Gina Rodriguez came onto the scene as Jane Viilanueva in Jane the Virgin for which she earned a Golden Globe, and now she’s getting a little grittier with her latest project. The 36-year-old, who is of Puerto Rican descent, is making her directorial debut in a film inspired by Ryan Garcia, who held the WBC interim lightweight title from January 2021 to May 2021. Rodriguez will direct, star, produce and will co-write the screenplay with actor and playwright Bernardo Cubria, Deadline reported.
“I grew up in a boxing family and loved watching sports dramas with my dad. The philosophies of fighting – working hard, staying focused, being honest, fighting fair but to win – has stayed with me,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “On behalf of myself and my production company I Can and I Will, I couldn’t be more excited to partner with Ryan Garcia on this film. He is not only an outstanding athlete and champion, but a true advocate of normalizing and furthering conversations on mental health. His bravery has inspired me, and I am honored to have his trust to direct this film and guide his first foray into the arts. In One Community, Endeavor Content and WME, I have found empowering partners who are driven to tell stories that bring love, tolerance and healing to the world. I am humbled by their support, in addition to that of my incredibly talented friend and fellow artist Bernardo Cubria who will be leading us in creating a script that celebrates both the sport and our community. We cannot wait to share this story with audiences worldwide.”
Garcia is 22 and has taken the boxing world by storm, remaining undefeated with a record of 21-0. He started boxing at age 7 and was a 15-time national champion. One of his most epic matches was against Olympic Gold Medalist Luke Campbell who took him down initially but he was able defeat him in the seventh round. Garcia, who is Mexican-American, will star in the film as a fictional character inspired by how own life. He’ll play Alex Guerrero, who struggles with major mental health issues but once he meets a World Champion he’s given the opportunity to prove himself.
Rodriguez grew up watching her dad work as a boxing referee so the project clearly has some personal appeal to the star. She most recently starred in Awake on Netflix and the miniseries Lost Ollie, also on Netflix. This film will be a major win for the Latinx community with representation both in front and behind the camera.