Entertainment

Netflix Is Bringing Latinidad To The Fantasy Realm And LOTR Fans Gear Up

Streaming services like Netflix have become our go-to place for fresh media. So, whenever we hear of a new project coming from the streaming service, we’re all in. Last November, Netflix announced a huge 6 project animated deal that will bring even more cartoon goodness to our screens. One, in particular, has us especially excited because it comes from animator and director Jorge Gutierrez. You might remember him from Nickelodeon’s “El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera” and the gorgeously animated “The Book of Life.”

Now, we’re seeing the first looks of Gutierrez’s new Netflix project, “Maya and the Three.”

Twitter / @mexopolis

Described as a Mesoamerican fantasy epic, the director sat down with VARIETY to share the origins of the project and the journey to get it made. Gutierrez was approached by Netflix with an alluring challenge: share his dream project with executives; the one he didn’t believe anyone would ever allow him to make. It only took him one pitch to win the streaming giant over and “Maya” was greenlit for production.

“So I sat down on Jan. 25th of [2018] and that was the first time I ever pitched ‘Maya,’” he shared with VARIETY. “No art, no writing, just an idea. And here I am 11 months later, knee-deep in production.”

It was Gutierrez’s goal to portray a “bad-ass female Mesoamerican hero” in a fantasy world of his own creation.

Twitter / @zette16

“I started seeing a lot of things I didn’t like as far as not having any lead females, especially in Mesoamerican mythology,” he explained. “So I said I want to have a hero who is a half-god half-human warrior princess.”

In the Netflix series, a demigod warrior princess named Maya embarks on a quest to recruit three legendary fighters. With their help, she hopes to save the worlds of god and man from destruction. The intention was to show Maya as a strong female lead and, to do so, Gutierrez pulled from his real-life heroes. The director credits his sister, mother and his wife, Sandra Equihua for inspiring the mythical heroine. Equihua is also a talented animator and acts as a character designer for the female characters in her husband’s work.

With his female lead in place, Gutierrez focused on the mystical world that “Maya” would be set in.

Twitter / @mexopolis

The setting for the Netflix limited series has been growing in Gutierrez’s mind since he was a boy growing up in Mexico City. He would wander the halls of the Museum of Natural History and makeup stories about what he saw. These stories would later help to mold the setting. Even now, the director has fun teasing his Twitter followers with hints about what the new series could look like. However, it’s the architecture from his boyhood explorations, Gutierrez’s fondness for skulls and the pantheon of Mesoamerican gods that have helped to create Maya’s world.

Due to the mystical quest and the fantasy setting of “Maya and the Three,” Gutierrez has taken to calling the series the Mexican “Lord of the Rings.” Still, it’s a fantasy first and foremost. The director wants everyone to understand that “Maya” is inspired by Mesoamerican culture but is not meant to be an accurate representation.

“I tell everybody that while it’s inspired by Mesoamerica, this will be as accurate (to that world) as ‘Rocky’ was to boxing,” Gutierrez shared with VARIETY. “It’s all fantasy and I’m having a blast playing with the history.”

The series will feature a number of talented Latinx writers, producers and voice actors to bring Maya to life.

Instagram / @thraxisjr

Silvia Olivas from “Elena of Avalor” is acting as a co-writer and co-producer for “Maya and the Three.” From Disney’s “Moana,” Jeff Ranjo is the head of story. Paul Sullivan, who worked with Gutierrez on “The Book of Life,” is the production designer.

Despite these important hires, animators were in short supply so the producer had to get creative.

“Especially in L.A., we are all fighting for basically the same people, so now we’re looking outside. Before we announced Maya, I would go online and look for artists who were already inspired by Mesoamerica and say to them ‘You already love this stuff, we love it too! Come to our team.’”

Gutierrez used Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr to find animators that could do justice to the project. This modern-day recruiting system allowed Gutierrez and his team to find fresh artists with untapped talent to animate “Maya.” The results promise to be unique and beautiful.

The series is still a long ways away; it won’t debut on Netflix until its 2021 worldwide release. While it’s a long wait, the director promises fans that it is well worth it.

“Please have patience,” he told fans through his VARIETY interview. “This is gonna take a while, but we hope it’s unlike anything anyone has ever seen. We are so giddy every day and still can’t believe this is happening.”

The New Cinderella Remake Tapped Camila Cabello To Play The Princess And Billy Porter To Be The Fabulous Godmother

Entertainment

The New Cinderella Remake Tapped Camila Cabello To Play The Princess And Billy Porter To Be The Fabulous Godmother

This year, two 90s classics were remastered and re-launched. The CGI version of The Lion King and the live-action of Aladdin sent movie theaters into a frenzy. And with the success they had in the box office, Disney has announced a few more classics to be retold in the coming years. With live-action remakes taking over the world, interest in all things Disney is skyrocketing. So Sony Studios is giving us a new Cinderella live-action with a modern touch that sounds fairly different from the last remake from 2015, which was firmly traditional and palatable.

Here’s what we know about the latest re-imagining of the classic fairytale set to premiere on February 5, 2021.

Sony’s 2021 Cinderella already has an all-star cast

credit Instagram @camila_cabello

Few details are known about the plot yet, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, “Sony is putting the project on the fast track for production,” so more details will likely be released soon. Unlike 2015’s Cinderella starring Lily James, this will not be a Disney production. The Hollywood Reporter noted that the remake will be produced James Corden, and that the Grammy-nominated Camilla Cabello has been cast to play the part of the rags-to-riches princess, Cinderella. The singer is also said to be heavily involved in the music for the film, she might even inject some of her son cubano into the kids’ classic, but either way, we’re in for a treat. 

“Playing Cinderella is, honestly, a dream for me,” Cabello told “Entertainment Tonight” in August. “It’s a little bit terrifying, but I’m so excited because anybody that knows me knows I’m obsessed with musicals.” “I’m really happy that we’re at a point now in a culture where ‘Aladdin’ or ‘The Little Mermaid’ … little girls can see themselves being represented,” the pop singer added. “I think that is so important, and it’s about time.” The 22-year-old (how is she only 22!) is also working on a new album, so she has a big year ahead. 

The voice behind Frozen princess Elsa, will play the evil step-mother.

Credit Instagram @Idinamenzel

Deadline reported earlier this month that Idina Menzel, is set to assume the role of Evelyn, Cinderella’s evil stepmother. Menzel voiced Elsa, the princess behind Frozen’s iconic viral song, ‘Let It Go‘. She is also a Tony and Grammy Award-winning actress who is a Broadway mainstay from shows like Rent and Wicked

Bibidi-Bobbidi-boo, we’re getting a fabulous fairy godmother!

Credit Instagram @theebillyporter

Sony’s upcoming rendition of the classic tale just got a lot more fabulous with the announcement of the new fairy godmother. Billy Porter confirmed his involvement with the film during a panel at the 20th New Yorker Festival. And if you’re anything like us, you have to agree that his theatricality both on and off-screen more than qualify him for the role. The actor shared his excitement via the New Yorker’s Instagram stories where he first broke the news. “I have a couple movies that I’m working on,” Billy said. “I’m gonna be playing the fairy godmother in the new Cinderella movie with Camila Cabello.” In September, Porter became the first openly gay black man to win the Emmy for best actor in a drama for his work on Pose. Prior to that, he earned a Tony and a Grammy for his role in Broadway’s Kinky Boots. 

The new imagining of the poor girl turned princess grew from an original idea by Carpool Karaoke’s James Corden.

Credit Instagram @thelateshow

The film is set to be a modern musical rendition of the classic, all-too-traditional fairytale. The idea for the new take on Cinderella grew from an original idea from James Corden, the late-night talk show host who has made major musical inroads thanks to his popular “Carpool Karaoke” segments. Corden is producing the project with Leo Pearlman, his partner at Fulwell 73, the production banner that has found success with documentaries such as The Class of ’92, the BAFTA-nominated Bros: After the Screaming Stops and Karaoke. The new rendition will be written and directed by Kay Cannon, who is known for her writing and producing work on the movie series Pitch Perfect and 30 Rock. Cannon got her start working on NBC’s 30 Rock, for which she earned three Emmy nominations. 

She made her directorial debut with Blockers, a female-centric losing-your-virginity comedy whose cast included Kathryn Newton and John Cena. 

All other plot details are being kept in a shoebox, but the story is described as a modern reimagining of the traditional tale of the orphaned girl with an evil stepmother, with a musical bent thrown in for good measure. Camila’s part in the movie would be her debut into film and we’re certain that it won’t be her last adventure in the silver screen. The new Cinderella film is just one of many Disney movies getting rebooted, and we can’t wait to see what this non-Disneyfied version has in store.

 

Check Out These Beautiful Ofrendas Dedicated To Beloved Latino Icons

Entertainment

Check Out These Beautiful Ofrendas Dedicated To Beloved Latino Icons

As the weather cools down and Halloween pops up on our calendars, there’s another holiday quickly approaching that deserves it’s own attention. Every October and November, people from Northern Mexico and around the world celebrate Día de los Muertos by building ofrendas to honor those who they have lost. Ofrendas are shrines set up with the photos of deceased loved ones along with personal items that they appreciated in life. Originating from the Aztecs, these shrines are meant to commemorate their dead loved ones and guide them home on the one day when their souls can journey from the spirit world to the world of the living. 

While ofrendas often honor deceased family members and friends, it’s not unusual to see alters also set up for famous people who have passed away. Fans build these shrines to celebrities in order to pay tribute to their legacy. These celebrity alters are usually as elaborate and amazing as the famous people they are meant to honor. 

Here are some of the remarkable celebrity ofrendas that prove that fame and the love of their fans are everlasting. 

1. Anything for Selenas.

Instagram / @sumnerboi

Selena is one of the most recognizable celebrities of the Latinidad so it makes sense that she’d have quite a few ofrendas built to remember her. San Antonio’s Mi Tierra Cafe & Bakery is a Mexican restaurant that keeps this shrine of Selena up all year long to celebrate the Queen of Tejano. 

2. Dedicated to the icons of Mexico.

Instagram / @eltinterodemama

This colorful ofrenda is a reminder that these shrines can be for more than one person at a time. On this alter, Mexican pop culture is represented by superstar actress Maria Felix, comedian and TV star Chespirito (Roberto Gomez Bolanos) and artist Frida Kahlo. Offerings of fruit, food and alcohol adorn this ofrenda to tempt and delight the spirits of these deceased stars. 

3. A shrine fit for a food god.

Instagram / @hunger_street

Two years ago, the food world lost a huge star with the untimely death of Anthony Bourdain. The celebrity chef was known for traveling the world and learning about local customs and cuisine in such a respectful way that it endeared him to the communities that he visited. This earned him the spot of honor on this ofrenda. 

4. Frida’s ofrenda.

Instagram / @raul_krnx

Frida Kahlo is an artist who has only become more beloved in death. Her image is used in everything from jewelry and makeup to home goods and tee shirts. This shrine pays tribute to the legendary artista with pots of food, Mexican marigolds and skeletal attendants. 

5. An alter for Poet Paz.

Instagram / @lamovidapanama

Octavio Paz was a Nobel Prize-winning poet and one of the most influential voices in Mexican literature. His words have been a source of comfort and inspiration to millions of readers over the years. He was also a diplomat and fought against fascism in Mexico and abroad. All these accomplishments deserve to be remembered and Paz is honored in this papel picado-filled ofrenda. 

6. An offering to two legends.

Instagram / @melodysev

This past decade, we’ve lost some remarkable souls but none more beloved than music artists Prince and David Bowie. The Prince of Funk and Ziggy Stardust have millions of fans across the world and they are still remembered for being innovators and entertainers. This ofrenda in honor of the two was fittingly built at the Santa Barbara Bowl an amphitheater dedicated to great music.  

7. RIP Tony Stark.

Twitter / @mkhenderson428

Sometimes fictional characters touch us so much that they become real to us. So, when a character like this passes away, it’s only natural to honor them the way we would a real person. This Day of the Dead project was dedicated to Tony Stark aka Iron Man. Gone but never forgotten. 

8. Dedicated to las mujeres.

Instagram / @ilaments

This ofrenda was built in tribute to powerful Latinas. Women like Celia Cruz, Jessica Torres, Margarita Neri, and Delores del Río are immortalized among other great women who will always have a special place in history and in the hearts of their fans.

9. An icon from the Golden Age of Mexican cinema.

Instagram / @chableresort

Besides ofrendas, grave sites are also decorated as alters for Día de los Muertos. One of the biggest actors of Mexico’s Golden Age of cinema, Pedro Infante is buried in the Yucatan. For the Day of the Dead, his grave site was adorned with Mexican marigolds and candles to guide his spirit back to the world of the living. 

10. The King has entered the building.

Instagram / @beijingemily

One of the most legendary celebrities to have ever lived is Elvis Presley and the man has become a bigger icon in death. There are still claims of Elvis sightings all over the world. Maybe, those fans are just seeing Elvis’ spirit as he returns to visit the thousands of shrines that are dedicated to him for Día de Los Muertos and year-round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4TnFSXDWaM