Yes, Jane The Virgin showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman initially through the concept of a virgin “accidentally artificially inseminated”was crazy when she was approached to adapt the Venezuelan telenovela. But then “it started to emerge to me as a story about mothers and daughters and that relationship,” she told today’s The Contenders Emmy panel moderated by Nellie Andreeva. “I thought if I can make the main character a huge fan of telenovela and all of her sudden her life becomes all the drama and comedy and romance of a telenovela.”
Jane star Gina Rodriguez, who had turned down TV roles for perpetuating Latina stereotypes, said that she was immediately sold on Urman’s script. “I read the script and was like, this is what we’ve been asking for in the world in terms of diversity because there’s no commentary just an acceptance. There is no necessity to explain what it’s like to be a Latina, it’s just explaining what it’s like to be human.”
Despite the outrageous premise, Jane’s potential to reach young female viewers is not unlike the connection Rodriguez felt when watching little Rudy on The Cosby Show, a character she identified with when growing up, being the youngest child. “I know there’s controversy, but let’s just think about the show itself — I was seeing a family of darker skin that were successful. They had a really strong family foundation, they were talking about issues without having a judgment on way or another — that was so relatable to me.”
Urman and Rodriguez also touched upon Jane drawing on Latin American magical realism tradition, which has had Jane appear in different worlds, like a 1920s silent movie, “I’m the comedic Orphan Black,” the actress quipped.
As for spoilers, Urman teased that upcoming third-season episodes of the CW show that will feature Rodrigues, an accomplished salsa dancer, going for a twirl with Dancing with The Stars‘ Derek Hough and rapping, a skill that the actress showcased in her breakout Filly Brown feature role and at today’s panel. As for how long Jane will hold on to her innocence, Urman maintained that the show has never been about virginity and that Jane having sex is “imminent.” When that happens, they’ll simply put a line through the last word in the title.