Panama's Ruben Blades joins cast of Duran biopic

FILE - In this April 16, 2010 file photo, Panama's Ruben Blades sings in concert during his "Todos Vuelven" tour in Quito, Ecuador. Blades will join the cast of the film "Manos de Piedra," by Venezuelan director Jonathan Jakubowicz, playing the role of boxing businessman Carlos Eleta. The film tells the story of Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa, File)

PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) — Panama's most famous performer is joining the cast of a movie about its most famous boxer.

Filmmaker Jonathan Jakubowicz says singer Ruben Blades will take part in the film "Hands of Stone," which is scheduled for release next year.

The film focuses on the life of Roberto Duran.

The Harvard-educated Blades is one of the biggest stars in Latin music and also has served as Panama's tourism minister. In the film, he will play boxing promoter Carlos Eleta.

The movie also starts Robert De Niro, Usher and Edgar Ramirez.

In Tuesday's news release, Blades refers to Duran as a friend and as "one of the most illustrious Panamanians we have."