The film is based on a true David & Goliath story about four undocumented Mexican-American teenagers from Phoenix who form a robotics team. With $800, used car parts and a dream, they build an underwater robot that wins the national robotics competition, taking down reigning champion MIT.
Tomei will play a dedicated and passionate teacher whose belief in the rag-tag team helps lead them to success.
Sean McNamara is directing the film, which is based on Joshua Davis’ Wired magazine story. Lopez is producing via his Travieso Productions banner with David Alpert of Circle of Confusion, as well as Rick Jacobs, Leslie Kolins Smith and Ben O’Dell. Principal photography began this month in New Mexico.
“We are fortunate to have a star of Marisa’s caliber join the film. Marisa and George combine to give ‘La Vida Robot’ the star power and cross-cultural appeal that has become a Pantelion trademark, and together they tell an incredible true story,” said Paul Presburger, CEO of Pantelion Films, whose exec O’Dell will oversee the project for the company.
Pantelion Films is a joint venture between Lionsgate and Mexican media corporation Televisa. “La Vida Robot” marks the first film under Lopez’s recently announced overall film and TV deal with Pantelion and South Shore, the TV venture between Lionsgate and Televisa.
Tomei, who won an Oscar for her supporting performance in “My Cousin Vinny,” recently starred in George Clooney‘s “The Ides of March,” Darren Aronofsky‘s acclaimed drama “The Wrestler” and the Warner Bros. comedy “Crazy Stupid Love.” She’s represented by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.