Grand Hotel is a contemporary adaptation of a “period piece” format from Spain, EP Eva Longoria told TV critics of her ABC project. It’s very Upstairs/Downstairs but unique in that the upstairs is the Hispanic family that owns the luxury Miami hotel which, EP Brian Tanen said is “very true to my hometown of Miami.”
Nine of 11 cast members are people of color, Longoria noted. Meanwhile, the show’s DP is female which, she said, “is like a unicorn” in the TV industry. Half of the writing staff and 7 out of 12 directors are women, she added, proudly.
Grand Hotel is a rare American broadcast series with Latino leads: Demian Bichir and Roselyn Sanchez.
Katey Sagal is among the celebrity guests who will show up to visit the family-owned hotel, producers announced.
Bichir, who plays family patriarch Santiago Mendoza, said of his hemisphere-trotting career, “I go where I’m loved,” acknowledging that the first time he came to the U.S. there “weren’t many places” for Hispanic artists. He credited Longoria with opening up new opportunities for many Latin American actors.
Bichir described his character as “a man who worked his way up with a lot of hard work and honest work” and has earned his success.” In real life, he said, he knows many such stories of Mexicans who “made it here in a big way” adding, “This is a tribute to them and to everyone who crosses the border to make this country better.”
Asked about the very bright lighting of the pilot episode, Longoria said it was shot in Miami, after which production moved to Los Angeles, where they recreated the look of Miami. The intention was to make viewers feel like they are “going on vacation,” Tanen said.
“We are having incredibly troubled times now, and this show feels like a tonic,” Tanen elaborated. “If feels like nothing else,” he added about its very blue skies, beaches and “beautiful people.”
Grand Hotel stars Bichir and Roselyn Sanchez; the soapy drama is set at the last family-owned hotel in Miami Beach. Mendoza owns the hotel, while his glamorous second wife, Gigi, and their adult children enjoy the fruits of dad’s labor, while scandals, escalating debt and explosive secrets hide beneath the picture-perfect exterior.