New Deal Entertainment announced that principal photography will begin for the film Illegal Tender written and directed by Franc. Reyes (Empire) and the latest production by John Singleton, starring Rick Gonzalez and Wanda de Jesus.
The film tells the story of Latino college student Wilson Jr. (Rick Gonzalez) and his courageous mother Millie De Leon (Wanda de Jesus) fleeing from the thugs that killed his father (Manny Perez). After years of uncertainty about the true meaning behind their life on the run, Wilson Jr. and his love, Ana, (Dania Ramirez) find themselves in life-threatening danger. Wilson Jr. must return to Puerto Rico to unveil the dark secrets from his family's past.
The production will begin May 26th in New York City and continue through June 2006 with scenes being shot in Puerto Rico.
For the first time, Oscar-nominated director John Singleton, producer of Shaft and Hustle & Flow partners with Franc. Reyes, writer and director of Empire to bring to the screen an exciting and action-packed story of a mother and her son.
Franc. Reyes: "It's a thrill having John Singleton produce this film for me. We talked for a couple of years about working together which happens all the time in this business without it meaning much. But John is a man of his word. More importantly, he understood my desire not to just make movies for Latinos but to make movies with Latinos, to tell stories about Latinos in this country. Latin American films are finally having their day, but truly commercial American Latino films have been few and far between. I think that's changing now. I feel fortunate to be a part of it."
John Singleton: "It's exciting to begin the production of Illegal Tender with talented writer and director Franc. Reyes. We have both been anticipating this for several years and it's thrilling to see it come to fruition. Even though Latinos drive the national box office every weekend (up to 18% of the market by some estimates), no studio is actively making cool commercial films for this huge audience. We have a great director telling a great story with a hot cast, plus plenty of cars, romance, adventure, action and music. I promise you: Illegal Tender will bring the hotness, a full entertainment experience that Latinos and all young people will love."
The expected release is set for Spring 2007.