EXCLUSIVE: An authorized biopic about the life of Jenni Rivera has been greenlit at ViX with Annie Gonzalez (Flamin’ Hot, Gentefied) set to star and executive produce. Filming of Jenni (wt) is underway in Bogota, Colombia, and will be completed in Los Angeles.
The project is set to premiere exclusively via ViX and in select movie theaters in the United States and Mexico later this year.
Jenni (wt) will follow Rivera’s journey from her humble beginnings in Long Beach, California, to her meteoric rise to the top of the charts, and her final days before her tragic and unexpected death. The film will also share a look at the struggles she endured in her personal life and how she became the artist fans all know and love today, and how she persevered and found strength from within.
The streamer notes, Jenni is a story of resilience and bravery that shows the building blocks of what made Jenni Rivera—also known affectionately as “La Diva De La Banda”— who she was and the remarkable legacy she left behind.
“My siblings and I are very excited about this biopic and we know our mother’s story will impact generations to come,” Jacqie Rivera, daughter of Jenni Rivera and CEO of Jenni Rivera Enterprises said in a statement. “It has been an uphill battle, but we are happy to see one of our mom’s dreams come to fruition. Although we still haven’t gotten used to seeing someone portray our mother, we have faith Annie will do a great job.”
As a multiple award-winning artist—including multiple Billboard Music Awards, 22 Billboard Latin Music Awards, 18 Lo Nuestro Awards, and four Latin Grammy nominations— Rivera is not only known as one of the best-selling Regional Mexican artists of all time but also for her role in disrupting cultural precedent by crossing into Banda, a male-dominated music genre and eventually into pop music, where her presence posthumously continues to shine. Rivera died in a plane crash in 2012.
“I am beyond honored to portray the essence of this phenomenal survivor that is Jenni Rivera who despite adversity at every turn was never a victim and showed her daughters, her family, and her audience what grace, forgiveness, and true authenticity is— liberating us all,” Gonzalez shared. “Jenni’s messages of feminism, civil rights, and nonconformity within her music were well before her time and made space for all of us to feel empowered. With the support of the Rivera family, I cannot wait to help tell the beautiful story and the impactful legacy of what Jenni means to me personally and what it will mean to women and Latinas everywhere.”
Manuel Uriza (Narcos: Mexico) will star opposite Gonzalez in the role of Pedro Rivera, Jenni’s father, and Regional Mexican entrepreneur. The cast also includes Cinthya Carmona (East Los High) as Jenni Rivera’s eldest daughter, Chiquis Rivera, Jero Medina (Narcos: Mexico) and Miguel Angel Garcia (The Long Game) who will dually portray Trino Marín, Rivera’s first husband and father of her three eldest children at later and earlier stages in his life, respectively.
Additionally, Gabriela Reynoso (Si Nos Dejan) will be portraying Jenni’s mother Rosa Saavedra, J.R. Villarreal (Ultra Violet) will play Juan “Cinco” Lopez, Jenni’s late second husband, and newcomer Tatiana Juarez will portray Rivera during her early years.
“ViX is thrilled to be the official home and distributor of this powerful story about Jenni Rivera. Our commitment to this project is paramount and, along with a fantastic production team and director, we know we will have a film that will captivate our audiences,” stated Augusto Rovegno, Senior Vice President of Content ViX at TelevisaUnivision.
Gigi Saul Guerrero (Culture Shock) directs from a screenplay by Shane McKenzie (Bingo Hell). Javier Chapa and Phillip Braun of Mucho Mas Media will produce with Donald De Line of De Line Pictures. Jenni Rivera Enterprises is executive producing the film alongside Annie Gonzalez, Simon Wise, Bruce Barshop, Vincent Cordero, and Kristopher Wynne.
Gonzalez is gearing up to promote Flamin’ Hot, the Eva Longoria-directed Searchlight Pictures film about how Frito Lay janitor Ricardo Montañez climbs the ranks at work and creates the spicy Cheeto snack. Flamin’ Hot premieres at SXSW on March 11 followed by a wide release via Hulu in June. The Chicana actress portrays the character of Judy, Montañez’s wife, opposite Jesse Garcia.
She also recently starred in Illegally Brown alongside Jessica Marie Garcia from filmmaker, Gabby Revilla Lugo, which is currently playing on the film festival circuit. Additionally, Gonzalez can next be seen in the upcoming independent thriller Body Language and an untitled Ethan Coen project.
Gonzalez is best known for her portrayal of Lidia Solis in the Netflix comedy series Gentefied and her guest roles in Apple’s Mr. Corman, Starz’s Vida, NBC’s Good Girls, Showtime’s Shameless, and FX’s American Horror Story, among other credits.
She is repped by Innovative Artists, Silver Lining Entertainment, and law firm Granderson Des Rochers.
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