Entertainment

Latinos Are Still Waiting For Their Own Movie Moment As Hollywood Tries Casting More Diverse Films

Films “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians” both shattered myths about minority casts by breaking box office records. These successes have led to many people celebrating Hollywood’s perceived move to a more inclusive and diverse casting practice. The films broke stereotypes in Hollywood that diversity doesn’t sell and both already have sequels in the work. Yet, through all this barrier-breaking, one underrepresented group has been left out in the dark again: Latinos. Statistics show Latinos are the largest minority group in the country and account for the largest percent of moviegoers amongst minorities at 24 percent. When it comes to the big screen, Hispanic or Latino characters made up only 6.2 percent of speaking characters in the top 100 movies in 2017. But for Latinos that work in the film industry, this is just business as usual.

Hollywood is catching on to the idea that diversity will turn into dollars at the box office but will Latinos be included?

CREDIT: Motion Picture Association of America

Thomas Saenz, chair of the National Latino Media Council, has been fighting for Latino representation for more than 30 years, yet during that span he hasn’t seen enough change. His organization is part of a joint boycott with the National Hispanic Media Coalition that has chosen to spotlight Paramount as statistics show that the studio has the worst record when it comes to including Latinos in films. Saenz and Alex Nogales, president of the NHMC, led a protest of over 60 people in front of Paramount Studios on Aug. 25 in what is the start of a series of protests against the company.

“When studios focus on diversity that can mean any minority group. Latinos in particular have been represented in minuscule numbers that don’t properly show what this country is made up of,” Saenz says. “In the last 10-15 years, African-American representation has gone up same for Asian-American. But I can’t say the same for Latinos. That has to change.”

Paramount has yet to respond to the protest but when the boycott was announced back in August they felt the rights groups were being overly aggressive in their demands. Saenz responded to that by saying “it requires aggressive action on an issue that infringes on civil rights.”

Hollywood has a proven record of creating very few live-action movies focusing on Latino life and culture.

Marissa Herrera, CEO/Creator of De Mi Alma Productions and NHMC Action Network Member, has worked in the entertainment industry for two decades. She has seen firsthand how hard it is for Latinos to get major film roles.

“I’ve had a TV-pilot ready for six months but no company is willing to take a chance on it yet,” Herrera said. “We need dialogue and allies that can bring us a seat at the table.”

Herrera was part of the studio protest where she voiced her displeasure for the lack of Latino representation. She spoke about the struggle of being both a woman and a Latina in the film industry, which puts her at a worse disadvantage. In 2016, only 13 movie roles out of the top 100 grossing films went to Latinas and only 6 percent of TV roles on scripted television went to Latinos as a whole.

“They took a chance on those productions (“Black Panther,” “Crazy Rich Asians”) and we have yet to see that on our end,” Herrera said. “Those two films were given the opportunity and budget. We are the largest growing population yet still not fairly represented in film, all I ask is why are we not?”

The late ’80s and ’90s saw a slew of big production films with that centered or starred Latinos. What has changed since then?

CREDIT: Twitter/JLoeditsnews

“Stand and Deliver” (1988) and “Selena” (1997) were created during this brief time. Some call it the golden age of Latino-American film because studios began taking chances on films that depicted Latino history. By the end of the ’90s there was reluctance from studios to create political stories that dealt with issues such as immigration and discrimination. Herrera feels that it’s not necessarily movie studios going backwards today but them lumping “diversity” all into one category.

“A lot of the films in the ’90s were great but it was half in half. A lot of those roles were stereotyped. For example, since its an immigration story, it makes it a Latino story,” Herrera said. “I do think we are trying to find a sweet spot where we are portrayed not by what society wants us to be but who we are as a whole.”

What will it take for Hollywood to finally make some changes and show Latinos at the forefront of films?

Credit: Getty/Mark Ralston

For Saenz, he sees a few ways for Hollywood to start making some changes to the way they cast and choose which films they want to invest in. He says Latinos need their big moment now more than ever due to the hostile political climate that President Trump has fueled.

“I didn’t think that Donald Trump would get away his demonization of the Latino community but it’s hard to separate what happens in movies and what results in elections and policies going forward,” Saenz says.

Yet, Saenz sees changes coming and believes boycotts like this bring social awareness to a problem many people, including Latinos, don’t realize. The statistics for Latinos in popular films are a disheartening truth but that hasn’t wavered people like Saenz and Herrera who see a light coming soon.

“Money talks. Its important to not support these companies that are refusing to give opportunities, Herrera said. “We all just want to have a seat at the table and begin making real progress. This is our moment as Latinos to seize because if we don’t do it then who will.”

The NHMC and NLMC delivered a petition at during their last demonstration against Paramount Pictures on September 12.


READ: People Are Calling For A Boycott Of Paramount Studios Because Of Their Severe Lack Of Latino Representation

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Sasha Calle Is Officially The DC Universe’s First-Ever Latina Supergirl

Entertainment

Sasha Calle Is Officially The DC Universe’s First-Ever Latina Supergirl

The DC Universe just got a heck of a lot more Brown.

This week, it was announced that 25-year-old actress Sasha Calle is poised to be the franchise’s newest superstar. Known for portraying Lola Rosales on “The Young and the Restless,” the actress will take on the role of Supergirl in the DC film franchise.

Her first appearance as Supergirl expected to debut in the upcoming movie “The Flash.”

Calle, who is of Colombian heritage, is set to become the first Latina ever to play the role of Supergirl.

Calle earned her first breakout role in 2018 after being cast in the long-running CBS daytime drama “The Young & The Restless” as a food truck owner and the youngest sister of brothers in the midst of a toxic rivalry.

Calle earned a Daytime Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Young Performer in a Drama Series category last year for her part in the series.

“On behalf of everyone at ‘The Young and the Restless,’ we’d like to congratulate Sasha Calle on making history and being chosen to play the first Latina Supergirl,” the daytime drama’s executive producer Anthony Morina and co-executive producer/head writer Josh Griffith shared in a statement. “The role of Supergirl is a perfect fit for someone of Sasha’s immense talent, and we wish her all the best as she takes on this groundbreaking role.”

According to Deadline, Calle beat out 425 actresses for the part of Supergirl.

Andy Muschietti director of The Flash gave Calle the good news about her role over Zoom.

“Can I freak out for a second?” Calle asked before announcing the news to someone offscreen. “I got it,” she said to the person off-camera while doing a dance in her chair. Turning back to Muschietti, Calle admitted “I’m probably not going to stop crying all day.”

Calle shared the moment to her Instagram admitting she was still processing the big news.

“A Latina superhero?!” Calle wrote of the news in Spanish. “On what planet?! Well, on this planet! What joy and what pride.” Thanking her mom, Calle wrote, “I adore you with everything I have. You are an example of a superhero.”

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Jennifer Lopez And Matthew McConaughey Honor The 20th Anniversary Of ‘The Wedding Planner’

Entertainment

Jennifer Lopez And Matthew McConaughey Honor The 20th Anniversary Of ‘The Wedding Planner’

2001. A year of quite a lot of big events and don’t fans of The Wedding Planner know it!

Twenty years ago the beloved romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez as a cynical but ambitious wedding planner and Matthew McConaughey the engaged doctor with who she falls in love with.

Twenty years later and of course we needed a reunion to celebrate.

Fortunately, the leading stars reunited for a virtual screening of the 20th anniversary of the hit film. 

During an Instagram Live event, the two actors reunited to wax nostalgia about their iconic romantic comedy from their respective homes. During the sweet gathering, Lopez and McConaughey talked about all things related to that time including their kissing scenes. Recalling one kissing moment in particular, Lopez said to McConaughey “You said, ‘Miss Lopez, I’m going to kiss you now.’ And I said, ‘OK, let’s do it. Let’s hit it.'”

Speaking about the movie’s impact on their career they both admitted that they’ve been lucky.

“When you do these movies… we’ve been lucky enough to continue doing what we love,” Lopez explained. “There are certain moments that always stick out in your head.”

“I so enjoyed working with you,” Lopez added. “We had such a nice rapport and chemistry. We were somewhat at the beginning of our careers at that time. It was exciting to be working on any movie. I still feel that way. It was a magical time. I’m such a romantic too that working on those types of movies have a real feel for me.”

Sweetly, McConaughey praised Lopez for her talent and ambition.

“You prepare so well for everything you do. I love your intentionality, I love how deliberate you are. You would have it down, you love the choreography. I love your deliberation, and the preparation you have,” he added before lamenting the fall of romcoms. “In a way, [The Wedding Planner] was the last of the rom-coms,” McConaughey said. “The rom-com doesn’t get made anymore.”

Lopez was quick to point out that she’s worked hard to ensure that rom-coms don’t die altogether. “I wanna know there’s a happily ever after, I wanna know that. Even though we know we’ve lived through a tough year, miracles still happen, love prevails, things can go right, for sure.”

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