EXCLUSIVE: Netflix has rounded out its cast for Gentefied, its 10-episode half-hour Latinx dramedy, from Gente-fied: The Digital Series creators Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez, showrunner Monica Macer, America Ferrera, Teri Weinberg, Macro and Aaliyah Williams (Gente-fied: The Digital Series). Julissa Calderon (WTF Baron Davis, Revenge), Annie Gonzalez (Shameless, Good Girls Revolt), Laura Patalano (Alex, Inc., Vida), Felipe Esparza (They’re Not Gonna Laugh At You, Translate This), Rafael Sigler (Ugly Betty, Cars), Jaime Alvarez (Grey’s Anatomy Shameless), Bianca Melgar, Michelle Ortiz, and Alejandro Patiño are set for recurring roles. They join previously announced cast members Karrie Martin, JJ Soria, Carlos Santos and Joaquín Cosio.
Sigler, Alvarez and Patalano all appeared in Gente-fied: The Digital Series.
Written by Lemus and Chávez, Gentefied is adapted from the web series which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Described as a badass bilingual series about family, community, brown love, and the displacement that disrupts it all, Gentefied is about three Mexican-American cousins (Martin, Soria, Santos) who struggle to chase the American Dream, even while that same dream threatens the things they hold most dear: their neighborhood, their immigrant grandfather (Cosio), and the family taco shop. Set in a rapidly changing Los Angeles, the Spanglish dramedy will navigate important themes like identity, class, and balancing insta-fame with translating memes for their parents. But most importantly, Gentefied will settle once and for all how to pronounce Latinx.
Calderon plays Yessika Flores, 23 a strong-willed, educated, witty, Afro-Latina, heart-driven activist with a hoop earring addiction to match. And let’s face it, an addiction to the girl she loves most, Ana. A daughter of Dominican immigrants, Yessika is ride-or-die when it comes to the community she moved into when she was just a girl. The gente of Boyle Heights are her family. She’s a badass, natural leader who isn’t afraid to use her voice.
Gonzalez portrays Lidia Solis, 27, sincere, but no-nonsense, Type-A, college professor. Erik’s high school sweetheart and the girl who “got out of the hood.” She’s smart as hell and a Stanford grad, where she got not one, but two degrees. She moved back to make a difference. She’s an adjunct professor at East Los Angeles College (ELAC) where she’s absolutely devoted to her students. Which means she’s a brown woman always putting everyone else first.
Patalano is Beatriz, 46, Ana’s tough, stubborn, sarcastic, single mother. She’s the tía everyone loves, but also the mom that ain’t afraid to throw a chancla at your head if you misbehave. She works at a sewing factory in the fashion district. Beatriz loves her girls, but struggles to keep her cool when she sacrifices so much to give her girls a roof over their heads.
Alvarez will play Javier Fernandez, 42, a passionate, hotheaded, foul-mouthed mariachi. He loves what he does, but some white folks and hipsters don’t see him as an “artist,” even though his mariachi artistry is what he holds most dear.
Esparza is Crazy Dave,36. Wise-cracking Cheech look-a-like who is “high on life.” Erik’s best friend, Crazy Dave often has very deep thoughts that bring the people he loves insight they weren’t asking for. He may seem like he doesn’t have his life together, but he’s more zen than most of the Morales family.
Sigler plays Pancho Solis, 65. Wise-cracking, old-fashioned compadre. The owner of Pancho’s bar. He’s the bartender/paisa therapist for all the hombres that come to drink at the bar. Lidia’s father. He tries his best to accept that his daughter is an independent woman, but he can’t understand how she could possibly have a baby without the father.
Melgar is Nayeli Morales, 10, witty, intelligent, class-clown, and outgoing. Nayeli is Ana’s (Karrie Martin) little sister and Beatriz’s daughter. She’s always behind-the-scenes listening in on the crazy that is her mom’s and sister’s relationship. She tries her best to live a normal life, but it’s hard not to feel stressed out when all you hear at home is how they may not be able to make ends meet.
Ortiz is Connie, 22, cynical, fashionable, confident girl with a huge smile. Connie is one of Yessika and Ana’s homegirls. She’s always looking fly and wears “winged eyeliner that could cut a bitch.”
The web series’ creator-writer Lemus and co-writer Chávez will write and co-exec produce the 10-episode series, with Lemus also directing. Showrunner Monica Macer (Queen Sugar, Nashville) executive produces with Charles D. King (Mudbound) and Kim Roth (Inside Man) of Macro, Ferrera (Superstore) of Take Fountain, Weinberg (Ugly Betty) of Yellow Brick Road and Williams.
Calderon is repped by Carlos E. Hernandez of IKIGAI Management. Gonzalez is repped by Julie Smith at Smith/Hervey Grimes Talent Agency. Patalano is repped by Daniel Rojo Management. Alvarez is repped by BBA Talent and Williams Management Entertainment Studio. Esparza is repped by ICM Partners. Sigler is repped by TOR Entertainment and Artistic Talent. Melgar is repped by Clear Talent Agency and Bridges Entertainment. Ortiz is repped by Innovative Artists and Brillstein Entertainment. Patino is repped by JFA.