EXCLUSIVE: In what is expected to be a hot TV package, STXtv is bringing Once Upon a Time in Aztlan, a new TV series anchored by George Lopez, famed photographer Estevan Oriol and iconic Los Angeles-based artist Mister Cartoon aka Mark Machado to the market. Michael Connolly, under his Mad Hatter Entertainment banner, brought the elements together. Lopez is in final talks to star and executive produce through his Travieso Productions, and Javier Rodriguez will pen the pilot. Oriol and Cartoon also will exec produce.
“I’m thrilled to be teaming up with Cartoon, Estevan, Jada and Michael for this series and developing a show with STXtv,” Lopez said. “Cartoon and Estevan are the DaVincis of our community; they have been the street chroniclers of our uniquely Chicano story … our American story. I’m looking forward to working with them and the rest of the team to expand their canvas to capture the diverse stories and people that make our culture and community so amazing, colorful and vibrant.”
This authentic L.A.-based series examines a family coming to terms with the falsehoods of the American dream and their ability to defy expectations.
“I want to create a vision of Los Angeles inspired by my tattoos and murals that enriches and showcases the culture, opening it up to new audiences,” Cartoon said. “Putting together the dream team of Latino street culture and a collection of creative minds headed up by George Lopez, who is born and raised in L.A. and is an icon of our community. George’s experience and sense of humor acts as a foundation for this team.”
The pilot will be directed by Ricardo de Montreuil, who helmed Eva Longoria and Demián Bichir in the Blumhouse/Imagine East L.A.-set drama, Lowriders. During that production, he worked closely with Oriol and Cartoon, who also were involved in the production. Oriol and Cartoon’s longtime collaborators Mark Suroff and Marco Valadez, who produced LA Originals, also will serve as executive producers with Connolly.
“I’m Looking forward to developing this with Cartoon, George, Jada and Michael,” said Oriol. “STXtv truly gets what it takes to develop a real show that can only be made in LA. This is the dream team. Period. It doesn’t get more authentic than this and I’m proud and privileged to be invited on this ride.”
Lopez has done some TV in recent years including a talk show that ran from 2009-11, but this would mark his first major TV show since hit comedy George Lopez ended in 2007. While that show ran on ABC, STXtv will zero in on buyers in the cable and streaming markets.
Cartoon is L.A.’s legendary tattoo artist, designer and cultural icon whose stylish and influential global work has been featured on countless celebrities including Kobe Bryant, Eminem, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Beyoncé, Lewis Hamilton, Snoop Dogg and many others. Cartoon also designed the logos for Cypress Hill and Eminem’s Shady Records, and his résumé includes cutting-edge designs for Nike, the LA Clippers and T-Mobile and others.
Oriol is an internationally celebrated photographer, director and urban lifestyle entrepreneur. Beginning as a tour manager for Cypress Hill and House of Pain, he developed a passion for photography as he documented life on the road to become hip-hop’s best-known chronicler; his work has been showcased in bestselling books, select galleries, and institutions, including the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives, Mesa Contemporary Art Center, Petersen Automotive Museum, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’ and New York’s Art in the Streets exhibit. He has photographed Eminem, Kim Kardashian, Cypress Hill, Dennis Hopper, Blink-182, Forest Whitaker, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent, and Danny Trejo, among many others. He most recently executive produced the film Lowriders and directed the hit Netflix documentary L.A. Originals.
The L.A. Originals was critically acclaimed and extremely successful, introducing new fans to the world to Oriol and Cartoon.
Connolly is an executive producer on the upcoming Amazon anthology horror series Them with Lena Waithe. He executive produced Hemlock Grove for Netflix and The Son for AMC. On the feature side, Connolly co-produces the How to Train Your Dragon franchise. The deal also reunites Lopez with Jada Miranda, who runs scripted series at STXtv and oversaw the hit series The George Lopez Show while a programmer at ABC Network.
“Javier’s script has brilliantly brought to life these characters and this place that is all at once raw, hopeful, and entertaining,” said Connolly.
Rodríguez who has sold pitches to Fox, WBTV, 20th TV with America Ferrera, and Sony Pictures TV.