Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Philip Anthony-Rodriguez The Hot DA in "The Secret Life of the American Teenager"

TeleVISION by Julio Martinez

This week’s TeleVISION column spotlights Brooklyn-born Nuyorican actor Philip Anthony-Rodriguez, who is looking forward to expanded airtime with his recurring role as Ruben Enriquez when The Secret Life of the American Teenager returns June 7 for its third season on the ABC Family Channel. “So far, the good news for me is they are using me a lot more.”

Anthony-Rodriguez’s character was introduced last season when series regular bad girl, Adrian Lee (Francia Raisa), set out to find her biological father and discovers he’s a hot shot Assistant District Attorney. “I’m going to be on a whole lot more this season,” he affirms. “They are really expanding Ruben Enriquez’s story line, along with the character of his daughter Adrian, played by Francia. The upcoming season is going to be really good with some surprising plot twists and some jaw dropping moments. Next week, we shoot episode nine of the season and so far, I’ve been in every episode but one.”

When Secret Life, which focused on the life and times of pregnant teen Amy Juergens (played by Shailine Woodley), made its debut in July 2008, most of the mainstream press doubted it would last one season let alone reach a third. But despite the negative reviews from the TV critics, the pilot episode broke the record for the highest rated debut on ABC Family, later eclipsed by the second season premiere which aired June 22, 2009, garnering 2.82 million viewers.

“This show has found its audience,” says Anthony-Rodriguez. “Its popularity among teens has given its creator, Brenda Hampton, the freedom to venture into a wide variety of topics and situations. I’m glad to be part of its expansion.”

One might say Anthony-Rodriguez, who is the son of Puerto Rico-born parents, has had an ever-expanding career since he made his Broadway debut, portraying Mexican American rock idol, Richie Valens, in the musical, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. “I was twenty and I ran the gamut with that show, at the Schubert Theatre in New York, the first national tour and even in London in the West End. That was two-and-a-half years of my life.”

Since then, he has enjoyed an active stage career, including the Tony Award-Winning Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' Not About Nightingales, the musical, 4 Guys Named Jose and Una Mujer Named Maria, a revival of Man of La Mancha, and a nomination for a Kevin Kline Award in the Best Actor Category for his portrayal of Darren, a star baseball player who decides to reveal that he’s gay, in Take Me Out, at St. Louis Repertory Theatre.

Anthony-Rodriguez’s television career has been just as varied, ranging from guest star appearances on Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana to FOX’s cutting edge, 24, highlighted by his series regular stint as NSA agent, Kyle Duarte, on the UPN sci-fi drama, Jake 2.0. His big screen credits include the starring role in the independent film, Ode, based on the novel, Ode to Lata, and co-starring in the feature action/thriller, Undercurrent.

“I am delighted to be this busy,” he says. “During the hiatus of Secret Life, I’ve guest starred on CSI New York and Numbers, as well what I call my bread-and-butter work, voiceovers for CD ROM video games like X Box and PlayStation 3 and others. I’ve done work in the past for Sesame Street in Spanish and a number of voiceover campaigns. I’ve been very blessed.”

The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which also co-stars  Molly Ringwald, premieres June 7 (9pm) on the ABC Family Channel.

LATIN HEAT welcomes breaking news, especially if you have landed a role on the little screen. Send submissions to and interview requests to

Friday, May 7, 2010

Almodovar and Banderas Re-Team For "Piel"

Pedro Almodovar and Antonio Banderas are teaming up again for the Spanish director's new film La Piel Que Habito twenty-one years after their last collaboration (Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!). They have also worked together on Labyrinth of Passion (1982), Matador (1986), Law of Desire (1987), and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988).

According to Variety, Piel will loosely adapt Thierry Jonquet's 1995 novel "Mygale". Almodovar describes it as "a horror story without screams or shocks." Since announcing Piel in 2002, the film has now gone through nine re-writes which can no longer accommodate for such a big star as Penelope Cruz, which was Almodovar's original choice for one of the characters in the film.

"The film will be a terror film, without screams or scares," Almodovar told the Spanish daily El Pais. "It's difficult to define and although it comes close to the terror genre -- something that appeals to me that I've never done -- I won't respect any of its rules. It's the harshest film I've ever written and Banderas' character is brutal." It centers around a plastic surgeon who avenges the brutal rape of his daughter.

La Piel Que Habito will shoot this summer over the course of ten weeks. 

Film News Update by Luis Reyes

Four Independent Films Showcase Latino Talent 

Mother and Child is a beautiful and delicate woman’s film from the accomplished director/ writer Rodrigo Garcia that opens in theatres on Friday May 7th. It brings together the various stories revolving around a teenage mother who is forced to give up her daughter for adoption and what happens 37 years later when that child grows up. It is a film of insight, feelings and strong human emotions and the cycle of life. Annette Benning is sure to be nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actress for her nuanced and raw portrayal of Karen and Jimmy Smits give a performance in so few words and emotions as Paco, a man who awakens deep emotions in Karen, that should earn him an Oscar nomination for Best supporting actor. The melodramatic film presents an ethnic cross-section of fully realized character that offers a contemporary realistic portrayal of America today that is rarely seen on screen. The ensemble all star cast also includes Naomi Watts, Samuel L. Jackson, Elpidia Carrillo (in a strong supporting role) young child actress Simone Lopez and Elizabeth Pena. The beautiful and artful cinematography is from Xavier Perez Grobet. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu serves as one of the producers.

Princess Kaiulani opening on May 14th is the inspiring true story of the Hawaiian princess who was forced to flee her homeland for Victorian England as the kingdom she was to inherit faced civil unrest. Actress Q’orianka Kilcher secured the title role of Princess Kaiulani after the production auditioned over 60 candidates in Los Angeles for the adult Kaiulani role. Kilcher had previously portrayed Pocahontas in the The New World, opposite Colin Farrell. Kilcher’s origins are part Huachipaeri and Quechua Indian on her father’s Peruvian side and she was born in Germany to a Swiss mother but lived in Hawaii until she was 10 years old. Kilcher recently said she believes she was cast as Kaiulani as much for her activism as her acting. Kilcher stars in Princess Kaiulani alongside Barry Pepper (Flags of Our Fathers, The Green Mile, Saving Private Ryan), Will Patton (A Mighty Heart, Armageddon) and Shaun Evans (Being Julia, Cashback).

There are four independent modest budget films in theatres that are showcasing Latino talent in front of and behind the camera including Petter Bratt's La Mission, Andy Garcia's City Island, the aforementioned Mother and Child and Princess Kaiulani. Celebrate these artists filmic accomplishments by going to see their films. The commercial and artistic success of these films will allow for more Latino talent and stories to flourish on the screens.