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Actor Pablo Azar is a star in the world of Spanish-language soap operas -- he's been in 10 of them. His telenovela characters live in a world of luxury, but Azar says working non-union jobs on Telemundo has left him without benefits or residuals. That's why he, like many other telenovela actors, has had to work outside jobs. He tells us about getting recognized by fans while driving for Uber. Then, before Jonas Cuarón worked with his father Alfonso on the award-winning Gravity, he wrote a script for a thriller set on the US-Mexico border. Now, he's brought that story to life with Desierto, Mexico's submission for the best foreign-language Oscar. He and star Gael García Bernal tell us how their genre film turned unexpectedly political in this election year. 

Photo: Actor Pablo Azar

Hollywood news banter 7 MIN, 55 SEC

Matt Belloni, executive editor of the Hollywood Reporter joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

  • There's a revolt brewing at Sony. Senior executives are unhappy with chairman Tom Rothman's micromanaging and have lodged complaints with human resources. In going from the free-spending Amy Pascal to the extremely frugal Tom Rothman, the studio has moved from one extreme to the other in leadership styles. For now, CEO Michael Lynton is standing by Rothman.
  • Tim Miller, the director of Fox's Deadpool is out of the sequel after creative clashes with star Ryan Reynolds. The studio made the decision to stand by the face of their hit movie, but some fans say Miller was the real creative force behind the very successful first Deadpool film. The composer on the first film has now also stepped down from the sequel in a show of solidarity with Miller.

Matthew Belloni, Hollywood Reporter (@THRMattBelloni)

Telenovela star Pablo Azar 9 MIN, 39 SEC

Actor Pablo Azar is well-known for his work in telenovelas, which are popular with Spanish-speaking audiences around the world, and often set in worlds of luxury and wealth.

But for Azar, the onscreen glamour does not reflect his reality. Actors in Telemundo productions are not protected by SAG-AFTRA, which means they don't get the same pay as they would for English-language programs and they don't get benefits like health insurance, pensions or residuals. For Azar, that meant driving an Uber to supplement his income when he was between acting jobs.

SAG-AFTRA has been working to unionize Telemundo productions, a battle that heated up earlier this year when Telemundo announced it was building a new $250 million production facility in Miami.

The difference between union and non-union work came into sharp focus for Azar when he recently appeared on the TBS show Wrecked, a comedy about a group of people stranded on an island after a plane crash. It was small part, but as a member of SAG-AFTRA, Azar was covered--unlike for much bigger roles on Telemundo shows.

We got Azar on the line in Miami, where he told us more about the challenges of being a Spanish-language actor in America, and why he's not afraid to speak out.

Pablo Azar, actor (@azarpablo)

Read about Azar and SAG-AFTRA's attempts to unionize Telemundo

Jonás Cuarón and Gael García Bernal on 'Desierto' 8 MIN, 59 SEC

The new Mexican film Desierto, stars Gael García Bernal as Moisés, part of a group of migrant workers attempting to cross the border into the United States. They are stalked by a sniper in a giant truck decked out with a faded Confederate flag and a vicious dog, who is determined to kill every last one of them.

Desierto was written and directed by Jonás Cuarón, son of the Academy Award-winning director Alfonso Cuarón. It is Mexico's foreign language submission to the Oscars this year.

Jonás Cuarón and Gael García Bernal sat down recently with KCRW's Madeleine Brand. The director said when he set out to make this film, he had no idea that the reaction to it would be heavily influenced by this year's election.

Jonás Cuarón, filmmaker (@JonasCuaron)
Gael García Bernal, actor, director, and producer (@GaelGarciaB)


Kim Masters

Kaitlin Parker

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