Will the hills be alive with the sound of J.Lo’s music? According to the Hollywood Reporter, Puerto Rican singer/actress/producer Jennifer Lopez has inked a deal with Skydance and Concord to develop original films and TV shows based on Concord’s catalog of musicals, including the works of Rodgers & Hammerstein. The influential Broadway duo produced prolific musicals such as The King and I! and The Sound of Music, and Concord’s vast catalog includes A Chorus Line, The Wizard of Oz and Chicago.
Although the recent news cycle has mostly focused on Lopez’s rekindled relationship with Ben Affleck (Bennifer 2.0 v.2), her production team, Nuyorican Productions, also signed a multi-year first look deal with Netflix to produce films, TV shows, scripted and unscripted content that will emphasize on projects that support diverse female actors, writers and filmmakers.
Lopez expressed in separate statements that she’s excited about these partnerships. “We’re so excited to begin our association with Skydance and Concord in reinterpreting some of the most classic musicals and bringing them to life in new ways for a new generation,” she said in a statement to Hollywood Reporter.
The Asian American Performers Action Coalition’s visibility report showed that Broadway continues to be a white-dominated space as almost every gatekeeper and
decision-maker in the New York City theatre industry was white during the 2018–2019 season, the last complete season before the COVID-19 pandemic. Latinx representation saw a decrease from 6.1 percent to 4.8 percent.
One would hope there would be a shift with the push to reclaim BIPOC stories this past year, but the recent Hollywood diversity report revealed that Latinos were among the most underrepresented groups in all job categories related to their presence in the country. There was progress with lead roles and cast diversity (they were leveled proportionally to the country’s population), but there is still work to be done with women and people of color behind the camera as writers and directors.
Lopez has said her piece about the lack of diversity in interviews, but most of Nuyorican Productions’s filmography (that includes Hustlers and the upcoming Shotgun Wedding) features Lopez in a leading role. This deal with Concord and Skydance does provide her the option to star in at least one of their projects, but hopefully Lopez will use her platform to not only provide more steps towards inclusion and diversity, but also more seats at the table.
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