EXCLUSIVE: Showtime has given a pilot commitment to an untitled drama starring and executive produced by Golden Globe Award winner Gael García Bernal (Mozart In the Jungle) and created by Jonás Cuarón (Gravity).
Lie To Me creator Sam Baum will also serve as an executive producer, along with journalist and DACA recipient, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, whose upcoming book Undocumented America inspired the series. Brad Weston’s Makeready and Showtime will serve as studio co-production partners.
The as-of-yet untitled project centers on a Mexican-American family man living undocumented in the United States. When his wife is detained by ICE, desperate and resourceful undocumented immigrant Marco (Bernal) assumes the identity of an immigration officer to rescue her. The project is an emotional thriller about a man enmeshed in a dangerous double life; torn between his desire to help in any way possible and his family.
Weston, Pam Abdy, and Scott Nemes will serve as executive producers for Makeready.
Mexican-born Cuarón and Bernal previously collaborated on the 2015 feature thriller Desierto, which Cuarón wrote and directed and Bernal starred in as a Mexican migrant worker trying to cross the U.S. border illegally in search of a better life. Bernal also is attached to star in Cuarón’s planned Zorro reimagining Z.
This marks a return to U.S. TV series for Bernal following his Golden Globe-winning turn in Amazon’s Mozart In the Jungle. In features, Bernal, who burst into the international scene with the 2007 Babel, recently starred in the animated blockbuster hit Coco.
Makeready has been developing the series since May 2017, when it acquired the rights to Undocumented America following Cornejo Villavicencio’s Election Day essay in The New York Times on undocumented Americans and voting. Cornejo Villavicencio is an immigrant from Ecuador and a DREAMer who brings her personal experience as one of the first undocumented students admitted to Harvard’s undergraduate and Yale’s Ph.D. programs.
Cornejo Villavicencio is a fellowship writer for the Emerson Collective, Laurene Powell Jobs’ organization that centers its work on education, immigration reform, the environment, health, and other social justice initiatives and is dedicated to removing barriers to opportunity so people can live to their full potential. Her book, Undocumented America, will be published June 2019 by Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
Cuarón is probably best known for co-writing the Academy Award-winning film Gravity with his father Alfonso Cuarón, for which the pair received a BAFTA nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
In the 14 months since Weston launched Makeready as an independent studio and financier for film, television and branded content, the company has sold eight shows, including sci-fi drama series Old City Blues at Hulu, starring Kerry Washington, which has opened a mini-room with a four-script order.
Bernal is repped by WME, The Lede Company, and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller. Cuarón is repped by UTA and Holmes Weinberg, PC. Cornejo Villavicencio is repped by Foundry Literary + Media.