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Star Wars Casting Update

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Jimmy Smits will be making a return to the Star Wars universe in “Star Wars: Rogue One,” which will hit theatres on Dec. 16, 2016.

The last time we saw Smits’ Senator Bail Prestor Organa, a founding member of the rebel alliance, was in the threequel to the prequel films, “Revenge of the Sith (2005).”

In that film, the Puerto Rican’s character adopts Princess Leia Organa and takes her home with him to create a family with his wife in Alderaan, while also protecting the future general of the rebel alliance from dark forces.

The anthology film will take place right before the adventures of “A New Hope” and will fill in the gap between the animated series “Star Wars Rebels,” which takes place 14 years after “Revenge.”

The film will also feature Diego Luna as an intelligence officer for the rebel alliance who leads a ragtag team to take on the Galactic Empire in order to steal the floor plans for the Death Star.

Despite his return to the franchise, Smits character has a grim future ahead of him in “A New Hope.”

Star Wars Casting Update

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The name and description of Diego Luna’s Star Wars character have finally been revealed.

The stunning Mexican actor will be playing Captain Cassian Andor, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Luna’s casting in the franchise adds to the diversity of the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story cast and further increases the presence of Hispanic actors in the rebooted intergalactic franchise.

As Andor, Luna will be the straight shooter that has a bit of an edge to him. During his leadership, he will try to be the one that calms Felicity Jones’ protagonist, the reckless former thief turned Rebel soldier, Jyn Erso, and help her steal the plans for the Death Star, which is seen in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

In addition to being steady, Andor is described as world-weary and strategic, which isn’t surprising considering the 19 years of battle he would of have to survive to become a captain between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.


Fast & Furious 8 causes Traffic Jams in Cuba!


While the Fast & Furious franchise is continuing to grow as its next installment is currently being filmed in Cuba it may be a joy to some of the film’s fan but an upset to some Cuban residents.

Earlier this month, the 8th installment of the Fast & Furious series began filming and is said to be the film series first of the final trilogy of films that will conclude its run and send the franchise’s main characters off with a bang. And sadly, with Paul Walker passing thus the film giving his character a bittersweet sendoff from Fast & Furious 7 the film series finds a new addition to its cast in Charlize Theron.

And much like the excitement of the film series itself, the residents of Cuba are becoming excited as well by the grand film production that has appeared in the Caribbean country. Since production began and seemingly has taken over the island, the Havana neighborhood named Vedado located in Central and Old Havana is experience havoc with its daily commuter routine due to unusual traffic jams and groups of curious onlookers thanks to the film’s presence.

Fast & Furious is the first major U.S. film production to be shot in Cuba in over 50 years since the embargo was lifted, and it is not without notice. Barriers have been built keep in order to keep curious onlookers separated from the set, crew members, and as well. And thanks to these barriers local motorists are not exactly experiencing the same level of excitement as others.

This has never happened before,” said Yani, a state worker who describes how since the major streets are closed off she has to find alternate routes just to get around, adding that it has been “a nightmare.”

According to some of the Central Havana residents, the once tranquil neighborhood is no longer there due to the presence of the traffic jams to civilians and the press trying to capture the film’s activity despite being denied access.

It’s really crazy. There are many people complaining because they’re arriving late to work, sometimes they don’t announce where the filming will occur … but Cubans are adapting to it all,” said Alain, a Havana resident who, like many others, tried to find a spot in Malecon—one of the streets in Havana—in order to see the film being shot.

For a film series that is renowned for displaying some of the hottest and latest vehicles in spectacular car racing and high-tech action scenes, it comes as no surprise that Cuba was selected as a filming location.

If you were to walk down a street within a Cuban city, you can expect to find quite a few antique 1950s U.S. autos parked alongside a couple of curbs.

The 8th installment of Fast & Furious is set to hit theaters in 2017.

Benicio Del Toro set to play Kingpin of the Cuban-American Mafia in ‘The Corporation’!


Benicio Del Toro is set to play Jose Miguel Battle Sr., the Don of a Cuban-American Mafia, in a soon to be made film.

Del Toro will star in The Corporation which is a book of the same name written by author T.J. English and highlights the Cuban-American underworld.

Paramount Pictures & The Appian Way production company—owned by Actor Leonardo DiCaprio—were the victors in acquiring the rights to the book-to-film adaptation after a bidding war between Hollywood studios & production companies broke out last week. The film has been cited as becoming the “Cuban Version” of the The Godfather & American Gangster.”

The film’s screenplay will be written by David Matthews who has penned scripts for HBO series Boardwalk Empire & Vinyl and will surely capture the book’s “epic story” of the Cuban-American crime syndicate, The Corporation.

Del Toro will portray Jose Miguel Battle Sr. who was the head of the Cuban-American mafia. Prior to becoming the Godfather of the Cuban mafia, Battle Sr. was a former police officer during President Fulgencio Batista’s presidency prior to the Cuban Revolution; in the early 60s, he also assisted the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in training Cuban exiles, and volunteered as a soldier in the Cuban liberation effort of the Bay of Pigs Invasion in April 1961 in-which he was captured. After being released, Battle Sr. moved to Union City, New Jersey were he began The Corporation empire.

This is the first time Del Toro has portrayed an influential figure of the underworld. In Escobar: Paradise Lost, Del Toro played Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar so he is surely able to get into the mindset of what it takes to be the leader of such an organization.

There’s no word yet when the film goes into production, but so far it has Hollywood buzzing.

Oscar Isaac as Hamlet


Photo By Gregg Delman

Photo By Gregg Delman

To be, or to be again. Oscar Isaac will be returning to the stage in his third Shakespeare production in a decade, on June 4, 2017, in Hamlet.

Once filming finishes with Star Wars Episode 8, in which he stars as the pilot, Poe Dameron, Isaac will have time to perform in the Off-Broadway production in Brooklyn. This new production of The Bard’s conflicted Danish prince going to be at Theater for a New Audience at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center.

The production will be helm by Sam Gold, a Tony Award-winning director of both musicals and plays. This is the second time that Isaac has worked with Gold. Way back it was in the play We Live Here.

Isaac previously appeared in Two Gentlemen of Verona (2005) and Romeo and Juliet (2007) as part of Central Park’s annual summer event, Shakespeare in the Park.

Isaac star as the titular villain in  X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016, in theaters nationwide. He is also to star in the historical drama, The Promise, with Christian Bale. The release date for that film has not been released.

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Luis Guzman on March Cover of LatinTRENDS Magazine



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From New York’s Lower East Side to all four corners of Hollywood, Luis Guzman, our March cover personality has come a long way.  Born in Cayey Puerto Rico, a graduate on City College, he began his acting career in a high school production of “Bye Bye Birdie.” Bitten by the bug, he went on to appear in street theater and local productions while working as a social worker at the Henry Street Settlement House in downtown Manhattan. Also at that time, he became active in local political causes and used street theater as a means of spreading the word on issues that affected the community. He often speaks to high school students and mentions that joining the Coast Guard, becoming a teacher, or even becoming an actor are all ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and get in a position where they can also help others.  Luis continues to be an inspiring example of how to pursue your dreams and also give back to your community. Luis has appeared in too many films and TV shows to mention in this column.  If you watch films or TV shows, you know who he is. See Guzman in his latest comedy “Keanu,” starring Key and Peele, featuring Method Man, Nia Long and Will Forte in theaters April 29. Read about this dedicated, hard working actor with a cause on Page 30.



Hollywood began to notice Eugenio Derbez after the resounding success of “Instructions Not Included,” the most popular Spanish language film in US history, which broke box office records and earned $99 million worldwide.  Eugenio thinks that the success of his recent productions is because people love to be portrayed in an empowering and successful way. He reflects, “In the past, we were always portrayed as drug dealers or thieves instead of decent and successful people regardless of whether we have an accent or speak English. In general, “I want my films to be inspirational and improve the image our people.” In March, he is set to unveil his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame amid great Hollywood luminaries. MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN opens in theaters nationwide on March 18th, with dozens of other projects continuing throughout 2016. Read full exclusive interview feature on page 24.


Fantine is an emerging artist born in Moscow to a Dominican mother and a Russian father. Her music is a cross-road fusion, which she calls soul music with a Latin twist. She has recently signed with music mogul Emilio Estefan. She studied Law and accounting, then discovered music as her true passion and is now pursuing it…this is what one can call from Russia with love. Flip to page 15 for more.

Karlee Perez, was born to an entrepreneur family in Tampa, Florida. Her ethnic backgrounds include Spanish, Cuban, Italian, Hawaiian, Irish, and Chinese. Karlee studied criminology and later worked at the state attorney’s office. She first gained fame as a professional wrestler with World Wrestling Entertainment as WWE’s Diva “Maxine”. During this period, Karlee’s passion for acting and entertainment grew. There was no turning back; her journey has taken her to star as a lead on the new Emmy nominated television series “Lucha Underground”, Produced by Robert Rodriguez and Mark Burnett, in Univision’s EL REY NETWORK.  She plays the dominating conniving seductress Known as “Catrina”. See interview with Perez on page 20.

“From Puerto Rico with laughs”, Alex Diaz has become an internet sensation and local celebrity in the Island of Enchantment with his off-the-wall comedy videos on YouTube. He started as part of the on-air talent for KQ- 105 radio in San Juan and when the internet started to grow, he began his journey into the digital world and is now makes a living form it, by making people laugh.  Alex is also in a new journey into TV, collaborating with WAPA TV and doing standup comedy here in the states, he has performed in Florida, Texas and New York, a testament of his growing followers, which are not only in Puerto Rico…goes to show the power and reach of being relevant and online. Go to page 14 to read about this talented young family man.

If you go back and take a second look at this column, you will find that these stories are connected by people following their dreams, and working hard at them, it is why they are having success. These are not stories of people just thinking, wishing they can. They are stories of people doing! At some point, they were inspired to make things happen and not just watch things happen, and that is REVOLUTIONARY…I love the word revolution because; “a revolution is not about breaking things. It’s about moving things forward.” What’s your revolution?



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Additionally in this month’s issue, LatinTRENDS shines a light on young, new talent: kizomba singer Alx Veliz; Premio Lo Nuestro Best Tropical Artist and Olympic fencer Natalie Vie.

“The art of persuasion” would you like to attract and motivate people to your idea or movement? Act like Cleopatra, the legendary queen of ancient Egypt. Cleopatra is one of the most famous female rulers in history. Altough her life ended tragically, she lived abundantly by using her intelligence, charm and wit, flip to page 39 for more.

Also see in-depth reporting on important topics in “The Rise of International Students in the U.S.,”

“Prescription Drug Ads Ban,” and “The Call of Islam Among Latinos.”

The March issue also includes entertainment guides like “Top 15 Latinos on Instagram,”

“Ten Unforgettable Latin American Honeymoon Destinations,” and “5 Restaurants Cooking Up Latin Cuisine Nationwide.”

This month’s issue also features “Digital Detox” and “Healthy Habits” guides, helping readers maintain a healthy body and mind. 

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Shakira Gets Animated!

By Jessica Torres

In theaters today, the movie Zootopia features Shakira as pop sensation Gazelle!

The long awaited for Disney movie brings the themes of diversity and togetherness to the forefront in an easy to follow and riveting plot.The plethora of trailers feature a soon to be hit song performed by Shakira herself called “Try Everything” with an upbeat rhythm and lyrics so catchy even her 3 year old son is singing it!


Traditionally a gazelle is a small slender animal but Shakira worked very closely with the film’s animators to give the singing Gazelle a more realistic figure such as hers. Known for her amazing hips Shakira divulged that she pushed for her character to have bigger hips as well! She confesses that when the producers approached her with the first visuals of Gazelle she thought that “she was too skinny, she was too fit. I told them, guys you have to put some meat on her bones!”

Living in a world where a little extra meat on your bones is beautiful it’s great to see characters in films reflect society, even if it makes the character of Gazelle seem much more appetizing to the likes of lions! When asked about her resemblance to the character she plays Shakira admits that not only do they both have hips but they are also equally opinionated and outspoken.


Shakira definitely recommends this movie to people of all ages, it’s not just for kids! Catch Zootopia at your local theater today.

Watch the official trailer here!

Colombian native Shakira is an inspiration to us all as a hard working woman balancing her career and raising 2 young children with help from her husband, “I consider myself a laborer building my career brick over brick under the sun” – Shakira


Originally published in the November 2015 issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine

By Deyanira Martinez

Celinés Toribio’s trajectory is widely recognized in New York’s Hispanic media. She is well known for her fearless and daring approach on TV, the press and radio. Today, she embarks on a new endeavor as an actress and film producer. Her first project is a movie about the life of María Montez, who, in the 1940s, was the first Dominican ever to appear on Hollywood’s silver screen. Celinés talked exclusively with LATIN TRENDS, and told us where she finds strength and motivation to improve and constantly reinvent herself.




In 1995 I was an intern at Univision 41. One afternoon, they selected me to be a guest model for the “Sábado Al Mediodia” show because one of the hosts was not there that day. The rest is history. That’s how I became one the of co hosts of that program in January 1996. From there, I reported for “Fuera de Serie,” “El Gordo y La Flaca” and “Primer Impacto.”



What interests me the most is to be able to connect and communicate with the audience. The platform does not matter to me: It can be the big screen, a newspaper column ‒ as when I wrote for El Diario La Prensa ‒ or a radio or TV microphone. The important thing is to follow my passion to communicate.



Because I like to go for the things I cannot control, to go after what I don’t know. I wantedto act, but I needed to learn to do it the right way. That’s why I went to Los Angeles.



I moved to Hollywood to learn acting and to study the world of films: its people, its projects, budgets… I visited movie sets, I went to acting and producing conferences. When I saw what that world entailed, I decided that my possibilities were very limited because I did not stand out. In Los Angeles, I wasn’t the Celines Toribio I am in New York; I was just another one in the bunch, and it was going to take me too long to become someone important. That’s why I decided to build my own platform.



I am inspired by a desire to make my dreams come true, to be somebody, to be an example to the women in my family. I am inspired by knowing that I still have a lot to do, a lot to learn.



Dominican cinema is on the right path. We are at our best right now. Thanks to the new film law, we are more prepared to make better movies, and we are getting there little by little.



In 10 years, I see myself married to my husband Giancarlo, with two healthy children, with 10 movies in my producer portfolio and representing my country as the Dominican Salma Hayek or Eva Longoria.

Oscars Controversy and Fashion

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For the second consecutive year there was a lack of diversity at the Academy Awards, and at the red carpet, it showed. With few Latinas there to spice up what might as well be a fashion pre-show, the lead-up to the award ceremony felt like a dud.

With no nominations for Hispanics in any of the acting categories and few in behind the scenes work, this meant only a small number of Latinos got an invite.

The #OscarsSoWhite boycott and whitewashed nomination list resulted in only a handful of Latin superstars showing up to grace us with their presence at the red carpet.

Most importantly, why should they, especially since they had so little to root for outside of Mexican director Alejandro G. Inarritu’s 12-time nominated film, The Revenant. A movie which had Native Americans in supporting and background roles, but mostly starred white actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy.

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However, here are the stars that did come and light up the red carpet:

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Newlywed Sofia Vergara who was a presenter at the ceremony stunned in a chic dark blue Marchesa gown.

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Argentine beauty Luciana Barroso stole Matt Damon’s heart and slayed on the red carpet.

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Native American star, Forest Goodluck didn’t have much luck in The Revenantbut he certainly knows how to rock a classic tux.

Some of the misses at the event included:

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Costa Rican actress and producer Giannina Facio‘s dress didn’t quite come together.

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Neither did t.v. personality Liz Hernandez‘s asymmetrical mesh dress.

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Historic Moments for Mexico & Chile at the Oscars

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Latino filmmakers were able to shine at the 88th Academy Awards with nine nominations. Sadly, it was during a boycott where their onscreen compadres and other people of color were locked out this year from the acting categories, resulting in the #OscarsSoWhite controversy for the second time in a row.

Glimmers of hope for diversity in this year’s Oscars race came mostly in the form of Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, whose film The Revenant, which has Native American actors, received an astounding 12 nominations. Some of the movie’s nominations included Best Sound Mixing: Frank A. Montaño, Best Sound Editing: Martin Hernández, Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Best Director: Iñárritu and the most prestigious award, Best Picture.

The other Latin films and nominees last night were Alê Abreu for O Menino e o Mundo (Boy and the World) for Animated Feature Film along with California-born Jonas Rivera for Inside Out. Representing Chile for Best Animated Short Film with Bear Story is Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala. Colombia’s El Abrazo de la Serpiente (Embrace of the Serpent) was up for Best Foreign Language film. Cartel Land was up for Best Documentary as a U.S. and Mexico co-production, but none of the Mexican producers had a nomination.

Despite The Revenant winning for only three out of the 12 nominations, the triumphs were historic and memorable. Iñárritu won his fourth Oscar and highlighted his desire for a colorblind world in his speech.

There is a line in the film that [Glass says] to his mixed-race son, ‘They don’t listen to you, they just see the color of your skin,” saidIñárritu. “So what a great opportunity to our generation to really liberate ourselves from all prejudice and, you know, this tribal thinking, and make sure for once and forever that the color of the skin becomes as irrelevant as the length of our hair.”

He is now the third director in 65 years to have back-to-back wins and the first non-white to have done so. For the third year in a row, a Mexican director has won best director. In 2014, Alfonso Cuarón won for Gravity starring Sandra Bullock. In a career spanning 16 years, all of his six films have been nominated for an Oscar.

The other major victors were The Revenant star Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor and Lubezki for Best Cinematography.

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For DiCaprio, it was a fantastic night. The actor has worked the Hollywood circuit for 25 years and his nomination for the portrayal of the frontiersman, Hugh Glass, was his sixth. Last night he was finally a winner, and he used his speech to raise awareness about climate change and the mistreatment of Native Americans.

Climate change is real, and it’s happening right now,” said DiCaprio. “It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters or the big corporations, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world…and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed.”

Lubezki, who is Mexican, is the first cinematographer of any nationality to have three consecutive wins in this category. It was his second time teaming up with Iñárritu, and he previously worked on Gravity with Cuarón.

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Rivera won Best Animated Feature for Inside Out beating out the other Latin nominee Abreu for O Menino e o Mundo (Boy and the World). Chile took home its first-ever golden statue for the animated feature film Bear Story, which was produced by Escala and written/directed by Osorio. Osorio said his grandfather inspired the 10-minute short.

Bear Story is “a very Latin American movie but with a universal feeling,” said Osorio, “I tried to tell the importance of a family being together. … The message is that we must try not to make the same mistakes of the past.”

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