EXCLUSIVE: Academy Award-winner Alexander Dinelaris ( Birdman , The Revenant ) is teaming up with multihyphenate René Pérez Joglar, known professionally as Residente , to co-write the new film Porto Rico .
Porto Rico is a historical drama based on the life of Puerto Rican revolutionary, José Maldonado Román, known as Águila Blanca (White Eagle), set on the island in the late 19th century. Maldonado Román fought against colonialism by leading a gang of ex-convicts to vindicate Puerto Rico as it sought its identity as a country.
"It has been amazing to work with Alex," said Residente in a statement about the screenwriter he was introduced to by Alejandro Gonzalez-Iñarritu. "It took me a while to find a great writer because I was looking for someone who not only is talented but also connects with the subject matter. I found both in Alex, an amazing writer who is highly skilled at dialogues as was evident in Birdman ," he added.
Residente and Dinelaris found they shared a special cultural connection via Puerto Rico, the island where both Residente and Dinelaris' grandmother were born. Dinelaris' passion for his ancestral land helped cement the partnership.
"When Rene and I were introduced, I knew about him but wasn't familiar with his body of work. When he sent me a treatment of his idea for Porto Rico, I was immediately hooked," Dinelaris said. "My grandmother was from Ponce but I never got to meet my family there. I've always felt a connection to Puerto Rico, it's where I often go to get away— and where I wrote Birdman and Still Life . I relish the opportunity to explore its history, my history."
Along the way, Dinelaris has familiarized himself with Residente and his music, which helped him make the "easy decision" to partner with the artist. He said, "He and his work are defined by his courage, conviction, and artistry; which is also what I admire about Alejandro, who has been my mentor, brother, and partner."
He continued, "I think we have an opportunity to tell a unique story and shed light on a corner of history that until now has been undiscovered by a large part of the world. It's a story about the spectacular courage and resilience of someone unwilling to bend the knee at any price. I think that's a story that now more than ever deserves to be told."
The duo is already at work on the screenplay with plans to share bigger development news in the near future. In the meantime, Residente shared an update on how the story is shaping up.
"The writing sessions have been amazing so far, Residente said. "We've been taking our time shaping the story and focusing on being not only clever or interesting but also writing dialogue that generates an emotional connection, similar to how I create music."
Residente is a multiple award-winning Puerto Rican rapper, writer, filmmaker, and activist who has earned more Latin Grammys than any other artist as of 2022. In addition to music, he has gained recent success as a screenwriter and director. His projects include a self-titled documentary released in 2017 followed by the doc Rubén Blades Is Not My Name a year later. He is repped by CAA.
Dinelaris is best known for his award-winning work as the screenwriter of Birdman , and as co-producer of the Academy Award-winning film, The Revenant . Additional credits include Benjamin Millepied's film Carmen as well as writing and directing the film adaptation of his play, Still Life . He is repped by CAA and Anonymous Content.
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