New Line preps Latino pix

Lopez may topline thriller 'Bordertown'

Bolstering its commitment to Latino-themed films, New Line has put into active development two projects with Gregory Nava’s El Norte Prods.: “Bordertown,” which Nava is writing, and “New Mexico,” with Mark and Mike Polish (“Twin Falls, Idaho”) attached to write.

Nava is in talks with Jennifer Lopez, who he directed in “Selena,” to star in “Bordertown.” Nava also hopes to direct “New Mexico.”

El Norte has a first-look deal with New Line and the projects are being developed through the shingle’s discretionary fund.

“When we announced our partnership with New Line a little more than a year ago we said that we wanted to develop a slate of comedies and dramas that target the Latino audience, but have universal appeal,” said Nava. “We are well under way with our goal and are very encouraged by the way the studio is responding to our ideas.”

“Bordertown” is a thriller in which a female journalist investigates a string of murders near the American-owned factories on the Juarez/El Paso border. As she discovers hundreds of victims, she gains the trust of local factory workers but falls into danger.

“New Mexico” is a musically driven true story about a family of renowned guitar makers in East Los Angeles; when the father dies, each son leaves the business to pursue his own dream. Ultimately, the young men discover that they actually had everything they ever wanted when they were making guitars.

Both projects will be overseen by Nava and his producing partner, Susana Zepeda, along with New Line execs Cindy Guidry, Stephanie Striegel and Bryan Hickel.

In addition to an entire slate of features Nava is developing for New Line, the writer/director/producer is developing a family drama for CBS Television entitled “American Family.” The project, which will star Edward James Olmos and Esai Morales, revolves around a multi-generational Latino family living in LA.

Nava was nominated in 1984 for an Academy Award for his original screenplay “El Norte.” His writing and directing credits include “Mi Familia/My Family” starring Olmos, Lopez, Jimmy Smits, Constance Marie and Jacob Vargas; “Selena”; and “Why Do Fools Fall in Love.”

Zepeda has worked with Touchstone Pictures in development, with producer Edward S. Feldman (“The Truman Show”), and as a journalist.

New Line’s Smits-starrer, “Price of Glory,” opens nationwide today.

Nava is repped by ICM’s Jeff Berg and Martha Luttrell. The Polish brothers are repped by Endeavor.

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