Ugly Betty Becomes a Nun, Latinos Dominate in New Films, Latino Family Struggles

by Luis Reyes

the-counselor-posterLATINO DRUG DEALERS AGAIN! (Didn’t we see this already?  It was called Savages?) — Ridley’ Scott’s new crime thriller The Counselor starring Brad Pitt which opens on October 24th also stars an impressive list of actors including Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, John Lequizamo, Rosie Perez and Ruben Blades.   Again it is the white Anglo lawyer protagonist who gets involved in a drug deal that is way over his head.  The drug underworld he faces is populated by Latinos.  The modern drug dealer, cartel Latino stereotype presents itself, but it does give work to Latino actors in a major film from a world renowned filmmaker. We can now add Ruben Blades as El Jefe in The Counselor  to the growing list of mature Latino actors including Salma Hayek (Savages), Edward James Olmos (2 Guns) and Benjamin Bratt (Snitch) who have played Cartel Leaders in recent films.

ONE POSITIVE ROLE DESERVES A YAY! — Yul Vasquez plays a pivotal role as Capt. Castellanos, the head  of US Navy operations in charge of rescuing Tom Hanks from Somali pirates in the critically acclaimed sure to be Oscar contender  Captain Phillips.

DIRECTING DEBUT — Demian Bichir is back in his native Mexico City making his directing debut with the feature film Refugio and he has enlisted the aid of Eva Longoria for a starring role. Bichir will also act in the film along with his nephew Jose Angel Bichir, and the actor’s younger Brother, Bruno Bichir, is producing.

ROMANCE ROLES — Salma Hayek has been cast along with Jessica Alba to star opposite (former James Bond) Pierce Brosnan in the romantic comedy How to Make Love to an Englishman which begins filming in Cambridge, England next month.

Welcome to the FamilySAVE THE FAMILY! — On the television front, NBC’s Welcome to the Family, starring Ricardo Chavira and Justina Machado is in danger of being cancelled as its ratings are extremely low according to Nielsen and ABC.   No one is watching this somewhat dated and tired story of the conflicts between an Irish-American family and an American Latino family who are united by a pregnant daughter.  Wasn’t a similarly themed cross-cultural comedy series tried out a few mid-season ago called Rob? It aired only a few episodes before it was cancelled. Its only redeeming feature was that it introduced American audiences to the talents of actor Eugenio Derbez and was the last television role for the late Lupe Ontiveros.  Critics have panned Welcome to the Family but have acknowledged the talents of the actors involved who are struggling with bad scripts.

america-ferera.in Chavez
Michael Pena as Cesar with America Ferrera

HOLY NUN! — America Ferrera  has signed a deal to star in a pilot for a new CBS dramatic television series, Damascus,  in which  she will play a crusading nun who practices law on behalf of the least fortunate and has her beliefs tested when her life collides with an elite corporate lawyer .  As the two set out to help those in need of justice they come up against a ruthless secretive organization that is determined to stop them at all costs. This will be the first series for the Emmy Award winning Ferrera since her own Ugly Betty series ended its run three years ago. The actress will be seen next March in the feature film Chavez playing Cesar’s wife and continues her guest starring dramatic arc on the CBS series The Good Wife.