Ryan Guzman Joins ‘The Present’; Justin Johnson Cortez To Lead ‘Gift Of Fear’

EXCLUSIVE: Ryan Guzman (9-1-1) has taken over Ross Butler’s role in the family comedy The Present, from director Christian Ditter (How to Be Single). The reasons for Butler’s departure haven’t been disclosed, but Guzman is now set to star alongside Isla Fisher, Greg Kinnear, Easton Rocket Sweda, Shay Rudolph and Mason Shea Joyce.

In the film from Stuart Ford’s independent content studio AGC Studios, a brilliant boy discovers he can manipulate time using an enchanted family heirloom, then teaming up with his siblings to go back to the eve of their parents’ separation in hopes of changing the outcome. As their schemes become more elaborate, the siblings will learn about family bonds and what they can and can’t control. Fisher and Kinnear are playing the parents in search of reconciliation, with Sweda, Rudolph and Joyce portraying the siblings who just might be the only people who can make that happen.

The Present was written by Emmy winner Jay Martel (Key and Peele). Ford, who serves as Chairman and CEO of AGC Studios, is producing alongside Linda McDonough for the company, with Marcei Brown and Jessica Malanaphy for CatchLightStudios (The Aviary). Martel, CatchLight’s Jason Clark, and AGC’s Zach Garrett and Miguel Palos are serving as executive producers

Guzman is best known for his role as firefighter Eddie Diaz on Fox’s 9-1-1 and has also been seen on such series as Notorious, Heroes Reborn and Pretty Little Liars. His big-screen credits include the Step Up titles Revolution and All In, as well as such films as Everybody Wants Some!! and Jem and the Holograms. He is represented by Paradigm, Luber Roklin Entertainment and Meyer & Downs.

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EXCLUSIVE: Justin Johnson Cortez (Walker: Independence) will star alongside Michael Horse (Twin Peaks), Laura Vallejo (American Crime Story), Sam Marra (Stumptown), Elle Beyer (Kung Fu Brother) and newcomer Isa Antonetti in the film Gift of Fear, from directors Katy Dore and Jack Kohler.

Highlighting a major crisis devastating Native populations across America and Canada, the film centers on a young Indigenous woman who goes after a gang of sex traffickers when her friend is kidnapped. Cortez plays Manny Donovan, a federal agent from the newly formed Missing and Murdered unit, who is half Native American and thrust into two different cultural worlds as he tries to solve the case and bring the missing woman home.

A deeply personal and important film for the Native cast and crew, the project was developed, in part, due to co-director and Hoopa tribal member Kohler’s own experience of having 72 women missing from the Hoopa Valley tribes. Dr. April Lea Go Forth is serving as an EP on the On Native Ground production.

“It means so much to me to be part of a project highlighting the very real, yet under reported epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women,” said Cortez. “I hope the film will bring awareness and inspire others to become allies in the movement to keep our Native people safe.”

Cortez will next star in the anticipated Walker prequel Walker: Independence, premiering this fall on The CW. The Indigenous American actor has guest-starred on Fox’s 9-1-1: Lone Star and Lucifer, also previously writing, directing, producing and starring in the short film  The Fall, which was an official selection of Skins Fest 2020.

Cortez is repped by Defining Artists, Mrk Mgmt and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman.

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