Rodriguez, best known for The CW’s take on a telenovela “Jane the Virgin,” is directing, co-starring and producing the film. She’s previously helmed episodes of “Jane the Virgin,” but the upcoming, still-untitled movie marks her feature filmmaking debut.
Rodriguez will also co-write the screenplay with actor and playwright Bernardo Cubria (“The Giant Void in My Soul”).
Alongside Rodriguez, the 22-year-old Garcia is starring in the film as a fictional version of himself. Due to Garcia’s fighting schedule, the movie won’t begin shooting until summer of 2022.
Inspired by movies like “Rocky” and “Creed,” the sports drama mirrors Garcia’s own journey and follows a Mexican American boxer named Alex Guerrero (Garcia) whose struggles with mental health rival his toughest bouts in the ring. After a chance encounter with a world champion propels him into the spotlight, he must prove to himself and the world that he has what it takes to come out on top.
“I grew up in a boxing family and loved watching sports dramas with my dad,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “The philosophies of fighting — working hard, staying focused, being honest, fighting fair but to win — have stayed with me.”
Rodriguez called Garcia “not only an outstanding athlete and champion, but a true advocate of normalizing and furthering conversations on mental health.” She adds, “His bravery has inspired me, and I am honored to have his trust to direct this film and guide his first foray into the arts.”
Garcia says he hopes the movie will embolden others to prioritize mental heath.
“My goals have always been to prove myself in the ring and to also continue to share my story in hopes that it will inspire others,” he said. “Boxing will always be at the forefront of my career and I cannot wait to return to the ring very soon as a stronger and healthier KingRy.”
One Community and Endeavor Content are financing development. Molly Breeskin will oversee the project for Rodriguez’s company I Can and I Will Productions.
One Community CEO Scott Budnick expressed that Rodriguez and Cubria’s vision for the story “spoke to us immediately.”
“Ryan is an incredible fighter and remarkable human whose relentless focus and dedication has made him a superstar in the ring, but even more impressive is his desire to use his platform to help others by sharing his own struggles with anxiety and depression,” Budnick said.
Adds Endeavor Content executives Cristina Garza and Negeen Yazdi, “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Scott Budnick’s One Community and are galvanized to amplify Latinx stories and emerging Latina filmmakers with Gina Rodriguez’s vision and leadership behind the camera.”
Rodriguez and her I Can and I Will Productions are repped by WME and attorney Karl Austen. Garcia is repped by WME and advisor Guadalupe Valencia. One Community was represented in negotiations by attorney Dan Stutz.