hollywood (4)

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The greaser. The hot tamale. The gangster. The maid. The narco. These and other stereotypes are how Hollywood has traditionally portrayed Latinos for over a century. Even as they have become America’s largest minority, and as their box-office clout has increased, tired tropes continue. READ MORE AT LOS ANGELES TIMES

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Despite liberal Hollywood's best intentions, every other decade becomes the emerging "Decade of the Hispanic," as if the group exists in a perpetual state of arrival. Even as the big-budget film adaptation of the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical "In the Heights" hit theaters and HBO Max last week to rave reviews, Latinos in Hollywood say they face outsize obstacles in getting stories that reflect their experiences to the screen. READ MORE AT GAZATTEXTRA

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America Ferrera heads to Chicago

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In the history of Hollywood, is America Ferrera the only young actress to have launched a successful career by hitching herself to the word “ugly”?

A 27-year-old Californian actress with no formal training, Ferrera made her name as the star of Ugly Betty, the hit American television comedy series which followed her frumpy character’s unlikely rise at a New York fashion magazine. It ran for four years and won her a Screen Actors Guild award, an Emmy and a Golden Globe.

Ferrera, who took her first acting jobs while reading International Relations at the University of Southern California, had already tackled the issue of body image as Ana Garcia, a Mexican-American girl rebelling against an overbearing, weight-obsessed mother in the 2002 film Real Women Have Curves. She was only 17 when she landed the role, and her performance won her the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2002.

“I don’t think I meant to challenge an industry as a whole,” she says, sitting in the empty auditorium at New York’s Ambassador Theatre where she is rehearsing for her new role, as murderous showgirl Roxie Hart in the London production of Chicago. “I didn’t see any fear in playing Betty.” READ MORE

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8602375897?profile=originalIt's not obvious what language Will Ferrell's new film, Casa de Mi Padre, is speaking. Everyone's favourite cross-eyed man-child had last-minute cramming sessions in order to be able to drawl the Spanish-language dialogue for the comedy – a sendup of cheesy rural-Mexico telenovelas. But just as Ferrell admits he still can't really hold a conversation in Spanish, Casa looks like it could have communication issues, too. Is it a deft in-joke for the US's movie-mad Hispanic audience? Or does Ferrell's presence just crank up the irony factor for the urban-hipster crowd to indulge yet another cultural fetish?

Movie executives would, if they had to choose, plump for the former. As well as the largest ethnic minority, Hispanic-Americans are perhaps the US's keenest, most youthful and fast-growing film demographic. Forty-three million Hispanics bought 351m tickets in 2010 (out of a total 1.34bn) – up from 37m buying 300m the year before. People of that ethnicity in the key 18-34 group are 44% more likely to see a film on its opening weekend than non-Hispanics. No wonder that's beginning to get some serious attention: Casa de Mi Padre is being distributed by Pantelion Films, a partnership between Lionsgate and Mexican media giant Televisa that is hoping to make around 10 films a year, in both English and Spanish, for Latino audiences. READ MORE

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