Based upon the Mexican TV Series Ellas son la Alegría del Hogar, Canadian Desperate Housewives Fans will revel in delight knowing that Creator Marc Cherry’s Devious Maids at long last has found a home on Lifetime Canada. Several were left shocked and disappointed after news broke the original Pilot had not been picked-up by ABC despite being ordered early 2012 by the Network.
The Series centers around four Latina Maids who work in Beverly Hills for some of the most powerful and wealthy Families. Certainly not short on juiciness, many will savour the scandal. There’s murder, love, affairs, secrets and betrayal galore. Meet Marisol (Ana Ortiz of Ugly Betty), Rosie (Dania Ramirez of ), Carmen (Roselyn Sánchez) and Zoila (Judy Reyes), who in the Desperate Housewives universe respectively would kinda/sorta be your Susan, Lynette, Gabrielle and Bree. Add to that mix the return of Soap Opera Royalty Susan Lucci as the commanding, self-absorbed and youth-obsessed Heiress Genevieve, Zoila‘s Boss.
Arriving in Toronto to unveil the brand new Series at today’s 2013 Shaw Media Upfronts, Stars Ortiz and Lucci greet me in their Hotel Suite, the former elegant in emerald green, the latter stunning in sapphire blue. I could not help but be in awe of how amazing Lucci (a Grandmother of four) looks, long-heralded as Queen of the Soaps with a record-breaking 21 Daytime Emmy Nominations in the iconic role of Erica Kane on All My Children. Ortiz whom we all loved as Elder Sister Hilda Suarez in Ugly Betty, is as vivacious as expected in person, eloquent really.
We talk first about Casting and how they came to be involved in what potentially could be a Breakout Hit and both point to the Man who started it all – Cherry. Oritz tells me about her observant and cool Character who harbours a deep, dark secret. “Marc had approached me and after some meetings and asked me which Maid I gravitated toward most. I didn’t even hesitate it was always Marisol”,she recalls. “We read together and after that I was like ‘Where do I sign?’”.
Lucci meanwhile tells me it was Fan Feedback which helped connect her and Cherry. “There had been a lot online suggesting I was going to go on Desperate Housewives and it wasn’t coming from me nor Mark – it was largely Fan-driven”, says Lucci. “He told me that Show was actually finished being written and that he had a new one called Devious Maids that was being written. I got a call to audition and he didn’t tell me how was going to pronounce my name. I didn’t know whether it was “Jen-ah-veev” or “Jon-vee-yev”. It was the under-the-bed scene we did and I loved it, I was at home in New York then. It was hysterical when I read it and I loved it.”. That scene she is describing certainly is funny indeed, as we are introduced to her Character clasping a bottle of pills, suicidal after being dumped by her much younger Fling.
Cherry certainly has created some dynamic Characters once again here in Devious Maids and his talented Ensemble would agree. Ortiz is not shy about paying her respects declaring, “Thank you Marc Cherry for writing these really wonderful, complex Women that we really are in real life, and doing it so succinctly with so many Women and so many different Characters.”. “Because we’re creating these characters, we’re doing it all together. Marc will talk to us for an hour if we have any questions.”. Chiming-in, Lucci adds “He’s such a vision and it’s coming from a good place. After he sees rehearsal he’ll give you a little note to tweak it a certain way and it’s always right on the money. It’s very much an Ensemble.”.
What makes Devious Maids unique is its over-the-top Novela (“in the best sense of the word” as Lucci puts it) vibe and its humorous look at Class Relations. “What’s so wonderful about the Show is that you see these incredible Beverly Hills mansions and glamour through the Maids’ eyes”, says Ortiz. “There’s definitely the aspect of class difference, but Marc has made it about the Characters and their relationships with one another. I guess the comment is that as far apart as we are, we are all still very similar and we all have so much more in common than we realize.”.
Ortiz and and Lucci both admit that they too have needed help too in order for them to be able to fulfill their own dreams as Mothers and Actresses. On finding balance, Ortiz states “Women have been doing this centuries not just on TV, it’s just what we do. The fact that you had those Women helping you, who enabled you to be a Working Mom. I have a Daughter and it’s so important she sees me working because that’s when I’m most happy – doing what I love, fulfilling my dreams and passions”. “It’s more than just about Women cleaning your house or helping you with your Children. There’s such a special relationship there and Marc really has been able to finesse that and bring it to life.”.
Lucci reveals that she also has benefited from help and admits, “I know that I could never have done what I did without the incredibly warm and smart help of Frieda, who has been with me for 30 years. There’s only one other person who got a page in my Book and that’s Frieda!”, she laughs.
Enjoy the Audio from our Chat below:
Devious Maids premieres Sunday, June 23, 2013 on Lifetime Canada. Click here for more.