Roselyn Sanchez (Devious Maids, Grand Hotel) has been tapped as the lead in Fantasy Island, Fox’s contemporary version of the classic drama series that has a straight-to-series order to debut Aug. 10. Sanchez will play Elena Roarke, a descendant of the original series’ enigmatic Mr. Roarke, in the project, from writer-producers Liz Craft and Sarah Fain as well as Sony Pictures TV and its Gemstone Studios label, which co-produce with Fox Entertainment.
Fantasy Island is set at a luxury resort, where literally any fantasy requested by guests is fulfilled, although they rarely turn out as expected. The resort is run by Elena Roarke (Sanchez) who set aside her own ambitions, and even the love of her life, to uphold her family’s legacy. Sophisticated, insightful and always charming, Elena’s calm exterior masks the challenges of the responsibilities she has assumed as steward of this mysterious island.
Sanchez joins previously cast series regular Kiara Barnes and heavily recurring John Gabriel Rodriquez. The reboot is keeping the semi-anthological format of the original Fantasy Island with three main characters played by Sanchez, Barnes and Rodriquez, who live/work on the island and new guests arriving in every episode.
The original 1977 series, created by Gene Levitt and executive produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg, starred Ricardo Montalbán as Mr. Roarke and Hervé Villechaize as his assistant Tattoo as they grant guests so-called “fantasies” on the island for a price.
The original Fantasy Island series and the 1998 reboot starring Malcolm McDowell as Mr. Roarke, will begin streaming on Fox Entertainment’s free-streaming platform, Tubi, on May 1.
On the new series, alongside Sanchez’s Elena Roarke, Barnes plays Ruby Okoro, a young woman with an old soul who arrives on Fantasy Island with a terminal illness, and is given a new lease on life there; Rodriquez plays pilot Javier, who also is the head of island transportation and a jack of all trades. There is no direct version of the Tattoo character in the reboot.
The Fantasy Island reimagining, written and executive produced by Craft and Fain, delves into the “what if” questions that keep us awake at night. Each episode will tell emotional, provocative stories about people who walk in with a desire but end up reborn to themselves through the magical realism of Fantasy Island.
Sanchez, whose major English-language TV credits include lead roles in Without a Trace, Devious Maid and Grand Hotel, is repped by APA, Alchemy Entertainment and Hirsch Wallerstein Hayum. She has been nominated for an ALMA Award six times, winning in 2008 for Without a Trace.