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Production begins on new film with Latin theme

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 2, 2006

Wanda de Jesus  Rick Gonzalez

Actors Wanda de Jesus and Rick Gonzalez

New York, New York – New Deal Entertainment announced recently that principal photography will begin for the film “Illegal Tender,” written and directed by Franc Reyes (Empire) and the latest production by Oscar-nominated John Singleton.  The expected release for the movie, starring Rick Gonzalez and Wanda de Jesus, is Spring 2007.

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.

Franc Reyes

Franc Reyes, writer and director, “Illegal Tender” 

“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,” said Franc Reyes. “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.”

“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,” John Singleton. “Even though Latinos drive the national box office every weekend, up to 18 percent 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.”

Production was scheduled to begin in late May 2006 in New York City and continue through June 2006 in Puerto Rico. John Singleton, producer of “Shaft” and “Hustle & Flow,” and Franc Reyes, writer and director of “Empire,” plan to bring to the screen “an exciting and action-packed story of a mother and her son.”