Jenni Rivera: Edward James Olmos Praises Her Film Debut in 'Filly Brown' (Video)

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The actor says he thinks the late singer "could garner an Academy Award for her work" in the upcoming gritty drama.

Edward James Olmos is praising the late Jenni Rivera's performance in Filly Brown, a gritty drama marking the singer's big-screen debut.

"News of the plane crash tore my heart out," Olmos tells Billboard. "Jenni was just an amazing force. From the very beginning I've said that she could garner an Academy Award for her work in Filly Brown. She had a tough life, but she also had an extraordinary gift. She touched millions of people and she'll be missed."

PHOTOS: Remembering Jenni Rivera

Olmos and Rivera are co-stars in the movie, which he says was being planned for release in April through distributor Indomina Releasing. Lou Diamond Phillips is also in the cast along with Gina Rodriguez, who plays a young L.A. rapper and the daughter of Rivera's character, an incarcerated drug addict.

Olmos recorded the song "Hurts So Bad" with the Mexican-American superstar especially for the film.

Rivera died Sunday in a plane crash near Monterrey, Mexico, while en route to Toluca, Mexico, following a concert. Six other passengers, including her attorney and make-up artist, also perished on the plane.