At the panel, Dungey also touched on the Bachelor franchise, tackling the question that has been asked of presidents before regarding diversity on the shows.

    Normally, the picking process for The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise originates with what Lee called "The Farm Team" a.k.a the pool of contestants that producers have used since the show's inception in 2009. For example, season 20 Bachelor Ben Higgins was a finalist on last season's The Bachelorette with Kaitlyn Bristowe.

    At the network's winter TCA presentation in January, Lee said ABC is "doing a whole lot of tweaks" to the Bachelor franchise.

    "I'd be very surprised if the [Bachelorette] in the summer isn't diverse," Lee told reporters following the network's executive session.

    However, a diverse lead Bachelor or Bachelorette has not yet become a reality.

    "I would very much like to see some changes there," Dungey said of the franchise. "We need to increase the pool of diverse candidates in the beginning...so that is something we really want to put some effort and energy towards.” 

    When asked if ABC would ever pick outside the Farm Team pool, Dungey said "we could."

    "But first runner up in one cycle becomes person to lead next cycle [and] it’s worked really well for us," she said. "Because the audience feels very engaged in choosing next candidate. I think what we’d like to do is widen that pool of candidates."

    Dungey also briefly addressed the network's plans for a potential standalone streaming service, which rival networks such as CBS already have in effect.

    "Obviously this is the future in a lot of ways," she said. "We are committed to getting our content to our audience in as many ways as possible we are very excited about our partnerships ... and we relaunched our ABC app, which is going to be a great place and opportunity for our audience to find our shows in addition to throwback content and new ABC digital originals."

    Check this out on mashable.com

  • Jay Hernandez Explains Why He Accepted to Play Diablo Character in 'Suicide Squad'

    Posted by on August 05, 2016

    By Bob Strauss

    diablo_suicide_squad.jpgWarner Bros

    In the current comedy “Bad Moms,” Jay Hernandez plays Mila Kunis’ walking wish-fulfillment: her kids’ middle school’s hottest widower who’s the only person in the movie that thinks she’s a terrific parent, wants to cook her dinner and is an eager expert at oral sex.

    It has not been unusual for the South San Gabriel native to play a dishy guy ever since Hernandez stole Kirsten Dunst’s heart in his first movie, “Crazy/Beautiful,” 15 years ago.

    So ladies, are you ready for Diablo?

    “I don’t think I’m a sex symbol in ‘Suicide Squad,’ ” Hernandez laughs about his criminal character, who has no hair anywhere on his head and is covered with tattoos that make him look like a Día de los Muertos spectre fresh out of San Quentin (and that’s not even considering his impressive, if hard to control, ability to blast fire from his body). “I guess if serial killers can find wives in jail, he might pass.”

     

    In the DC Comics villains mash-up movie, Diablo is a member of the criminal squad tasked by the government with defending the world from greater threats — or else. But when the team’s psychos gleefully take baseball bats and boomerangs to their opponents, the haunted Diablo holds back, guilt-ridden to near paralysis over his violent street gang past and the horrible personal tragedy his flames were responsible for.

    So, if you like damaged, sensitive types ...

    “I’ve never played a character like that,” said Hernandez, 38, who saw some of his friends turn to crime while growing up. “To be able to use that unique history of me growing up in L.A. and being exposed to certain things, I thought it was really cool. In some ways, I’ve avoided playing characters like this because I didn’t want to perpetuate stereotypes, but I thought Diablo was an exception. There’s a lot of heart to this character. He has a lot of impact in the movie — [he] represents its idea of redemption.”

    And looks like death warmed over burning coals. The tattoos — a combination of transfers, airbrush, paint and sealant — initially took five hours to apply each morning, which the makeup team eventually perfected down to a pleasant three. It was a mere 40 minutes to remove it all when the shooting wrapped.

    “It was a pretty grueling schedule because I’d have a full day, but be the first one in hair and makeup and the last one out every day,” he says.

    At least Hernandez never got burned, even though practical flamethrowers were often a part of Diablo’s CG-enhanced pyrotechnics.

    One reason why the actor never went the crime route his character and some of his childhood friends did is that, well, someone thought he should be an actor. A talent manager named Howard Tyner randomly saw young Hernandez in an elevator, liked his look and gave him his business card.

    “I wrote him off. I thought it was B.S. to be honest,” Hernandez recalls. “But my mother convinced me to call the guy three weeks later and we set up a meeting. My father was highly suspicious, but I gave it a shot, took some acting classes, started auditioning and I was horrible at it for a number of years.”

    A lot of women are probably glad it all worked out. And some no doubt want to know if Hernandez has any real tattoos.

    “Just a couple, but not like that!” he roars in regard to Diablo’s. “No, no! Face tattoos are a bad idea, man.”

    Check this out on dailynews.com

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  • Aubrey Plaza to Lead 'Ingrid Goes West'

    Posted by · August 05, 2016

    by Salias Lesnick

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    Aubrey Plaza (Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Parks and Recreation) is set to star opposite Elizabeth Olsen (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Martha Marcy May Marlene) in the upcoming dark comedy Ingrid Goes West. Directed by Matt Spicer, Ingrid Goes West is based on a script by Spicer and David Branson Smith.
    Ingrid Goes West follows Ingrid Thorburn (Plaza), a mentally unstable young woman who becomes obsessed with Taylor Sloane (Olsen), a social media “influencer” with a seemingly-perfect life. When Ingrid decides to drop everything and move to the West Coast to befriend Taylor in real life, her behavior turns unsettling and increasingly dangerous.

    Plaza will also produce the film along with Jared Ian Goldman (Little Boxes, The Skeleton Twins), Star Thrower Entertainment’s Tim and Trevor White and Adam and Robert Mirels through their newly-formed 141 Entertainment. Mary Solomon, Rick Rickertsen and Allan Mandelbaum will executive produce.

    Aubrey Plaza recently wrapped production on The Little Hours, in which she stars alongside Alison Brie and Dave Franco. She’s also set to star in Noah Hawley’s Legion, which will debut on FX early next year. Olsen, meanwhile, recently starred in Marvel StudiosCaptain America: Civil War and in the Hank Williams biopic I Saw the Light. Ingrid Goes West is her second collaboration with Star Thrower Entertainment following Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River, which The Weinstein Company will release.

    Currently shooting in Los Angeles, Ingrid Goes West marks Spicer’s feature directorial debut. He recently co-wrote Flower, along with Max Winkler, who will direct. The film offers a twisted coming-of-age comedy starring Zoey Deutch, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn and Tim Heidecker, which Spicer will also produce alongside Rough House Pictures and Diablo Entertainment. Along with Winkler, Spicer is also set to write the recently-announced Rocketeer sequel for Disney.

    Check this out on comingsoon.net

  • Starz Develops ‘Dirty Girls Social Club,’ ‘Pussy Valley’ & ‘Teresa’ TV Series

    Posted by · August 05, 2016

    by

    Katori Hall

    “Katori Hall”

    Starz is tripling down on diverse projects with female voices. The pay cable network announced Monday that it is developing “Dirty Girls Social Club,” based on Alisa Valdes’ best-selling novel, “Pussy Valley,” from playwright Katori Hall, and “Teresa,” based on a highly-rated, award-winning Mexican telenovela.

    The new Starz projects were revealed during the network’s portion of the Television Critics Association press tour.

    “Dirty Girls Social Club” is a half-hour series following six diverse professional women living in New York City who have known each other since college. Ten year later, through the ups and downs of their personal and professional lives, they still can only count on each other. Ligiah Villalobos (“Under the Same Moon”) will serve as showrunner. Anne Thomopoulos (“Rome”) and  Lucia Cottone will serve as executive producers.

    “Pussy Valley” examines the unexplored Southern strip club world, where the dreams of five brave women constantly come into conflict with the desires of politicians and athletes. Set in a Mississippi club called the Pink Pony, the series follows these women as their professional and personal lives intersect in dangerous ways on their quest for money and respect. Created by Katori Hall (“The Mountaintop”), she will also executive produce with Peter Chernin (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,”), Jenno Topping (Spy,”), and Dante Di Loreto (“The Normal Heart”). Khaliah Neal (“3½ Minutes”) will serve as consulting producer.

    Finally, “Teresa” follows an undocumented young Latina clawing her way into the exclusive world of Los Angeles wealth, and her ruthless pursuit of money and power. Starz will develop the series with Lionsgate and Televisa USA, a division of the Mexican media company Grupo Televisa. Award-winning writer/producer Carlos Portugal (“East Los High”) will create the series and serve as showrunner.

    Starz also announced the return dates for “Ash vs Evil Dead” and “Blunt Talk” on October 2, and an extended overall deal with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, which includes the new superhero vigilante series “Tomorrow, Today.”

    Check this out on indiewire.com