Two decades after Gregory Nava stamped Jennifer Lopez’s ticket to stardom with the title role in his Selena biopic, the two are reuniting for an NBC limited series about the history of California from Lopez’ Nuyorican Productions and Sony Pictures TV.
The project, titled California, stems from an idea Lopez’s producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas initially pitched to Nava and his long-time collaborator Barbara Martinez-Jitner about tracking a fictional Latino family and their journey over 200 years in California from Spanish, to Mexican, to American rule.
Nava and Martinez-Jitner, both California natives who developed the Los Angeles-set PBS drama American Family together, went on to create a sprawling story interweaving historical characters and events, which follows a family across eight generations from the days of the Californio ranchos and missions right up to the present. Nava and Martinez-Jitner will write the event series, now in development, with Nava set to direct.
Nuyorican’s Lopez and Goldsmith-Thomas executive produce alongside Nava & Martinez-Jitner and Benny Medina. Nuyorican’s Priscilla Porianda will co-produce. Lopez and Goldsmith-Thomas have ramped up Nuyorican’s TV efforts in the past couple of years with two drama series on the air, The Fosters on ABC Family and the upcoming Shades of Blue starring Lopez on NBC.
Nava first cast Lopez in his 1995 film My Family, leading to her breakthrough starring role in his 1997 feature Selena. The two reunited for Nava’s 2006 film Bordertown, toplined by Lopez. They have remained close, with Nava helping unveil Lopez’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013.