×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Luna marches on Chavez biopic

Malkovich shingle to produce film on farm labor leader

Actor-director Diego Luna will direct “Chavez,” a portrait of farm laborers leader Cesar Chavez that is set up as a Mexico-U.S. co-production.

Producers include John Malkovich’s L.A.-based Mr. Mudd; the Mexico-based shingle Canana, founded by Gael Garcia Bernal, Luna and Pablo Cruz; and “Juno” producers Lianne Halfon and Russell Smith.

Shooting in English and budgeted at $10 million-$12 million, “Chavez” rates as Canana’s most ambitious movie ever, Cruz told Variety. It also marks the first attempt by Mexico’s top production shingle to produce out of the U.S., addressing its Latino markets in particular.

A charismatic civil-rights leader and labor activist, Chavez founded the United Farm Workers, which used strikes, pickets, boycotts, marches and Chavez’s personal fasts to progressively wrestle rights for work contracts, collective bargaining, better pay and safer conditions beginning in the 1960s. “The life of Chavez has been chased by a lot of filmmakers in history,” Cruz said.

Canana secured rights to Chavez’s story from the Chavez family, and screenwriter Keir Pearson (“Hotel Rwanda”) has delivered a screenplay. “We’re delighted to be making a film which goes directly to the heart of the Mexican and Latin community” in the U.S., Cruz said.

Cruz added that the U.S. market also allows for far larger budgets and “Chavez” is a big film. “We’re talking about a man who worked with thousands of workers, organized boycotts across the U.S.”

A driving force behind Mexico’s new wave cinema as both a producer and distributor, Canana has produced most recently omnibus feature “Revolucion” and Cannes Un Certain Regard player “Miss Bala,” sold by Fox Intl. Prods. Canana teamed with Mr. Mudd to produce Luna’s fiction feature directorial deb “Abel,” its biggest commercial hit to date.

Malkovich directed in 2008 a Spanish-language Mexico City version of Zach Helm’s play “The Good Canary,” which starred Luna. Mr. Mudd’s production credits include “The Dancer Upstairs,” “The Libertine” and “Juno.”

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Gaby Hoffmann, Albert Cheng, Alexandra Billings,

    'Transparent' Team Reflects on Series Finale Without Jeffrey Tambor

    Friday night’s premiere of the series finale of “Transparent” at L.A. Live’s Regal theater felt like a family reunion for the Pfefferman clan. Matriarch Judith Light embraced each one of her TV children (Gaby Hoffman, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass) and guest stars from previous seasons (Cherry Jones, Melora Hardin, Bradley Whitford) who also turned [...]

  • Game of Thrones Season 8

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers' Win Big at 45th Annual Saturn Awards

    As Jamie Lee Curtis picked up her first trophy ever at the 45th Annual Saturn Awards Friday night, she had a good luck charm on her arm: former manager Chuck Binder, whom she said was the reason she became an actor. “I was in college and had no thought of being an actor,” Curtis told [...]

  • Pom Klementieff poses at the launch

    Marvel Cinematic Universe Star Pom Klementieff Talks Disney-Fox Merger, X-Men Dreams

    Pom Klementieff may have entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe playing Mantis in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” followed by appearances in the last two “Avengers” movies, but that wasn’t her original superhero plan. “My dream was to be in X-Men,” she told Variety on Thursday at the Chanel dinner for its new fragrance Gabrielle [...]

  • Gwyneth Paltrow

    Gwyneth Paltrow to Be Honored at amfAR Gala Los Angeles

    Gwyneth Paltrow and art dealer Larry Gagosian are set to be honored at the 2019 amfAR Gala Los Angeles. The American Foundation for AIDS Research announced that the two honorees will receive the Award of Courage for their commitment in the fight against HIV and AIDS as well as for their other humanitarian efforts. Christina [...]

  • David Mandel Sam Richardson

    'The Handmaid's Tale,' 'Veep,' 'When They See Us' Writers Honored at Emmy Nominees Reception

    Ava DuVernay (“When They See Us”), David Mandel (“Veep”) and Bruce Miller and Kira Snyder (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) were among those honored at the Television Academy’s Emmy nominees writers reception on Tuesday night in North Hollywood. There, ceremony hosts, “Escape at Dannemora” star Eric Lange and “Veep’s” Sam Richardson, kept the show moving by tossing in [...]

  • Jon Stewart and Bruce Springsteen

    Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart Return for 13th Annual Stand Up for Heroes

    Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart, John Oliver and Hasan Minhaj will again Stand Up for Heroes. Comedian Ronny Chieng will join the multi-talented group on stage for a night of music and comedy in honor of military veterans and their families at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 4. The 13th annual event [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content