Hollywood visits the Sun City as the film director for the upcoming DC live-action Blue Beetle superhero movie, and the reboot of Transformers was spotted all over El Paso.

El Paso Film Commission
El Paso Film Commission
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Last weekend, local creatives hosted film director Angel Manuel Soto and cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski in El Paso.

The duo spent 48 hours meeting with artists, muralists, musicians, historians, and other creatives to get a feel of how El Paso flows.

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The El Paso Film Commission brought together artists like Jesus 'Cimi' Alvarado, whose murals have appeared in films such as The Purge and the upcoming Cassandro biopic.

Visits with the famed director also included meeting members of the El Paso International Music Foundation, musicians such as Latin Grammy-nominated Amalia Mondragon and Lavell Jones, the folks at The Power at The Pass, and many others, including myself.

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The team spent the day sightseeing El Paso landmarks, visiting Old Sheepdog Brewery, Lincoln Park, and Crooks Skate Shop, culminating with a meet-up at thChrch, a collaborative creative space for music and art, and film.

After a full day of running around, I had the opportunity to sit and chat with director Angel Manuel Soto to discuss the upcoming DC Blue Beetle film written by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer.

El Paso Film Commission
El Paso Film Commission
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The upcoming film will star Cobra Kai's Xolo Maridueña while Susan Sarandon just signed on to play the bad guy, Victoria Kord squashing the rumors that Sharon Stone had signed on as the villain. Bruna Marquezine, Belissa Escobedo and Harvey Guillén have also signed on to join the cast.

Switching between Spanish and English, Soto also shared that he rarely owned a comic book while growing up in Puerto Rico. But, once he pursued a career as a director, he began seeking out the opportunity to direct a live-action superhero movie until his manifestation came true.

The upcoming DC Blue Beetle film is based on the latest comic book and animated TV series Young Justice and tells the origin story of Jaime Reyes, a teenager who grows up in El Paso, TX. While Soto tells me that the movie won't necessarily shoot many scenes in the Sun City, he wanted to get a feel for the city and our community.

Blue Beetle is also the first major film that stars a Latin superhero, making the project even more enticing for Soto, who proudly represents his Latino roots.  He hopes that the rest of the Latino community also turns out to embrace the film in support, opening another passage for future generations of color.

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Fans of all things comic and animated will also have something new to look forward to as Angel Manuel Soto has signed on to direct and write the reboot of the Transformers franchise.

Soto told me that he has been a fan of the extraterrestrial robots since his youth and even broke out with his phone to show me a picture of himself as a kid wearing a Transformers shirt demonstrating his love for the animated series.

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While the reboot of the transformers is still a few years out, the Blue Beetle will premiere nationwide on August 18, 2023, with plans to include a screening of the film in El Paso as well.

Closing out my interview with Angel Manuel Soto, I asked him his overall impression of El Paso? Soto shared in Spanish, saying:

I've met so many passionate people and have loved the experience of being in El Paso. It's so similar to Puerto Rico in that it has all these pockets of inspiration. El Paso has a 'homey' feeling, and I'm thankful for the hospitality.

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A big thank you to Drew Mayer-Oakes of the El Paso Film Commission and to the rest of the creatives who came out to show the best of El Paso's talent and can't wait to see our city and culture shine on the big screen once again in Soto's highly anticipated live-action film, Blue Beetle.

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