Trailer Park Thursday: “Miss Bala” and “The Prodigy”

We like to talk about directors and actors decamping to the realm of episodic content (Jane Campion and Amy Adams being two recent examples), but lest we forget, the media migration goes both ways. This week, we’re taking a look at two new trailers that feature the stars of Jane the Virgin and Orange Is the New Black crossing over into leading film roles, and breaking into new genres. When we get used to seeing someone as the same character for years (or hours, depending on how hard you marathon a given season), there’s always a risk that they’ll “freeze like that,” so to speak. Will these well-established TV stars be able to pull a John Krasinski on their respective careers? Let’s find out: 

Gina Rodriguez won our hearts as the title character on The CW’s campy telenovela spoof, Jane the Virgin. Now, after some voice work in Ferdinand and Smallfoot, and a supporting role in Annihilation, she’s starring in Catherine Hardwicke’s English-language remake of the Mexican action thriller Miss Bala — a Mexican movie that originally premiered in the Un Certain Regard program at Cannes in 2011. Miss Bala (which translates to “Miss Bullet,” a play on the kinds of titles bestowed on beauty pageant winners) has a bond of female friendship at its heart but is wrapped in the bloody crossfire and heart-pounding suspense.

Hardwicke’s remake adds the dimension of Rodriguez’s character having U.S. citizenship. But otherwise, the trailer for her remake is extremely similar in structure to that of its Mexican counterpart, down to showing some of the same shots at the same time. We’ve seen this happen before with Oldboy, The Ring, The GrudgeThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Let the Right One In, so we shouldn’t really be surprised. Whether or not it holds up to the version that boasts Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna as executive producers remains to be seen, but it seems pretty safe to say that Rodriguez is officially on her way to big-screen stardom. In Jane the Virgin, she finds herself at the mercy of accidental artificial insemination, and in Miss Bala, she finds herself at the mercy of the guys with the guns — all of the guys, with all of the guns. In both cases, she plays a stubborn survivor whose circumstances force her to adapt, evolve, and use every possible advantage at her disposal. Watch her get it done when Miss Bala comes to theaters in early 2019.

Taylor Schilling, like Gina Rodriguez, has had a few film roles here and there, notably in ArgoDark Matter, and The Public, but is mainly known for her turn as fish-out-of-water Piper Chapman on the women’s prison dramedy Orange is the New Black. Now that the television show is taking its final bow, Schilling finds herself free to explore new things… like scaring the living daylights out of us with a child who’s just too smart for his own good.

There’s just nothing like a good jump scare to make you feel alive, is there? Besides those extremely significant last few seconds, most of The Prodigy feels like standard “scary kid” fare, but we can’t wait to see how this possession thing all pans out. Time to play a spirited round of “Whose malevolent presence is inside of this child?” Schilling, for her part, gets very little to do here — the stars of this teaser are the hypnotist, who is played by House of Cards’ Colm Feore, and Jackson Robert Scott, who’s back at it after his turn as the doomed Georgie Denbrough in last year’s It. By the time that he’s old enough to drive, Scott will have scared more adults than all of the local news reports of poisoned Halloween candy combined. Respect. The Prodigy will be in theaters in February 2019, but we’re hoping for at least one more trailer that shows off more of Schilling’s role before then.

For more of our hot takes on cool coming attractions, don’t miss our recent articles on the trailers for “High Life” and “Destroyer” and “The Little Drummer Girl,” “Pet Sematary,” and “Burning.”  And in case you missed it, check out our videos and articles on Jeff Goldblum, Jean-Claude Van Damme, director Sam Raimi, and modern classics like “Postcards from the Edge” and “The Right Stuff.”
Did you like this article?
Give it a vote for a Golden Bowtie


Keyframe is always looking for contributors.

"Writer? Video Essayist? Movie Fan Extraordinaire?

Fandor is streaming on Amazon Prime

Love to discover new films? Browse our exceptional library of hand-picked cinema on the Fandor Amazon Prime Channel.