America Ferrera will make her directing debut on Netflix with a film adaptation of the bestselling novel ‘I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter’ by Erika L. Sánchez. Linda Yvette Chávez, who co-created Netflix and MACRO’s series Gentefied, wrote the adapted screenplay for the film. Ferrera said she is “beside” herself with “excitement and gratitude” ahead of directing the film. The Superstore actress shared she “fell in love” with Sánchez’s novel and the author’s “depth, wit, and searing intelligence.” Netflix has not yet announced a release date for the film.
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What Is America Ferrera’s Directing Debut About?
The YA novel tells the story of Julia Reyes, a Mexican-American teen who loses her older sister Olga in a tragic accident. The willful teen finds herself facing the pressure and expectations that come with being a “good Mexican daughter”. Left to put her family back together amid her own grief, Julia searches for answers. She soon discovers that her sister may not have been as perfect as everyone thought.
Released in 2017, the book is a National Award Finalist and the debut novel for Sánchez. Sánchez grew up in the suburbs of Chicago with her parents, who emigrated from Mexico.
Sánchez, who just gave birth to a baby girl in December, shared the news of the forthcoming Netflix film on her Instagram. “I’ve been dreaming of this movie for a long time and I can’t think of a better team,” she wrote. She continued, “I hope I make my own daughter proud. I wrote this for Brown girls like her.” Sánchez will also be a co-producer on the film.
Ferrera also took to Instagram to share her excitement about the film. “The opportunity to direct the work of these two incredibly talented Latina writers is a dream come true,” she wrote. “I can’t wait to share this film with the many fans of the novel, and to introduce this funny, profound, and resonant story to the world,” said Ferrera on making her directing debut.
America Ferrera’s Work On Superstore, Gentefied, & More
Although Ferrera is making her directing debut for film, it is not the actress’s first time in the director’s chair. Ferrera directed four episodes of NBC sitcom Superstore, in addition to her role as one of the leads, Amy. Ferrera also served as a producer and later, an executive producer on the show. The network cancelled Superstore this past December after six seasons, with the series finale airing on March 25th.
Ferrera is also an executive producer and director for Netflix and MACRO show Gentefied. The show released its first season on Netflix in February 2020, and is currently filming its second season. Gentefied follows three cousins trying to help their grandfather keep his taco shop open in LA’s rapidly gentrifying Boyle Heights neighborhood. Ferrera recently posted a picture of herself with some of the members of Gentefied‘s all Latinx crew. “We have many more beloved Latinx crew members not pictured here including our DP, Casting director, Production designer, Costume designer, Caterer, 99% of our cast, and more..!”, shared Ferrera. Season two of Gentefied is set to premiere sometime in 2021.
Ferrera’s life beyond the set is also very busy. The actress gave birth to her second child, a daughter, in May 2020 with husband Ryan Piers Williams. The couple also has a son, Sebastian “Baz” Piers Williams. Although the Emmy-winning actress is pretty private about her kids, she shared a post about her anxiety on giving birth during a pandemic to show support for fellow “pregnant mamas.” Last year, Ferrera also co-founded a platform called She Se Puede with actress Eva Longoria. The lifestyle site is an online community that aims to empower Latinx women.
Netflix & Latinx Content
A recent diversity audit showed that only 4.5% of main cast members and filmmakers on Netflix were Latinx. However, Latinos make up around 18% of the nation’s population. The streaming service announced this week that they want to greenlight more original Latinx content. CNN Business reported that Netflix hired former Sony executive Alexander Zahn to head its indie film team. Additionally, Jennifer Lopez will play an assassin in an upcoming Netflix film, “The Mother.”
Recently, Netflix’s original Mexican comedy Daughter From Another Mother was viewed by 23 million households in its first month. The series dropped in January and is Netflix’s most successful Mexican series to date. The series was created by Carolina Rivera of Jane The Virgin fame.
Last month, Netflix released a video of their Latinx employees discussing their cultures and identities. Check it out below: