Entertainment

Netflix’s Adaptation Of The Baby-Sitter’s Club Is Around The Corner And We’ve Got Some Ideas For The Cast

If you grew up in the 80s/early 90s and were a nerd for books, then you definitely remember the names Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey. They were the group of friends we wish we had, and thanks to author Ann M. Martin, she introduced us to these four friends and a babysitting club that would change our lives in many ways.  

After a successful run of books, the Baby-Sitter’s Club hit the big screen when it turned into a feature film in 1995 and fast forward 24 years later, this group of friends is about to get the Netflix treatment.

Netflix announced on Tuesday that Alicia Silverstone and Mark Feuerstein have been cast in the series. 

Silverstone will play Elizabeth Thomas-Brewer, mother of Kristy Thomas and love interest of Watson Brewer, played by Feuerstein. While the 1995 Baby-Sitter’s Club film and the books were pretty diverse and inclusive and tackled issues based on race and gender, we hope the Netflix series adaptation will take it one step further and be able to reflect women in this day and age. After all, the books taught us quite the laundry list of feminist lessons–from women empowerment and leadership to showing young women how to make space for themselves in places where they might not seem welcome. 

We can’t wait to see who else will be announced for the cast of the Baby-Sitter’s Club, but in the meantime, we’ve got some ideas for some amazing Latinx actors who could take on those roles. 

Isabella Gomez as Mary Anne Spier 

(Photo credit: Bustle, Instagram @isabella.gomez)

Secretary of The Baby-Sitters Club, Mary Anne Spier makes her first appearance in Book #1 “Kristy’s Great Idea” and the last book in the original series, Book #131 “The Fire at Mary Anne’s House,” focuses on Mary Anne losing her home in a fire. The series sort of comes full circle with the four original members as Mary Anne is the first and the last to narrate her own book. And if we were to have our way with the latest The Baby-Sitters Club series, we’d love to see One Day at a Time‘s Isabella Gomez play the amazing Mary Anne Spier. The Colombian-American actress, best known her starring role as Elena Alvarez in ODAT is no Netflix rookie, so she’d be perfect the role. She’s also had previous minor roles in Modern Family and Matador

Jasmine Villegas as Claudia Kishi

(Photo credit: Buzzfeed, Instagram @jasminevillegas)

Up next is Claudia “Claud” Kishi, the vice presidents of The Baby-Sitters Club. Like Mary Anne Spier, Claudia Kishi also makes her first appearance in Book #1 and is one of the main characters in The Baby-Sitters Club books by Ann M. Martin. In the 1995 movie of The Baby-Sitters Club, Claudia Kishi is portrayed by actress Tricia Joe, who also starred in the 1994 film “I’ll Do Anything.” In Netflix’s series, we’d love to see Claudia Kishi be portrayed by pop and R&B singer Jasmine Marie Villegas. The Filipina and Mexican artist has also had her fair share of guest appearances on shows like That’s So Raven, The Nine, and My Wife and Kids.  

Bella Thorne as Dawn Schafer (Mary Anne’s Stepsister)

(Photo credit: Bustle, Instagram @bellathorne)

We don’t think there’s anyone more fit for the role of Dawn Read Schafer than Bella Thorne. The resemblance is uncanny! Dawn Schafer is the former alternate officer in The Baby-Sitters Club–this meant that if someone wasn’t able to make the club’s meeting, then she would take over their duties. We feel like Thorne has that same set of responsibly vibe that Schafer has. The Cuban-American actress and singer has an extensive resume of television and film roles, so Netflix… hit her up!

Jenna Ortega as Kristy Thomas

(Photo credit: Bustle, Instagram @jennaortega)
 
Kristin “Kristy” Amanda Thomas is the main character in The Baby-Sitter’s Club books and she’s the creator and president of the club. She’s the daughter of Elizabeth Thomas-Brewer and Patrick Thomas. Kristy is known for her leadership skills and she’s the mastermind behind The Baby-Sitter’s Club best ideas. When we think of Kristy’s personality traits and the type of independent young woman that she is, we think of actress Jenna Ortega. I mean, the Mexican-Puerto Rican actress did play Elena of Avalor (and nailed it!) for a reason. She’s also played a young Jane Villanueva in The CW’s Jane the Virgin, so we can’t help but think that she’d make the perfect Kristy Thomas in Netflix’s new series. 

Allegra Acosta as Mallory Pike 

(Photo credit: Bustle, Instagram @allegraacosta)

Who could forget the feisty Mallory “Mal” Pike? She’s a Junior Officer in The Baby-Sitter’s Club and in case you forgot, Junior Officers in the club don’t have any duties since they’re younger than the other members and are unable to babysit at night. For the Netflix series, we’d love to see actress and singer Allegra Acosta take on the role of Mallory Pike. The Latinx actress is best known for playing the role Mallory Hernandez in the Hulu original series Marvel’s Runaways. 

Eva Longoria as Elizabeth Thomas-Brewer

(Photo credit: Instagram @evalongoria)

Yeah, yeah, we love Alicia Silverstone and Clueless as much as the next person but why not take advantage of an opportunity like this to cast Latinx actors for the Netflix series? In Netflix’s remake of The Baby-Sitter’s Club, Silverstone will be playing the role of Kristy Thomas’ mother but we’d love to see Eva Longoria take on that role. We’d love to see her help the girls with The Baby-Sitter’s Club duties. 

Jaime Camil as Watson Brewer

(Photo credit: Instagram @jaimcamil)

After seeing Jaime Camil play the hell out of Rogelio de la Vega and Jane Villanueva’s dad on Jane the Virgin, we just want to keep seeing him in more fatherly roles. And imagine him playing the love interest of a mother whose daughter is in charge of leading a babysitting club? We’d love to see that play out. Plus, Jaime Camil and Eva Longoria have experience acting side by side in a brief stint on Jane the Virgin, so come on, Netflix. 

Eiza Gonzalez as Stacey McGill

(Photo credit: Bustle, Instagram @eizagonzalez)

Anastasia Elizabeth “Stacey” McGill is The Baby-Sitter’s Club treasurer and in the books, she’s described as having a very sophisticated yet glamorous style. We can’t help but think of Eiza Gonzalez as the perfect actor to take on the role of Stacey. Again, look! The resemblance is uncanny! 

Becky G as Cokie Mason

(Photo credit: Bustle, Instagram @iambeckyg)

Oooh, we’d love to see the Latinx singer and actor Becky G take on a more villainy role. We know, Cokie Mason isn’t technically THAT evil, but the chief rival of the Baby-Sitter’s Club has her days. She’s responsible for a number of pranks on the club and she also had a crush on Logan (who dated Mary Anne Spier). It would definitely be a fun role to see Becky G take on! 

Sierra Capri as Jessi Ramsey

(Photo credit: Bustle, Instagram @thesierracapri)

We love Sierra Capri in On My Block and we’d love to start seeing her take on more roles, in and outside of Netflix of course. But seeing Capri play Jessi Ramsey, who’s also a junior officer, from The Baby-Sitter’s Club would be a dream. 

Diego Boneta as Logan Bruno

(Photo credit: Bustle, Instagram @diego)

Of course, we had to include Logan Bruno. For starters, according to the books, he’s a heartthrob, and Mary Anne Spier is the lucky lady who gets to call him her boyfriend. She’s also an associate member of The Baby-Sitter’s Club and according to the books, he has sandy blond hair and blue eyes. But we don’t always need a blondie to make our hearts swoon, so that’s why we vote for Mexican actor Diego Boneta to play his part in the new Netflix series. 

So there you have it, Netflix. We just cast the majority of the series for you, so we better see some diversity in your remake of The Baby-Sitter’s Club (and we also can’t wait to watch!). 

Julissa Calderon And Annie Gonzalez On How ‘Gentefied’ Is Offering Empowerment And Representation In This New TV Era

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Julissa Calderon And Annie Gonzalez On How ‘Gentefied’ Is Offering Empowerment And Representation In This New TV Era

gentefied / Instagram

Netflix’s show “Gentefied” is finally out and we all get to see the love story written to the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. The show is complete with discussions of the complexities of gentrification, bilingual jokes, and a cast that is the embodiment of #RepresentationMatters. 

The show centers around the Morales family’s taco shop made up of patriarch “Pop” (played by Joaquín Cosío) and his grandchildren Erik (played by JJ Soria), Ana (played by Karrie Martin) and Chris (played by Carlos Santos). It is set in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights, an area with a population makeup of 94 percent Latinos, a median age under 25, and where the average income is under $34,000, according to a Los Angeles Times profile.

In “Gentefied,” the Morales family is trying to save their weathering taco shop Mama Fina’s Tacos from being eaten up by the interests of corporate real estate developers and Westside yuppies. In order to keep Pop from closing the doors, Erik, Ana, and Chris try their hand at making fusion tacos or encouraging the children of patrons to read more books in exchange for free tacos. 

Ana’s strong activist girlfriend Yessika (played by Julissa Calderon), and Erik’s baby mama and first love professor and podcast host Lidia (played by Annie Gonzalez) make up the rest of the circle.

Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

The type of support Lidia gives to Erik is a kind of #BrownLove we are all here for. We are also excited to see queer Afro-Latinas represented in a show about the importance of embracing everyone’s Latinidad.

Calderon and Gonzalez are just as impassioned off-screen as their characters are on-screen when it comes to issues affecting Latinos.

Credit: Courtesy of Netflix

“Gentefied” encourages its viewers to love who you want, no matter what las chismosas de la vecindad say.

Mitú recently chatted with Calderon and Gonzalez at the Netflix Los Angeles office to talk more about how gentrification has affected them personally and what messages do they want to extend to audiences members as characters Yessika and Lidia. 

“I think that’s what this show is doing, it’s just creating space for a group of people who never felt seen or heard, and we are so honored and humbled to be part of a project like this,” Gonzalez said about what Gentefied means to her.  

The show’s characters portray the push and pull that gentrification can cause.

Oftentimes it is at the expense of minorities who are already struggling to pay rental prices. We have seen this happen in communities across the nation with Boyle Heights currently in that fight.

“Gentrification, it affects the minorities. Even though you look at statistics, and we are the majority as far as population is concerned (we make up a large population), we’re still the minority when it comes to politics, and anybody else that has the say on how things are ran. 

I’m born and raised in East LA, so I’ve seen first hand how gentrification has affected the people in my community, my family members,” Gonzalez said.

The writers of “Gentefied” are able to have such a high level of authenticity because its cast and crew have lived these changes themselves.  

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Just a lil primo love. 😅

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Gonzalez said her own grandmother had to move east to Ontario, Calif., to find affordable housing. Calderon said the Carol City area of greater Miami she knew growing up has completely transformed with different developments, pushing out flea market shop owners and going as far as to re-brand itself as Miami Gardens (now home to the Hard Rock Stadium.) 

“And yes, this story is in East LA, but this is resonating with so many different neighborhoods all around the country,” Calderon added. 

Calderon then shared a story of her grandmother’s Washington Heights neighborhood in New York which is now crawling with hipsters, a change she was taken a bit aback by.

“Before, no one would even walk in those neighborhoods, so it’s definitely interesting to see the turn of events, and unfortunately it’s affecting people of color—always,” Calderon stated. 

Although these gentrification changes are affecting people of color disproportionately, the show portrays a sense of hope and proactiveness by its characters to not only save the cultural roots of their neighborhood but to also help open the minds of the older generation who are grappling with their sense of a changing world. 

Calderon’s Yessika character proudly displays her Afro-Latinidad and lesbian love affair to the world while fighting back.

Yessika shows #BlackGirlMagic is sparkling in the streets of Boyle Heights. 

“I think my character has two messages—one is that she is a Black girl who speaks Spanish and she is proud of it. She owns the skin she’s in. She owns this curly ‘fro that she has. She knows where she comes from,” Calderon exclaimed. She continued, “my character is just not a sell-out. She stands for what she believes in and she doesn’t care if she’s going against everyone else. She’s aware of what’s at stake and she’s aware of what’s important, and she’s for the people.”

Calderon has embraced her full Afro-Latindad through Yessika and is ready to see the impact that representation will have for the next generation. 

“I just want these little girls in these neighborhoods to be like, ‘OMG! That’s me!’ I can see that, because I don’t recall seeing that as a child on TV. The novelas we used to see, everybody was very white-washed, blue eyes, blonde hair—that was the go-to market. We’re changing that sh*t.”

Gonzalez wants her character to convey a clear message of empowerment while attaining your wildest dreams. 

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Spread the chisme…we’re coming.

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Lidia proves you can do it all (and do it in your style of hoop earrings and turban headband!) 

“Lidia, she’s strong, confident, educated, born and raised in the ‘hood, [who] doesn’t need to code-switch to convey her intelligence. She’s empowering the Latinidad to get an education, but not to abandon their roots, thinking that her community is worth pouring into,” Gonzalez had to say about her character.  

Gonzalez added the show’s characters can resonate with audiences because each person knows someone like these characters. She said the example of the love story between Erik and Lidia, in which they each allowed each other to be equally sensitive and powerful, allowed her to find healing within herself.

“I found so much healing through Erik and Lidia’s story via my parent’s severed relationship. I felt I was able to make the ending they weren’t able to have,” Gonzalez shared in the interview. 

The show’s creators, Linda Yvette Chavez and Marvin Lemus knew that these types of stories would resonate because it’s their stories.

It’s a side of America that is finally being shown but was always there. 

The cast and storylines of “Gentefied” prove that the Greater Los Angeles area (and all neighborhoods in general) need to learn that pockets of working-class neighborhoods ARE worth pouring into and exploring—because the small businesses, the parks, the art, the people—they all have value. Having a supermercado instead of a Whole Foods grocery store does not make the history or culture of a city any less important.

READ: Netflix Finally Released The ‘Gentefied’ Trailer And The Show Looks Like An Instant Hit

Diego Luna Talks The Importance Of The Storytelling In ‘Narcos: Mexico’ And Why Mexico City Will Always Be His Home

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Diego Luna Talks The Importance Of The Storytelling In ‘Narcos: Mexico’ And Why Mexico City Will Always Be His Home

Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix’s “Narcos: Mexico” Season 2 comes back to continue the story of enigmatic drug lord Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo and the subsequent rise and fall of the Guadalajara cartel he founded in the 1970s, with Diego Luna reprising his role as the mysterious Félix Gallardo.

The show depicts how Félix Gallardo’s eloquence and strategic thinking helped him attain a swift rise to the apex of the Mexican drug cartels. 

For a man of which not much is widely known about, Luna reveals in this exclusive interview with mitú how he was able to dive into his character.

When preparing for this role, Luna said there wasn’t as much research material about El Padrino (Félix Gallardo’s alias) compared to the personal stories of other real-life personalities, such as El Chapo. 

“The good thing for me in playing this role is this man was a very discreet person, he understood the power of discretion,” Luna says.

It was important to see what people said about him—what people say or feel when they were around this character, this perception of him helps a lot. I had to do research and see what was a common answer—people talk about how intelligent and precise and strategic he was, and that’s how I wanted to portray and build this character,” Luna told mitú over the phone. 

Season 2 picks up after the murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena, with Félix Gallardo enjoying political protection at his palatial home in Mexico.

It’s evident in the beginning scenes of this second season that his rags-to-riches story is starting to unravel and a bit of paranoia is starting to set in that he may have a knife (or gun) at his back at any moment. 

A running allegory used by the characters’ dialogues of the Roman Empire’s eventual collapse and Julius Caesar’s ultimate end foreshadows what we all know will happen to Félix Gallardo—his drug empire will eventually collapse in a smoke of cocaine dust. 

From crooked Mexican politicians and cops to ranch hands trying to make extra money delivering cocaine across the border, the show demonstrates the complicity among the cartels and how far the cartels’ reach.

“Narcos: Mexico” attempts to show that good and evil isn’t always black and white. The story highlights the gray area where even those committing corrupt acts are victims, Luna explained. 

“Some of the characters that take action are victims of the whole system,” Luna said in Spanish. 

The side of Mexico shown in “Narcos: Mexico” has been criticized by some as a side of Mexico stereotypically seen in the media.

However, Luna sees it as a side of the country that is real and must be discussed in order to move forward.

“When this season ends, I was 10 to 11 years old [at the time.] That decade was actually ending. It’s interesting to revisit that decade as an adult and research that Mexico my father was trying to hide from me [as a child],” Luna explained.

Luna says that this type of storytelling is important to understanding the fuller picture of Mexico.

The need for this type of storytelling—the stories that put a mirror up to a country to see the darkest side of itself—is vital, regardless of how complex it is to write scripts about all the facets of a country marred by political and judicial corruption. 

“In this case the story is very complex, it’s talking about a corrupt system that allows these stories to happen. We don’t tell stories like that—we simply everything. With this, I had a chance to understand that complexity. The journey of this character is a presentable journey. Power has a downside, and he gets there and he thinks he’s indispensable and clearly he is not,” Luna said. 

Outside of his role on “Narcos,” Luna is a vocal activist and is constantly working to put Mexico’s art and talent on an international stage through his work, vigilantly reminding his audience that Mexico has culture waiting to be explored past the resort walls of Cancún and Cabo. 

“The beauty of Mexico is that there are many Mexicos—it’s a very diverse country. You have the Pacific Coast that is beautiful and vibrant and really cool. By far my favorite beach spots in Mexico are in Oaxaca, and all the region of Baja California. You also have the desert and jungle and Veracruz and you have all the Caribbean coast and the city is to me a place I can’t really escape. Home is Mexico City, and it will always be where most of my love stories are and where I belong,” Luna said in a sort of love note aside to his home country. 

As much as Luna can talk endlessly about his favorite tacos in Mexico City (Tacos El Güero for any inquiring minds) and the gastronomic wonders of its pocket neighborhoods such as la Condesa, he also wants the dialogue around Mexico’s violence to be shown under a spotlight, as searing as it may be. 

“We can’t avoid talking about violence because if we stop, we normalize something that has to change,” Luna said. 

Perhaps “Narcos: Mexico” can bring some introspection and change after all. Let’s hope the politicians are watching.

READ: ‘Narcos: Mexico’ Season 2 Picks Up Where We Left Off With Félix Gallardo And The Guadalajara Cartel