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With Blue Beetle, Ángel Manuel Soto Shows the Superhero Strength of Latinidad

For Director Ángel Manuel Soto, Blue Beetle is for his younger self.

As a kid growing up in Puerto Rico, Soto didn’t have the opportunity to see an Indiana Jones that looked like him—to see Latinos in heroic spaces of power on the big screen. Through Blue Beetle he set out to change that.

His recent blockbuster not only highlights the truth that the Latino community is no monolith—and that it features everyday moments of superhero strength—it also shows how communities too often seen as ghettos are in fact full of rich, tight-knit relationships that span generations.

Any young Angel Manuel Soto would pay the price of admission to see that story in the theater.

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About Our Guest

Ángel Manuel Soto is a director, producer, and screenwriter known for telling bold stories that highlight diverse characters from a variety of backgrounds. Most recently, Soto directed BLUE BEETLE, a Warner Bros. Pictures feature film that stars Susan Sarandon, George Lopez, Xolo Maridueña, and Harvey Guillén, which will premiere in theatres in August 2023. BLUE BEETLE follows the story of Jaime Reyes, a Mexican American teenager, and will be the first DC film and the first live-action film to feature a Latino superhero as the lead.

In 2020, Soto’s film CHARM CITY KINGS premiered during Sundance Film Festival and won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble Cast. Barry Jenkins and Sherman Payne wrote the script 32 with a cast starring Jahi Winston, Teyonah Parris, Will Catlett, and introduced Meek Mill to his acting debut.

Soto is also co-writing a TRANSFORMERS spin-off for Paramount Pictures, which he is attached to direct. Recently, Soto produced and directed the limited doc series MENUDO FOREVER YOUNG, which just premiered on HBO Max. He is developing an animated/live-action hybrid for Paramount Pictures with Ryan Reynolds starring and producing. He currently has a series in development at Amazon, which he is co-creating with Gareth Dunnett Alcocer. Juno Diaz and Borderless Pictures are executive producing.

A native of Puerto Rico, Soto discovered soccer and boxing at an early age, which inspired his first film EL PUGIL, an homage to the kids he had grown up with and the power of sports in economically repressed communities. Angel pursued his interest in art, studying architecture and eventually documentary filmmaking and writing. He began his career in entertainment as a TV producer and later focused on art direction at a local advertising agency. He made his feature directorial debut with LA GRANJA (The Farm), which sheds a thought-provoking light on the tough realities facing the people of Puerto Rico. He went on to create several groundbreaking narrative VR pieces such as DINNER PARTY and BASHIR’S DREAM, which have premiered to critical success at festivals.