Spanish-language U.S. network MundoFox will announce 20 new original programs as part of its summer and fall schedules today during Fox Hispanic Media’s upfont presentation in NY. Among the highlights are the Spanish-language version of The X Factor, El Factor X, which will launch in the summer; Café Con Aroma De Mujer, a remake of the Colombian hit from Ugly Betty‘s original Betty La Fea creator Fernando Gaitán; FX’s series The Bridge starring Demian Bichir, part of the network’s weekend schedule; and the boxing docu-drama The Golden Boys from executive producers Mario Lopez and Oscar de la Hoya. Here’s the network’s full list of shows and specials:
TLC has commissioned the two-hour film Letters To Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy, co-produced by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Bill Couturié’s The Couturie Co. and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television. Based on the book Letters To Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation by Ellen Fitzpatrick, the film revisits the months following Kennedy’s assassination, when more than 800,000 U.S. citizens and mourners around the world reached out to the First Lady in support. Letters To Jackie spotlights the strength and unity that emerged during one of the most difficult times in American history. It will premiere in the fall to mark the 50th anniversary of the President’s death. Bringing the letters to life are 20 celebrities including Bérénice Bejo, Demián Bichir, Jessica Chastain, Chris Cooper, Viola Davis, Zooey Deschanel, Kirsten Dunst, Anne Hathaway, Allison Janney, John Krasinski, Melissa Leo, Laura Linney, Frances McDormand, Chloë Grace Moretz, Mark Ruffalo, Octavia Spencer, Hailee Steinfeld, Channing Tatum, Betty White and Michelle Williams.
EXCLUSIVE: Since his Oscar-nominated heartbreaking turn as an illegal immigrant father in A Better Life, Demian Bichir‘s acting career has decidedly been on the upswing. Now, he’s set to make his debut as a screenwriter and director on the indie feature Refugio. Alex Garcia and Lucas Akoskin will produce Refugio for their company, BN Films. Bruno Bichir of Escarabajo Productions (Crónica de un desayuno) will co-produce. Principal Photography will begin this fall in the U.S. and Mexico.
The film tells the story of a young dreamer, born in the circus, who embarks on a search to find his long lost true love. An emotional journey from boyhood to manhood, from Mexico to the United States, the film is about hope, redemption and fate. Bichir next stars in the Paul Feig-directed Fox/Chernin Entertainment comedy The Heat with Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock, and the upcoming FX series The Bridge. He is also part of the ensemble of Open Road’s Machete Kills. He is represented by CAA, Evolution and Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown, Inc.
A group of 40 showbiz companies have assembled teams for a youth showcase and celeb match this weekend with soccer stars like Mia Hamm, Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach, and soccer-capable actors including Diego Luna, Demian Bichir, Anthony Lapaglia, Alessandro Nivola, The Bachelor host Chris Harrison and Mike Medavoy. Event co-founder and Sony Pictures Classics exec Dylan Leiner said the event will be held Sunday at Home Depot Center in Carson, CA, and that companies including CAA, ICM Partners, Gersh, Paradigm, SPC, Lionsgate, Endgame, Anonymous Content, The Amazing Race, Survivor, The Bachelor and others rallied to take part in support of The Mia Hamm Foundation and Grassrootsoccer. Info at LAFest.net.
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
The Bridge, the Shine America-FX Prods. co-produced adaptation of the Scandinavian crime drama series Bron, represents what Rich Ross described as “a perfect example” of the Fox units’ concerted push into scripted fare. The Shine America CEO made his remarks Thursday local time during his keynote at the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association conference in Sydney. Ross showed a two-minute clip of the remake, Shine’s first U.S. drama series, which stars Demián Bichir and Diane Kruger and is set to debut on FX in July and internationally on Fox International Channels. Ross called The Bridge an ideal mating of “international talent with terrific content formatted from another territory”.
Installed at Shine America two months ago, the former Walt Disney Studios chairman said, “Setting our sights on scripted programming seemed a natural path” because of the “explosion in the world of scripted TV over the last five years, led by one-hour dramas. In the U.S. there are 29 different buyers of drama programming versus just 16 in 2007. And 45% more dramas are being commissioned in the U.S. versus 5 years ago.”
Ross also is expecting big things from recently launched Shine Hispanic & Latin America headed by Cristina Palacio. Its mandate is to produce scripted and unscripted fare including telenovelas, game …
Global Showbiz Briefs: Warner Home Entertainment Promotion; ‘The Audience’; Discovery & Betty; ‘Young Doctor’s Notebook’; ‘The Bridge’ Goes Global
Warner Home Entertainment Ups Nick Macrae To SVP
Warner Bros. has promoted Nick Macrae to SVP business and legal affairs for the Home Entertainment Group. Macrae joined Warner in 1999 and most recently was VP and senior counsel for the Home Entertainment Group covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He will continue to be responsible for all aspects of business and legal affairs for the division, negotiating and concluding platform deals, acquiring third party content and advising on issues surrounding home video, digital and video games distribution across the EMEA region.
EXCLUSIVE: Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz are bringing Neal Stephenson’s bestselling novel Reamde to the small screen. Chris Weitz is set to write and direct the series adaptation, which he and Paul will executive produce for Fox TV Studios, where the brothers have a first-look deal. Melding globally scaled action-adventure with the technology underlying sophisticated role-playing games and interweaving love stories, Reamde kicks off with a kidnapping, triggering an attempt by family, friends and suspicious acquaintances to rescue the hostage who become ensnared in a worldwide techno-hunt. “The Weitz brothers are an eclectic force of nature, with an ability to tap into unusual and unexpected worlds and work multiple genres but always with complicated, messed-up characters whom we remember – an aesthetic we humbly strive for at FTVS,” FtvS president David Madden said. “We are thrilled to embark with Chris, Paul and Andrew on such an ambitious project as Reamde.” The Weitzes exec produce the series via their Depth of Field. The company’s Andrew Miano also executive produces.
FX has handed out a 13-episode order to The Bridge, its drama pilot from writers Meredith Stiehm and Elwood Reid starring Diane Kruger and Demián Bichir. Filming on the series, co-produced by Shine America and FX Prods, begins in April for a July premiere. It marks Shine’s first major U.S. scripted series since the 2008 acquisition of Reveille.
Based on the Danish/Swedish series Bron, which was set on the border of Denmark and Sweden, The Bridge is set on the border between El Paso and Juarez. It centers on two detectives — one from the U.S., Detective Sonya Cross (Kruger), and one from Mexico, Marco Ruiz (Bichir) — who must work together to hunt down a serial killer operating on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. Homeland writer/executive producer and Cold Case creator Stiehm and novelist and TV writer-producer Reid wrote the adaptation, which the two executive produce with Shine America’s Carolyn G. Bernstein and Lars Blomgren of Shine Group’s Filmlance, which co-produced the original series with Denmark’s Nimbus Film. The Bridge co-stars Ted Levine, Annabeth Gish, and Thomas M. Wright; Matthew Lillard guest starred in the pilot directed by Gerardo Naranjo (Miss Bala).
The Robert Rodriguez-directed Machete Kills, the sequel to 2010′s Machete and the second film in a trilogy, will be released September 13, 2013 by Open Road. The distributor acquired the pic in October before a lawsuit was filed in a producer spat between Rodriguez’s QuickDraw Productions and Overnight Productions that could threaten the movie’s release. Rodriquez produces along with Aaron Kaufman and Iliana Nikolic through QuickDraw, as well as Sergei Bespalov of Aldamisa Films, Alexander Rodnyansky of AR Films, and Rick Schwartz of Overnight. Kyle Ward penned the screenplay for the sequel, which is based on a story by Marcel Rodriguez and Robert Rodriguez. Danny Trejo returns as ex-Federale agent Machete, who is recruited by the U.S. President to take down a madman revolutionary and an eccentric billionaire arms dealer who has hatched a plan to spread war and anarchy. Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba, Demián Bichir, Alexa Vega, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding Jr., William Sadler, Marko Zaror and Mel Gibson co-star.
Machete Kills will open against Battle Of the Year (Sony/Screen Gems) and I Frankenstein (Lionsgate).
FX‘s drama pipeline is busier than ever with four pilots in addition to the newly picked up cold war spy drama The Americans which premieres on Jan. 30. It will be joined by one more new drama series later this year. FX President John Landgraf hopes that would be The Bridge after seeing encouraging early footage from the pilot, which was just shot. The US-Mexico border drama starring Demian Bichir and Diane Kruger is one of three drama pilots FX has ordered since July, along with vampire drama The Strain, from Guillermo del Toro and Lost‘s Carlton Cuse, and Middle East drama Tyrant, from Homeland executive producers Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff and Six Feet Under alum Craig Wright. The last two were greenlighted to pilot off a pitch, something FX had not done before. Landgraf envisions The Strain and Tyrant as potential series for 2014. In anticipation of potential series orders, the network has ordered backup scripts from the projects, including putting small writing staffs together.
FX also is ramping up its comedy slate. With a key piece of its existing portfolio, Louie, on hiatus this year, FX is aiming at adding three new comedy series in 2013. Animation remains to be a priority, with the network looking to find a companion for Archer. The latest hopeful is recently ordered pilot Chosen, produced by Danny McBride. It comes after freshman toon …
The cast of FX’s drama pilot The Bridge will now boast not one but two Oscar nominated actors. Catalina Sandino Moreno has joined the Shine America-produced project, an adaptation of a Scandinavian format. The Bridge centers on two detectives from the U.S. and Mexico — El Paso Police Homicide Detective Sonya North (Diane Kruger) and Marco Ruiz (Demian Bichir) — who must work together to hunt down a serial killer operating on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Moreno, repped by UTA and Principal Entertainment NY, will play Marco’s second wife who is at home to tend to the kids while Marco works long hours.
EXCLUSIVE: Sekka Scher has joined Stephen Gates in the New York outpost of management/production company Evolution Entertainment, which expanded into the Big Apple a year ago. Scher manages Demian Bichir, Danny Hoch, Max Casella and Sandra Echeverria among others. Meanwhile, Amy Slomovits and Brady McKay have joined on at the LA offices with clients that include Michaela Watkins, Kaitlin Olson, Kyle Bornheimer and Hayes McArthur. In addition, Lindsay Whitaker has been promoted to talent manager. The LA trio join recently added Cassian Elwes, who launched Evolution Independent with Evolution principal Mark Burg in February with an eye on film funding.
EXCLUSIVE: Lost alum Ken Leung and Jeananne Goossen (Alcatraz) are set to co-star opposite Eoin Macken and Freddy Rodriguez in the hourlong NBC pilot After Hours. The Sony TV project revolves around the graveyard shift in the ER at San Antonio Medical Center. Leung (Rush Hour) will play Topher, a flip-flops and shorts-wearing Emergency Room doctor who was previously a surgeon on the battlefield, where he became hardened and jaded. Goossen, repped by Greene & Associates and Magnolia Entertainment, will play a beautiful and stylish resident at the hospital. Leung also is filming arcs on NBC’s Deception, CBS’ Person Of Interest and ABC’s Zero Hour.
Emily Rios (Breaking Bad) has been added to the cast of FX drama pilot The Bridge. An adaptation of a Scandinavian format, The Bridge centers on two detectives from the U.S. and Mexico — El Paso Police Homicide Detective Sonya North (Diane Kruger) and Marco Ruiz (Demian Bichir) — who must work together to hunt down a serial killer operating on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Rios, repped by Domain and Kass Management, will play the recurring role of Adrianna Perez, a young, diligent reporter who works at the El Paso Times.
EXCLUSIVE: FX has put in development an untitled coming-of-age comedy from Shine America and Jack Black‘s Electric Dynamite. Steve Agee (The Sarah Silverman Program) and Rob Schrab (Children’s Hospital) are co-writing the project, said to be tonally similar to cult fave Freaks And Geeks. It is based on Agee’s childhood experiences at a military academy in the 1980s. Shine America’s EVP Scripted Programming Carolyn Bernstein and Electric Dynamite’s Black and Priyanka Mattoo executive produce the comedy, which stems from Electric Dynamite’s first-look deal with Shine. Black is with WME and attorney Warren Dern. Agee is repped by Caliber Media. Schrab is with UTA and Mosaic. At FX, Shine America also has high-profile drama pilot The Bridge starring Diane Kruger and Demian Bichir.
BREAKING: Open Road Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Machete Kills, the Robert Rodriguez-directed sequel that brings back Danny Trejo as the blade-savvy former Mexican Federale. Michelle Rodriguez is back, and Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba, Demian Bichir, Alexa Vega, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding Jr, William Sadler, Marko Zaror and Mel Gibson also star. Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg sealed the deal. Kyle Ward wrote the script based on a story by Marcel Rodriguez and Rodríguez.
This is the second film in what is meant to be a trilogy. Trejo returns as an ex-Federale agent who is recruited by the U.S. president for a mission which would be impossible for any mortal man — he must take down a madman revolutionary and an eccentric billionaire arms dealer who has hatched a plan to spread war and anarchy across the planet. The last film was pure grindhouse, including something I’ve never seen before: Trejo slashed a bad guy in the gut, then unwound his intestines to use them as a rope ladder to crash through a window and land safely on the floor below. That’s a high bar, but here, he has Gibson playing the villain.
Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Co. released this photo of Jude Law and Richard E. Grant on location in the South of France shooting writer-director Richard Shepard’s black comedy Dom Hemingway. Law plays a notorious safecracker looking for payback from a crime boss played by Demian Bichir. Emilia Clarke, Jumyan Hunter and Madalina Ghenea also star.
EXCLUSIVE: With HBO’s Treme nearing the end of its run, series co-star Clarke Peters has been cast as a regular in AMC’s Untitled Lagravenese/Goldwyn pilot, a legal thriller centered on Adam Page (Damon Gupton), a District Attorney who uncovers new evidence that prompts the reinvestigation of a sensational murder. Peters, repped by Stone Manners Salners and manager Jeff Berger, will play Adam’s father, Isaiah Page, a retired cop and former police commissioner for Philadelphia. Before Treme, Peters starred on David Simon’s HBO drama The Wire.
Paranormal Activity 3 star Lauren Bittner has been cast as one of the leads of Lifetime’s hourlong pilot The Secret Lives Of Wives, which explores the unvarnished truth behind the marriages of four different women. Bittner will play one of the four, Jessie, a smart and attractive 32-year-old lawyer married to a handsome minister. Bittner, repped by The Kohner Agency, CornerStone Talent Agency and manager Jill McGrath, joins Salli Richardson-Whitfield who plays another of the leads.
Weinstein’s French Import ‘The Intouchables’ Is First Official 2012 Academy Screener Mailed To Members
EXCLUSIVE: Every Oscar season the race is on to see who can put out the first DVD screener sent to Academy members. Well, the race is over for 2012: The Weinstein Company is mailing screeners today of their hit French import The Intouchables to the entire membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association got one over the weekend. The Intouchables, which has grossed more than $360 million worldwide, is the official French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar (screenings of the record 71 films in that contest begin Friday night at the Academy). It is the second-highest-grossing non-English-language film of all time after The Passion Of The Christ.
Last year, Summit was first out of the gate in getting Academy members a screener of A Better Life. The strategy paid off, resulting in a surprise Best Actor SAG and Oscar nomination for star Demian Bichir. Putting those screeners in Oscar voters’ hands early certainly didn’t hurt his chances. Millennium mailed a commercial DVD of Bernie to press a couple of weeks ago with Oscar aspirations attached, but this is the first official manufactured screener for Oscar voters (the Academy has strict rules about packaging and does not allow commercial DVDs to be sent to members).
Demian Bichiris set as the male lead opposite Diane Kruger in FX’s drama pilot The Bridge, directed by Mexican director Gerardo Naranjo (Miss Bala). Also cast in the project, an adaptation of the Scandinavian series Bron/Broen, are Annabeth Gish and Ted Levine. The Bridge centers on two detectives from the U.S. and Mexico — El Paso Police Homicide Detective Sonya North (Kruger) and Marco Ruiz (Bichir) — who must work together to hunt down a serial killer operating on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Ruiz is described as a family man and one of the last good men in a corrupt and apathetic police force that is outgunned by the powerful drug cartels. Gish will play Charlotte, a wealthy ranch wife suddenly widowed when her older husband suffers a massive heart attack while on the Mexican side of the border. She soon learns that her late husband had many shocking secrets. Monk alum Levine will play Sonya’s Lieutenant at the El Paso Police Department, a veteran cop with a weathered cowboy swagger.