A new Latinx television series set in Boyle Heights announced its lead cast last week ahead of its release on Netflix.
“Gentefied,” a bilingual show about three Mexican-American cousins that touches on themes of gentrification, immigration and queer identity, was created by Linda Yvette Chávez and Marvin Lemus and will be produced by actress América Ferrera.
The show was picked up by Netflix in February and is based on the creators’ original web series “Gente-fied: the Digital Series,” which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
Gentefied’s creators announced that Karrie Martin, a Louisiana-born actress raised by Honduran parents and known for her work in USA’s “The Purge,” would play Ana Morales, a sarcastic and big-hearted queer artist, according to The Hollywood Reporter. J.J. Soria, who plays Pete Ramos in Sony Crackle’s “The Oath,” will star as well-read and charismatic Erik, the oldest of the three cousins. Carlos Santos, who has appeared on CBS’ “2 Broke Girls,” rounds out the trio as Chris, a chef-in-training who grew up in Idaho and struggles to feel like he belongs.
The three are joined by Joaquin Cosio, of “Narcos: Mexico”, who plays their immigrant grandfather and owner of the family’s taco shop.
“We searched long and hard for the right leads, and I’m ecstatic that Karrie, Carlos, J.J. and Joaquin are now part of the Gentefied family,” Monica Macer, executive producer and showrunner, told The Hollywood Reporter. “Being the daughter of an immigrant myself, I’m so proud to run a uniquely first-gen series that chronicles the trials and triumphs of the Morales family as they adapt, resist and lean into the changing landscape of L.A.”
The lives of the three cousins will intersect over the show’s 10 30-minute episodes as they struggle to reconcile class and identity with the changing atmosphere of Boyle Heights, driven by the show’s namesake term: “gentefication,” which Lemus said refers to gentrification done by upwardly mobile Latinos.
The show was cast just a few weeks after Netflix cancelled the Latinx reboot of “One Day at a Time,” which ran for three seasons. The streaming service has said it is committed to uplifting Latinx voices, which Gentefied’s creators are eager to do as well.
“We are thrilled to have gathered a lead cast that captures the unique nuance of the chisme, chistes, and chingaderas that we grew up with in our multi-generational, bilingual, immigrant families,” Lemus and Chávez told Remezcla. “Joaquin, JJ, Carlos, and Karrie are the abuelo, primos, y prima we shot the [expletive deleted] with as kids, the cousins we partied with and the grandpa we cried with. They are the Morales family, and we can’t wait for everyone to start sending them invites to the carne asada!”
Casting calls are still being conducted. Netflix has yet to reveal a release date for the series.
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