Ramon Rodriguez, who appeared in Marvel’s Iron Fist and The Defenders, has joined Angelina Jolie and Sam Rockwell in The One and Only Ivan, Disney's adaptation of the Newbery Medal-winning book written by Katherine Applegate.
Bryan Cranston,The Florida Project breakout Brooklynn Prince and Ariana Greenblatt, one of the stars of Disney Channel's Stuck in the Middle, are already on the roll call for the live-action/CG hybrid project.
Published by HarperCollins in 2011, the book centers on a silverback gorilla named Ivan (Rockwell) who lives in a cage in a shopping mall along with an elephant named Stella (Jolie) and a stray dog called Bob. Ivan does not remember life before the mall, but when a baby elephant named Ruby enters and Ivan finds himself taking care of her, he begins to rediscover his previous life and concocts a plan to take the baby elephant away from their abusive owner.
Rodriguez will play an assistant who works for the mall’s owner, played by Cranston, and who is also the father of a young girl (Greenblatt) who befriends Ivan.
Thea Sharrock, director of the tearjerker Me Before You, will helm The One and Only Ivan.
Rodriguez, who has a key role on the upcoming season on Showtime's The Affair and was seen in the war drama Megan Leavey, hails from Puerto Rico and has spent the last several months on the island working on relief efforts and raising money with the aid agency Heart 9/11. He was so moved by the experience that he began directing a documentary sponsored by non-profit agency Today, I’m Brave with the goal of raising funds and awareness. The actor was on the island when he received the call that he had nabbed the part for One and Only Ivan.
Rodriguez is repped by UTA and Silver Lining Entertainment.