Deadline revealed back in April that A Better Life star Demian Bichir was moving toward his feature directing debut on the indie Refugio. He’s set his cast—Eva Longoria, Jose Angel Bichir, and Jorge Perugorria (Strawberries And Chocolate)—and production is just getting underway in Mexico City. The film follows the title character, a young dreamer who’s born in the circus and embarks on a search to find his long lost true love. That character will be played at various points in his life by a series of actors including Demian Bichir himself. The majority of screen time goes to Jose Angel Bichir, who is the director’s nephew. Longoria plays a horse acrobat who joins the circus in Mexico trying to heal a broken heart.
Stefanie Sherk, Ana Claudia Talancon, Arcelia Ramirez and Ludwika Paleta also star, and Julian Fidalgo will play the young Refugio in flashback scenes. The film’s produced by AG Studios’ Alex Garcia, Itaca Films’ Santiago Garcia Galvan, BN Films’ Lucas Akoskin and Escarabajo’s Bruno Bichir (the director’s younger bro). Longoria’s repped by CAA and Brillstein. Bichir, who stars in the FX series The Bridge, opens shortly in the Robert Rodriguez-directed mayhem filled Machete Kills.
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.
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). Read More »
Oscar nominee Demian Bichir will play a crime boss in black comedy Dom Hemingway from The Matador writer-director Richard Shepard. Jude Law and Richard E. Grant were already on board the revenge story which now has Game Of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke along with Jumyan Hunter and Madalina Ghenea rounding out the cast. Law plays the eponymous larger-than-life safecracker who’s back on the streets of London after 12 years in prison and eager to collect for keeping his mouth shut. Things take a turn when he sets off to visit Bichir’s capo in the south of France.
Jeremy Thomas’ Recorded Picture Company is producing with partners BBC Films, CinemaNX/Isle of Man Film, Pinewood Films and Lionsgate. This marks the latest indie that studio facilities operator Pinewood is involved in as part of a plan to support about 4 films a year. Shooting starts Oct. 15 in the south of France. HanWay Films is handling worldwide sales. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Demian Bichir has joined The Heat, the Paul Feig-directed comedy that stars Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. It is the first studio comedy for Bichir, who was Oscar nominated for A Better Life. He was last seen in the Oliver Stone-directed Savages. In The Heat, he will play an FBI agent. Bichir, who just wrapped the Robert Rodriguez-directed Machete Kills, is repped by CAA and managed by Sekka Scher.
EXCLUSIVE: Demian Bichir, whose performance in the Chris Weitz-directged A Better Life earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination, has signed with CAA. Bichir’s nomination was the first for a Latin American actor in that category in 23 years (since Edward James Olmos received his nod for Stand And Deliver). He also won an Ariel Award for ‘Til Death. Bichir will next be seen starring in the Oliver Stone-directed Savages, based on the Don Winslow novel. He’s currently playing Buddy Ackerman in Mexico City, the Spanish-language translation of the play Swimming With Sharks. Kevin Spacey memorably played the Ackerman role in the 1994 feature film. Bichir is managed by Sekka Scher and Amy Brownstein.
Can Presidential politics actually boost the profile of an under-the-radar Oscar hopeful? That could be a scenario the multitudes of awards consultants working on Summit Entertainment’s summer indie, A Better Life starring Demián Bachir might consider as they try to draw voter attention to this well-reviewed June release which grossed less than $2 million in its domestic release. Because the film puts a very human face on the hot button issue of illegal immigration. This is really a touching father-son story about an undocumented Los Angeles laborer trying to forge a better life for his kid while keeping him away from gangs. Its reps hope to gain recognition not just for the pic but also for Bichir in an uphill campaign against much higher profile Best Actor contenders like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gary Oldman, Ryan Gosling and others. Year-end recognition from critics groups could really help Bichir and this film which now stands at 86% positive on Rotten Tomatoes. Summit’s 2009 Best Picture winner, The Hurt Locker also was a low grosser and a June release — but saw its Oscar stock soar when it started winning those critics awards.
At what was billed as a DVD release party this week, but which really served as an awards season campaign kickoff, I noticed several Academy members in attendance. The packed event at Culina in Beverly Hills had lots of political talk, much of it about the GOP presidential debates where candidates are engaged in tough ‘kick em out of the country’ rhetoric on the subject of illegal immigrants in America. A Better Life director Chris Weitz told me he’s outraged by the way politicians are using the plight of undocumented workers to score political points during the Republican debates. He says the whole experience of making the film has really “politicized” him in a way he hadn’t imagined.
From the presidential race to the Oscar race, A Better Life has longer odds. “What can we do to help this film?” one frustrated awards consultant asked me while noting the stiff competition out there. It’s a frequent question I hear from awards campaigners who usually employ parties, Q&A screenings, and getting its lesser known stars (in the U.S. at least) out there on the awards “circuit”. But I say Oscar strategists just might want to look no further than the Hollywood-bashing GOP for some ironic help. After all, Republicans are giving immigration lots of TV time almost weekly during their contentious debates. Tagging on to presidential politics might be one way to keep the film talked about and relevant, even in the shadow of the all the big Academy Awards contenders to come in the last two months of the year. Summit smartly employed that strategy with The Hurt Locker when it hit the Oscar trail by emphazing its topicality and credibility after initially marketing it as a suspenseful war movie. Read More »
The intrigue of the season is already beginning and it’s barely September. Late last week while in Telluride, I got a call from a strategist at 42West saying that the film they are handling for Summit Entertainment, A Better Life, would become the first screener of the year to be sent to Academy members with the plan (at that point still to be confirmed) to send it out on Tuesday, the day after Labor Day. Then, over the weekend, Academy members — including some of those same 42 PR strategists — got an obscure movie from Roadside Attractions called The Music Never Stopped, and rival firm PMK*BNC has claimed that is the first screener to be received this year. OK, let’s call this one a draw: The latter film was indeed the first screener to go out, while A Better Life, which Summit and 42West mailed today, is the first to go out from a movie that has any chance in hell of getting a nomination.
I was with reps from Roadside Attractions all weekend and they never mentioned The Music Never Stopped. No wonder: Small cash-strapped indies are not gonna spend big bucks campaigning a movie that was barely a blip in theaters in March and grossed less than $300,000, as is the case with this one. Its barely fresh 62% rating among top critics at Rotten Tomatoes is no cause for celebration either, not for a dark horse with long shot awards potential (in … Read More »