The Walt Disney Company Latin America team took to the stage at the 2nd Iberseries & Platino Industria event in Madrid to unveil trailers or clips of their upcoming Star+ slate that includes “Nada,” with Robert de Niro playing a key role, “Ringo, el Campeon del Pueblo,” “Pancho Villa, El Centauro del Norte” and “How to Be a Carioca,” directed by “Rio” and “Ferdinand the Bull” director Carlos Saldanha.

These were just a few of the upcoming original programs destined for the company’s fledgling Latin American streaming platform Star+, which features live sports, general and adult entertainment, particularly locally-produced content.  

The Walt Disney Company Latin America was among the first of the studios to produce local content in the region, making Latino versions of “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy” to start, said Leonardo Aranguibel, VP, head of production operations & strategy, The Walt Disney Company Latin America. It’s come a long way since 2007. “There were few of us then, now everyone is doing it,” he pointed out.

On July 26, the company began streaming one of its more ambitious shows, “Santa Evita” on Star+ Latin America, Hulu in the U.S. and Disney’s Star label in the rest of the world. The “Pancho Villa” series, shot mostly in Jalisco, Mexico, features live battle scenes and extraordinary production values, as does “Ringo,” filmed in Argentina – clearly inspired by such boxing classics as “Rocky” and “Raging Bull” – about Argentine heavyweight boxing champion Oscar “Ringo” Bonavena.

Finding the right actor to play Ringo was a great challenge, involving casting the net wide and finding an unknown “who looked more like Ringo than Ringo himself,” quipped Fernando Barbosa,  general manager, media acquisition, distribution & productions, The Walt Disney Company Latin America.

“We take into account two key factors in making a show, the script, which can take eight to 10 months to get right and once there is a good script, director, etc. we search for the right lead, which, as Fernando described, finding the actor to play Ringo wasn’t easy,” added Mariana Pérez, VP, head of development and production, The Walt Disney Company Latin America:

Separately, the company is producing “C.H.U.E.C.O.” , its first original Latino sitcom for its sister streaming platform, Disney+, starring Argentina’s wildly popular comedian, Dario Barrasi, and Mexican comedian Consuelo Duval. 

C.h.u.e.c.o. Courtesy of The Walt Disney Company, Latin America

“The sitcom genre is more commonly seen in linear channels; this is the first time we have dared to explore this genre for a streaming platform,” Aranguibel told Variety in a post-presentation interview.

The sitcom, produced by Buenos Aires-based Non Stop, revolves around a father (Barrasi) who is in dire financial straits until a rich uncle passes and bequeaths his fortune to him under one condition: He must take care of his chimp. Manipulated by a combination of puppetry, animatronics and direct handling, the chimp proves to be quite a handful for the patriarch and his family.

On Oct. 19, the company drops its bio-series “O Rei da TV,” a Gullane production about Silvio Santos, the Brazilian entrepreneur, media tycoon and television host.

“It’s a big bet for our platform in Brazil,” said Barbosa who added that the show would be streamed worldwide.

“We have big titles from Disney’s brands such as Pixar, Marvel, Walt Disney Pictures on Disney+ but we also use that space to highlight our original productions, some of which are streamed worldwide. For example, all our shows made in Mexico go to Disney+ U.S. because of the large Hispanic population in the U.S.,” Barbosa added.

The 2nd Iberseries & Platino Industria ran from Sept. 27-30.

Pancho Villa. El Centauro del Norte Credit: Eduardo Cisneros/ The Walt Disney Company, Latin America