The much-anticipated summer television show “Grand Hotel” promises a lot of sexy secrets, unsolved mysteries and dramatic plot twists, all while portraying Latinos in positions of power in front and behind the camera.
“When you do a show like this, you are not only showcasing Latinos in a mainstream way, which is evident and it’s beautiful in itself, but you’re also showing the reality of the times we’re living in right now,” actor Shalim Ortiz, who plays Mateo, the hotel’s manager and one of the drama’s main characters, told NBC News of the ABC drama. “Especially in Miami Beach, Latinos are in positions of power.”
“Grand Hotel” is based on the successful Spanish television show “Gran Hotel” set in the 1900s. But executive producer Eva Longoria’s version centers around the last family-owned hotel in modern-day Miami.
“Eva is one of the advocates of how now you can be the hotel manager, you can be in a position of power, and also just be a character who happens to be Latino, just like you happen to be American,” Ortiz said in regards to Longoria’s push to redefine how Latinos are portrayed on TV.
Longoria also directs episode three and plays the hotel’s former owner, Beatriz Mendoza.
“It’s amazing as a spectator and as a cast member to be a part of a project that includes Latin characters in different job positions,” he added, “it’s not always the stereotypical jobs that we’ve been getting all these years.”
The mystery drama stars Mexican actor Demián Bichir as Santiago Mendoza, the charismatic owner of the Riviera Grand Hotel, and Puerto Rican actress Roselyn Sánchez, who plays his glamorous second wife, Gigi. As the couple and their adult children enjoy the spoils of success, outrageous scandals, escalating debt and explosive secrets shake up their picture-perfect lives.
“They’re not conventional heroes because everybody has something to hide and everybody has something that has leverage over someone else. That game of power, I think, is one of the delicious parts of the show,” Ortiz said.
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