JANE THE VIRGIN Finale: Interviews with Justin Baldoni, Yael Groblas, Jaime Camil and EP Jennie Urman (2015)

"Jane the Virgin"
“Jane the Virgin”

JANE THE VIRGIN has has a blessed and magnificent first season.  Critically acclaimed, winning a Golden Globe and scoring numerous other award nominations, the show was an immediate television sensation.  Receiving an early renewal for its second season, JANE THE VIRGIN confidently raced through Season 1 with joy, laughter and tears.  Every conceivable telenovela trope was employed to ensure laughter and heart-racing moments to keep its viewers and fans gasping for more.  There were twins (two sets!), a murder or two (or three), a diabolical drug lord, a kidnapping (make that a baby-napping!), a stalker ex-girlfriend, an unexpected pregnancy, a near fatal fall down the stairs, a superstar lost father, and layers upon layers of deception and plotting by various self-interested parties.  But the joy and love with which the show crafted its characters and their increasingly intertwined stories made JANE THE VIRGIN just shine.  Fans were instantly addicted and clamoring for more.  More Jane!  More Rogelio! More Team Michael! More Team Rafael! More Xo & Rogelio! More twins! More twists! And more surprises! Delightfully, JANE THE VIRGIN delivered and it was wondrous.  It was a show that invited viewers to have some fun and have their hearts touched in the process.  It felt like a weekly love-letter straight from JANE THE VIRGIN.

So while attending this years star-studded CBS Summer Soiree event, it was with  pleasure that executive producer Jennifer Urman and stars Justin Baldoni, Yael Groblas, Jaime Camil took a few minutes to chat about the amazing freshman season of their show and what fans can expect and hope for in Season 2 of JANE THE VIRGIN.

"Jane the Virgin"
“Jane the Virgin”

Jennie Urman

So Season 2, what can we look forward to? Hopefully, seeing Jane’s baby!
JENNIE: Yes. Sin Rostro took the baby because she wants something specific.  The baby is not going to be missing for long.  Obviously, that event is going to shake up a ton of dynamics and change things for the course of a bunch of our characters for much of the next season.  We have such fun stories for the second season.  I am overwhelmed.  I just came out of two weeks with the writers plotting our second season. Oh my god, there are so many fun things that I’m so excited for people to get to see.  Like in Season 1, there were the fun things, the emotional things, the character relationship changes and moves.  We have had it all.

You’d mentioned before that that in Season 2, the love triangle will be resolved.  How quickly will we see it resolved?
JENNIE:  (Laughs) I can’t really answer that ’cause then you’ll know where we’re going.  But I will say that a big decision will be made.  We have big things happening in Season 2.  Part of me wants to tell you because I’m so excited, but I shouldn’t.

Will we possibly be seeing more of Bridget Regan then in Season 2?
JENNIE: Yes, you will possibly. I love her too.

Bridget was such a good match for that character because you didn’t expect her to play such a dark role and she pulled it off so very smoothly.
JENNIE:  She is incredible and amazing.  You’re going to hear her before you see her.  There always the surprise of what she looks like when you see Rose.  But, obviously, Sin Rostro is a big part of the second season, and what she wants becomes very clear, very quickly.

We also found out in the Season 1 finale that there could be the possibility of another baby on the horizon and there was some speculation as to whether Petra (Yael Grobglas) would want to carry the child herself.  So could there be potentially a second “Jane, the virgin” coming?
JENNIE:  The question of what Petra is going to do with the sample is going to come up in the first episode back and she will make a decision.  That’s all I’ll say!  It’s going to be addressed quickly as well.  In Season 2, we just want to make sure we have plot moves that are exciting and make sure we give time for our characters to emotionally process them.  That’s how we are trying to calibrate our show.

Looking back at Season 1, what excited you the most and surprised you the most?
JENNIE:  I think the deep bench of characters and actors, all the different things our ensemble could do.  Right from the second episode, when Jane had the break down on the porch, I knew Gina [Rodriguez] was extraordinary and there was nothing she couldn’t do.  It was clear.  But I didn’t know how funny Rogelio would turn out to be and Jaime [Camil] would play him with such zealousness and gusto and love.  All the shade of our characters, the love triangle, sand the family relationship — that submersion just shows how good everyone is.  It’s really been a delight for us as writers because we have the confidence that we can write anything and they will be able to deliver, and that really frees you up in terms of storytelling because you are not afraid of:  can they handle this?  We know our actors are going to knock whatever we give them out of the park.  That just makes us brave as writers in the writers’ room and that is exciting.  We can do anything and they are going to find it.

It seems everyone seems to be having such a good time, as well, as it looks like the actors are relishing the opportunity to portray all these different facets.
JENNIE:  And I am including Anthony [Mendez], as well, as one of our core actors.  He brings such a zest and zeal and shades of colors.  I just feel like we have just been lucky that everyone is at the top of their game.

One of the joys of watching JANE THE VIRGIN is the element of love that is felt crafted in all of it.  I don’t know if it was written that way or everyone just brought it to their performances, but I always felt like I was being embraced and loved by the show.
JENNIE: I think it’s a little of both.  We just really wanted you to feel like you were along for a journey with the storyteller in the story and that is what a narrator does.  He watches it as the audience watches it and we wanted the audience to have confidence in the storytelling and go on this crazy, fun journey and we wanted to include in-jokes that if you watch them, it will make you feel a part of it.

One of the other plot lines that kind of left us hanging was, of course, the sudden marriage between Rogelio and Xo (Andrea Navedo) and now we’re curious to know how that will play out: are they going to try to hide it, are they going to acknowledge it, or are they going to pretend it didn’t happen?
JENNIE:  Well, the baby’s gone and they can’t be like, “oh by the way, Jane, we got married.”  There is a bigger thing that everyone is going through and we need to address first, and then when the dust settles, it will be, “by the way. . . ”  But they are both going to have different attitudes about what happened, and we have arced out their journey.  I think it is going to take us to a surprising place as they both begin to realize things that both of them want — and whether they find that with each other or not will ultimately be resolved this next season.

One has to admire the fearlessness which you and your writers show with regards to racing through your stories.
JENNIE: It is more fun when people reveal secrets and reacts to it than holding it and waiting and that has been our storytelling philosophy and we’re definitely continuing that in the second season.

There must be some pride amongst everybody coming off such a strong first season and how welcomed the entire show has been by the critics and by the fans.
JENNIE:  It’s been overwhelming.  You work so hard and to have it be well-received, you can’t quite explain it.  I am really grateful.  I feel like the critic’s right out of the gate just embraced it.  I don’t think we would be having these second season conversations if the critics hadn’t championed it in a real significant and vocal way.  That’s why we were at the Golden Globes and we are just grateful.

When you were originally coming up with the show and casting it, did you see a glimmer of the magic of it starting to brew?
JENNIE:  You just don’t know because you’re so close to it.  So you don’t know until you get the first people reacting to it that haven’t been working on it every single day.  I knew the cast was amazing.  I knew Brad [Siberling] was doing an incredible job directing it.  I knew all those things were happening, but when you are working so closely with something, you have to love it and you have to think everything is going great.  When we started showing people and getting their reactions that had “no skin in the game,” that whether it succeeded or failed didn’t matter to them, that’s when we started to feel like we had made something people really liked.

There seemed be a sense of pride of ownership by both CBS and the CW right away about JANE THE VIRGIN as the show was given a plum timeslot on Monday nights, which seemed to say that they were confident that the show was going to be a success.
JENNIE: Their reaction was the indication to us that they loved and that they had an emotional connection to it.  Right away, before all the critical response, they sat us down and said, “We love the show. We’re going to be leading with it. We want it to grow.”  That was the early indicator.

And there was the early renewal and pickup for Season 2, and hey have also given JANE THE VIRGIN its Monday timeslot again for the next season, which doesn’t always happen.
JENNIE:  It’s amazing.  I feel they are so supportive of the show. They gave us a pick up after our second episode and they want us to plan.  Oh my gosh, it is just so amazing.

"Jane the Virgin"
“Jane the Virgin”

Justin Baldoni

Season 1 ended on, unfortunately, a very sad note with the baby being abducted.  How did it feel to read that episode script when you first got it?
JUSTIN:  Seeing it was a lot harder than reading it.  Obviously, being a soon-to-be father and with a baby on the way, it’s kind of everybody’s worst nightmare.  But, luckily, I had heard from Jennie that it would be resolved fairly early.  Because it is such a strong female-based show, they would never harm a baby. So I knew there would be some kind of plot device that they needed it to work for.  But it was pretty damn shocking.

It was finales week and I usually know which TV shows are going to have the harder to watch endings, but your show took me by complete surprise.  My jaw just hit the floor.  It went from completely touching to shocking in an instant.
JUSTIN:  I know, just crazy!

For you, looking back over this past season, it has been such a momentous year, what were the highs for you?
JUSTIN:  For me, I got to play a multi-dimensional character that I had never seen on TV before.  For me, that was the greatest joy of my acting career.  To have a chance to play a character that has been through cancer, been through marriage, that has been through a terrible childhood, that has a bad relationship with his father and yet is trying to fix things, who is trying to be better, who falls in love, and this crazy stuff happens and yet still tries to maintain positivity through the whole thing, who is trusting and easily manipulated and who is at the same time strong and very masculine and vulnerable, and who is willing to learn from his mistakes.  I think he is one of my favorite characters and I love him.  I think that is what makes playing him so fun.  I get to be someone who is not me — and I really get to explore the human condition with Rafael, which is really beautiful.

It seems like, unexpectedly, with Rafael, he got to experience a real relationship, which I did not expect for that character.
JUSTIN:  (Laughs) I don’t think any of us did, and I don’t know if that was always the plan or it was because Gina and I had great chemistry on screen, or whatever it was, but  they really fleshed out the relationship and hopefully there is more to come in that area.  But at least we will get to experience how two people co-parent that still have a lot of feelings for each other.

Another surprise was you had great scenes as well with Brett Dier’s character Michael.  That was a constant surprise to see Rafael and Michael sharing scenes.  One would have thought those characters would have been kept separate, but the writers kept writing scenes for them.
JUSTIN:  We are so different and we play those characters so differently, but Jennie knows the chemistry we have together.  Brett and I are dear friends in real life.  He’s like my little brother.  And to get to play that relationship up is great.

One thing we didn’t see much of was Rafael and Rogelio together in scenes as much and you would have thought Rafael would have want to impress his potential father-in-law.
JUSTIN:  I think Rafael was confused because of how Rogelio came into Jane’s life while they were dating, suddenly out of the blue.  So I’m sure now that they are closer, I’m sure that will be explored next season.  Any time I can have scenes with Jaime Camil, it’s a pleasure because the guy just makes me laugh the whole time.

We are now worried that Petra may have plans for her ex-husband that could further entangle them this next season since she now has that sperm sample.
JUSTIN:  (Laughs) I think that is one of the most brilliant twists that no one ever saw coming.  It was so well played.  I hope they go through with it, ’cause talk about an extra layer of confusion — Petra and Rafael had something real at some point, and now she is going to have his baby too?!  What a conflicting mess that is going to be.  That would be so much fun to experience.

Do you think Petra would actually carry the baby, or would she want to use a surrogate?
JUSTIN:  I would hope that she would go through with it and carry the baby.  ‘Cause remember, Petra didn’t want a surrogate initially, she wanted to get pregnant.  It was an accident.  Petra went to get pregnant, which started the whole storyline with Jane.  I think she would do it.  I hope she does it. (Laughs) The actor hopes she does it for the conflict of the story.

What do you want to see out of Season 2?  Are you looking forward to Rogelio married to Xo, are you looking forward to Petra stirring up Rafael’s life and making it hell again, or what?
JUSTIN:  I’m really looking forward to exploring what fatherhood looks like for Rafael.  This is a guy who has a dark past, who is trying to be the best person he can be and is willing to change.  He’s fallen in love with Jane.  He wants to be the best parent he can be.  He was willing to give up the love of his life for his child.  And now, he is going to be a dad.  I’m really excited to see what kind of dad he’s going to be and what he does for his business since the hotel isn’t a priority anymore — and if Petra does become pregnant, how he handles that and what that is going to be like for him.  So I’m very excited to see that.

"Jane the Virgin"
“Jane the Virgin”
"Jane the Virgin"
“Jane the Virgin”

Yael Grobglas

What can you share about what may be in store for Season 2?
YAEL:  (Laughs)  Jennie won’t tell me anything! I’m just as curious as everyone else.  I am secretly hoping Petra does get pregnant.  That would be just a very interesting turn of events and I can’t wait to see what Petra is like as a mother.  She would either be terrible at it or suddenly develops this maternal instinct and be a lioness of a mother.  That’s the brilliant thing about our writers, it can go anywhere.  We can’t even guess what is going to happen.  But I’m sure it’s going to be organic and real and fun.

Looking back at the first season, what did you love?  What storyline did you love the most?
YAEL:  It’s a bit conflicting because on one hand I like Petra’s comedy.  I like that she gets to be funny.  I feel like all the scenes where she had an accidental-hostage and she was locked in the hotel with her strange mother and her accidental-hostage was hysterical.  All these things, the only way to deal with them as an actor is to think:  how would I deal with this?  So you find yourself sitting there seriously thinking about:  how would I deal with an accidental-hostage?  You deal with some interesting questions.  I also really love the moments when she gets to be vulnerable.  There are a few moments when we got to see her more complete emotional self, and as an actor just to get to play those two sides of her was wonderful.

Petra has had her heart continually crushed by men.
YAEL:  Yes, that is it exactly.  That’s why when somebody asks me now what I am hoping for Petra next season, I just want her to have girl friends. She’s been through enough torment in relationships, and her outlet has been this whole time her mother.  So I just want there to have more friends.

In that scene where Petra finally overheard Rafael and how he had been playing her, what was going through her head at that point?  Was she just like, “Oh, I’m going to get him back” or was she crushed?
YAEL:  I think she was crushed.  She was fully determined to go and do the right thing when the other sample was found and of course, being a telenovela, that was when she hears that he didn’t care about at all and that he just wanted her out of his life.  I think she was crushed and she was yet again heart-broken by the same man who she truly loves and I think she just turns around and does what she thinks is the right thing to do in that moment because she just can’t face him.  When I was filming that scene and collecting that sample, what was going through my head was:  she probably doesn’t know what to do with it.  Literally, what do you do with a sample?  Do you put it in the freezer?  Like, what do you do?  So I think Petra really doesn’t know what her next step is.  I don’t think she has a full plan yet.  But I’m looking forward to finding out what it is going to be.  It’s definitely going to be great.

Petra was also one of the few characters on the verge of death several times last season.  It was quite the surprise she lived through the entire season.
YAEL:  (Laughs) You should have seen me!  When I read the script where her throat was slashed — it was not like it says ahead of time in the script: “she’s pretending” — Jennie let me read through that script and my head and heart stopped.  I stopped breathing for what felt like full three minutes, then I continued reading and it said “Petra opened her eyes and was just fooling her mother.” I was sure Petra was dead for a few more minutes there.

Then Roman Zazo came back and kidnapped her and it was like, “What? Now she’s going to die in a swamp?!”
YAEL:  Exactly!  That was an interesting scene to film because I love action scenes.  Give me action scenes all day. It was a lot of fun.

You would think in the second season that Petra would want to protect her heart a bit more.  She seems like she wears her heart on her sleeve a bit.
YAEL:  On one hand, she is very guarded; on the other hand, she does fall in love very easily.  She does not open up completely, but she does trust more than you think she would.  That’s what makes it so interesting.  To me, she is a very lovable character.

This is not even in the realm of possibility, but fans have been speculating wildly, and one of the things discovered from Season 1 was that the scenes with Petra and Michael were always a lot of fun.
YAEL:  I love acting with Brett [Dier].  He’s amazing.  We play off each other very well and we have great comedic timing together, which is a lot of fun to play.

I could see Petra thinking, “Michael’s a good guy. Maybe I should be with someone like that.”
YAEL:  (Laughs)  I can’t tell you because I don’t know.  I have no idea.  But who knows.  Anything can happen on this show.  That’s what is so great about it.  Everything is open.

How do you feel about the other surprising twist: Rogelio and Xo getting married?
YAEL:  I love them!  I applauded when I read that in the finale.  I thought: “Yes! About time!”

Those two characters are so sort of frozen in their lives.
YAEL:  I just love them.  I love that couple.  We are definitely rooting for them.  I think they are both such wonderful, lovable characters.  I want to see them happy together.

Are you looking forward to working more with Jaime and Andrea perhaps next season?
YAEL: You know, I don’t know if I have had any scenes with them.  But I am also looking forward to seeing more interesting mix-ups between character interactions together next season.  I would like to see what Petra and Rogelio’s interaction would be like, and Petra and Xo or even Petra and Alba, that would be great.  They are all such good friends of mine in real life that I am really looking forward to acting with them.

"Jane the Virgin"
“Jane the Virgin”
"Jane the Virgin"
“Jane the Virgin”

Jaime Camil

JANE THE VIRGIN had such an amazing first season, but it broke my heart in the finale with the baby being kidnapped.
JAIME:  (Laughs) Oh my god, Jennie is crazy. What’s wrong with her?! Stealing babies away.  But that means she did a great job then.  We decided as a cast to not read the final episode until the table read.  So we all were very surprised.  We were reading episode 22 at the table read and we were like, “What?! Oh my god!”  There was a lot of cliffhanger moments.

What do you think Rogelio’s reaction is going to be finding out his grandchild has been abducted?
JAIME:  He’s probably going to call the Mexican Embassy and Gloria Estefan for help, and most probably, Gloria Estefan will be the one to help.

She’ll solve everything then.
JAIME:  Always.

Did you sit down with Jennie and go, “Why are you breaking everybody’s hearts?”
JAIME:  No, we respect Jennie to the fullest and we have full trust on whatever she decides for the characters.  We just need to be loyal to the book and whatever she decides to write, we need to make it work.  But we all trust her to the fullest, her and her amazing team of writers.  They are just brilliant, all of them.  So we are in good hands.  We are not greedy when it comes to like, “I want this for my character.”  We are very respectful, and we are respectful because we trust her talent — a lot.

Are you looking forward to seeing Rogelio portrayed as a married man now?
JAIME:  (Laughs) I don’t know what is going to happen.  But Rogelio is not going to cope well with the fact that he’s a grandpa. That will not make sense in his brain, I can tell you that.  And also marriage.  Let’s see what happens.  We are not kept in the circle of trust of Jennie and her writers, so we don’t know what next curveball she is going to throw at us.  We truly don’t know, which is brilliant as an actor.  It keeps you surprised.  So I like that.

We are looking forward to seeing Rogelio carry Xo over the threshold and seeing where married life might take them.
JAIME:  Hey, I just want the baby back! It’s all about the baby now.

With the possibility of another baby on the horizon and the fate of Jane and Rafael’s baby still hanging in the balance, plus whatever new mad-cap adventures await all our favorite characters, be sure to tune in for all new episodes of JANE THE VIRGIN this Fall on Monday nights at 9:00 p.m. on the CW.

"Jane the Virgin"
“Jane the Virgin”
"Jane the Virgin"
“Jane the Virgin”
%d bloggers like this: