Positive news for Latinos in Hollywood following on the heels of yesterday's release of a study by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism which points to Latinos as among the least represented speaking roles in feature films and television, even though they make up about 17.4% of the U.S. population. According to the report, out of more than 11,000 speaking characters surveyed only 5.8 percent were Hispanic or Latino.
Killing The Street Children, an authentic 30 million dollar Latino Spy Thriller, is in the works and has been long before the lack of diversity in Hollywood conversations reignited after the 2016 Oscar nominations were announced and the controversial news broke that white British actor Charlie Hunnam was cast as the Mexican-American real life drug lord Edgar Valdez Villarreal in American Druglord. Unlike many high-profile mainstream feature films that cast non-Latinos in Latino roles, efforts have begun to secure an A-List Latino actor for the stereotype-shattering role of a modern day Latino action hero.
SAG-nominated actor Enrique Castillo (Weeds, Blood In Blood Out) (pictured) is the first actor to be cast as one of the many Latino leads the film will feature.
Based on true events and revealing once classified information for the first time, Killing The Street Children follows the plight of a former intelligence agent working for a highly secretive division of a U.S. government agency, Patrick Juarez, who is lured out of retirement and back into the shadowy and dangerous world of espionage. Family, drug trafficking, corruption and bi-national government relations are among the issues touched upon – all while chronicling the real life events of the infamous massacre of street children, despicably referred to by local shop owners as Vermin, in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil during the 1990's.
"There is a Latino hero story deficiency in films," said Castillo who helped edit the screenplay that was written by Patrick O'Connor (The Princess Di Conspiracy). "We are confident Killing The Street Children will become the first of many films to change that. The best part is the story is based on a real life Latino hero."
This gripping thriller written by O'Connor was drawn from his real-life experience as the former owner/operator of an international intelligence security company, based out of Washington, D.C., where he was closely connected to the people and events portrayed in the film.
"Patrick Juarez and I worked together when I was running my intel/security company in D.C. and he was working for a highly classified government agency," said O'Connor. "In real life, Juarez was quite a formidable man with many layers, so when he died, I knew I wanted to honor him and his efforts by basing this semi-fictional lead character on him. Equally important, for myself, for everyone, I wanted to introduce him as an authentic modern Latino hero who will be portrayed by a leading Latino actor."
With his first-hand knowledge of the material, O'Connor's masterfully-honed Killing The Street Children will undoubtedly resonate with a worldwide audience including the increasingly important Latino market, which was noted to make up 23% of all ticket sales despite being, again, just 17% of the population, according to the 2013 Motion Picture Association of America's year-end study.
Slated to begin production later this year in the United States and Brazil, Killing The Street Children is an Irish Filmmakers Company and LatinHeat Productions co-production. Producers are O'Connor, Castillo and Bel Hernandez of Latin Heat Productions.