Monday, October 8, 2012

Undocumented Premiere Doubling as Going Away Party for Movie's Illegal Immigrant Star

Things may turn out for the better. But right now, the two immovable dates in actor Tony Guerrero's immediate future are October 20th, 2012 and January 24th, 2013.

The former is when his starring-role comedy Undocumented Executive is set to premiere at Atlanta's Plaza Theater. The latter is the court-ordered deadline by which Guerrero, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, must leave the country.

Adding to this very strange situation is the fact that the movie's storyline eerily echos Guerrero's current travails. Developed by former CNN senior producer-editor Brian Kosisky with the help of Hollywood veteran Herschel Weingrod (Kindergarten Cop, Twins, Trading Places), the indie comedy is about - yes - an illegal immigrant trying to carve out a successful career on the U.S. side:

Guerrero plays Jesus "Jaqi" Gutierrez, an ambitious immigrant with an impossible dream to become a Wall Street big shot... Without knowing Guerrero's background, Kosisky saw him in the award-winning short film, Moved, and knew right away who the star of the upcoming film would be. "This was a local guy who had terrific comedic timing. Tony was perfect for Jaqi!" he says.

An online petition has been launched on Guerrero's behalf, but the actor is not optimistic. The decision handed down by an Atlanta immigration judge on September 26th means that he will also have to leave behind his legal, Cuban-born wife and her children from a previous marriage. The young ones must remain in Georgia to adhere to a visitation rights agreement involving her first husband.

Via email, writer-director Kosisky tells FilmStew, "Tony didn't disclose his immigration status to me until we wrapped. Under the law, I do not need to inquire about the immigration status of an independent contractor. As an actor, he was used as an independent contractor for the film."

The premiere is open to the public. More info here.

Update - 10/12/12: WSB-TV Channel 2 interviewed Guerrero and Kosisky for a story about this situation. Watch the report here.

[Undocumented Executive]

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