EXCLUSIVE: Devious Maids alumna Ana Ortiz has been tapped as a lead in the Disney + series Love, Simon, inspired by the praised 2018 movie. This marks the first casting for the the half-hour series, from This Is Us executive producers/co-showrunners Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, who wrote the movie, and 20th Century Fox TV, part of Disney TV Studios.
While the series version, which has been greenlighted, will carry the same title as the movie, Love, Simon, it will follow a different young character, Victor. Ortiz will play Victor’s mother, Isabel.
Hailed for its LGBTQ inclusivity, the 2018 Love, Simon is a coming-of-age film about Simon, a closeted gay teen growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta. In it, Simon’s mom is played by Jennifer Garner.
The movie was based on Becky Albertalli’s young adult novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” who has provided some clues about the series.
“I’m SO excited to report that a Love, Simon spinoff is coming to the new Disney+ streaming service!!,,” she wrote on Instagram earlier this spring. “This series is NOT an adaptation of (“Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” sequel) “Leah on the Offbeat”, nor is it a remake of Love, Simon. It is a spinoff set in the world of Simon.”
Aptaker and Berger wrote and executive produce the Disney+ series via their overall deal at 20th TV. Also executive producing alongside three of the movie’s producers, Marty Bowen and Isaac Klausner of Temple Hill and Pouya Shahbazian, as well as Grand Hotel exec producer/showrunner Brian Tanen.
As we have reported, Greg Berlanti, who directed the romantic teen comedy-drama film, is not involved. He is under an exclusive overall deal with Warner Bros. TV.
This marks another case of close cooperation between different divisions of Disney TV studios, with ABC Studios-based Tanen, who has spent most of his career to date there, working on such shows as Grey’s Anatomy, Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives and Devious Maids, joining forces with 20th TV-based Aptaker and Berger.
The series reunites Tanen with Ortiz who starred on two series he had worked on, Ugly Betty and Devious Maids.
Ortiz, who is coming off a co-starring role on ABC/Warner Bros. TV’s action series Whiskey Cavalier, is repped by Gersh and managed by Geordie Frey at GEF Entertainment.