El Rey Network began production in Los Angeles last week on the cable channel’s second scripted original, Matador, and announced additional cast members including Tanc Sade (The Mentalist, Gilmore Girls) in the lead role of Alec Holester. The new action series, from executive producers Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman (the coveted writing/producing team behind Sleepy Hollow, Fringe, Star Trek andTransformers franchises) is set to debut this July on Robert Rodriguez’s new cable network and is comprised of 13 hour-long episodes.
As previously announced Gabriel Luna heads the series cast as Tony “Matador” Bravo, Alfred Molina plays Andrés Galan, Nicky Whelan as Annie Mason and Neil Hopkins as Noah Peacott. Robert Rodriguez, El Rey Network’s chairman and founder, is set to direct the first episode which will be penned by showrunners, co-creators and executive producers Dan Dworkin & Jay Beattie.
Irreverent and action-packed, Matador chronicles the unlikely rise of Tony “Matador” Bravo, a popular soccer star who comes to be known as much for his playboy antics off the field as his dynamic moves on it. But what his fans and family don’t realize is that it’s all a cover—in truth, he is a skilled covert operative executing missions for a little-known branch of the CIA.
“This is a project that I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember and when I asked Robert if El Rey Network could be our home for ‘Matador,’ he embraced the idea immediately,” Orci said at a recent press event in New York. “And that’s what is special about El Rey Network-it is a place where creatives can create and where success is measured by your ability to tell a story well-and that is incredibly appealing on many levels.”
Sade’s character, Holester, is an English striker for the soccer team the LA Riot who is past his prime, but still very skilled. Scoring eight goals for Team England in the last World Cup, he’s been on top of the sports world for years and is wryly amused by his own talent for living in the limelight with a girl on each arm. In addition to Sade, recurring cast includes: Yvette Monreal (Off The Grid, Awkward) as Senna Galan, a celebutante and daughter of LA Riot team owner Andrés Galan, who relishes her every opportunity to play rough off the field and get the players in trouble; Elizabeth Peña (Tortilla Soup, Modern Family) as Maritza Sandoval, proud mother of Tony, Ricky and Cristina; Julio Oscar Mechoso (Machete Kills, Little Miss Sunshine) as Javi Sandoval, a notario and a sturdy family man with a stable, routinized life who is married to Maritza, Tony’s mother; Louis Ozawa Changchien (The Bourne Legacy, Predators) as Samuel, the intimidating, creepy 20-something who is a criminal errand boy for Galan; Sammi Rotibi (Django Unchained, Lord of Ward) as Didi Akinyele, the wise Assistant Head Coach for the LA Riot; Jonny Cruz (Small Timers, Cool Wheels) as Ricky Sandoval, Tony’s younger half-brother who is currently in prison; Isabella Gomez as Cristina Sandoval, Tony’s energetic teenage half-sister; and Peter Gadiot as Caesar, a baby-faced former dancer who is the sole proponent of the “art” of soccer.
Matador is created by Roberto Orci, Dan Dworkin, Jay Beattie and Andrew Orci. Executive producers are Dworkin & Beattie, also showrunners, alongside executive producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman and consulting producer Andrew Orci. Also joining as executive producers are Heather Kadin of K/O Paper Products; El Rey Network co-founder Robert Rodriguez; and FactoryMade Ventures and El Rey Network co-founders John Fogelman and Cristina Patwa.
Entertainment One Television (eOne) exclusively represents worldwide distribution rights (with the exception of U.S. broadcast network rights) for El Rey Network’sMatador and other original scripted series created for the U.S based cable network, to be announced.
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