Jaime Camil Q&A: ‘Jane the Virgin’
"It's beautiful that the critics have been extremely kind to the show," says actor Jaime Camil about the abundant media support for the CW's "Jane the Virgin." Star Gina Rodriguez won a Golden Globe earlier this year, and the series earned a trio of Critics' Choice nominations, including one for Camil, but while many celebs bristle at the thought of sharing the room with critics who pass judgment on their work, Camil felt exactly the opposite. "Then they gave us zero awards," he adds with a grin, "and then it became awkward."
But he isn't really cross with critics. His character, vain telenovela star Rogelio De La Vega, would say, "The nomination means nothing. Only the awards matter." But for Camil, "Just the fact that we were recognized, it's a true honor. Of course, it feels amazing if you win, but the result of our work is not to get awards, it's just to make people happy."
The Emmys are coming up next, and though the CW has struggled for recognition in years past, "Jane the Virgin" could be the network's best chance yet. Even still, he's keeping those kudos in perspective too. "We have high hopes," he says, "and we're excited about it, but you also need to be realistic. Let's see what happens."
Camil steals scenes as Rogelio, whose life changes when he discovers that he has a grown daughter, Jane (Rodriguez). But even though his oversized ego gets in his way, the character has endeared himself to viewers. The actor explains of Rogelio's appeal, "If any human being tells you, 'I want my daughter to have the pleasure of knowing me,' you have two options: either you slap him, or you hug him."
But Camil attributes the character's lovability to series creator Jennie Snyder Urman: "This is a brilliantly written character … You have to be not a very good actor to screw it up."
"Jane the Virgin" pokes fun at the outlandish twists and turns of Spanish-language soap operas, but it's an affectionate portrayal, and "I think the show plays a beautiful homage to the telenovela culture in Latin America." However, he doesn't actually think of the show as a telenovela itself: "It does have telenovela elements, but it's pretty much a mainstream show for the US mainstream market … [These characters] could be from any part of the world. It's just a very well written show for human beings, not for a specific demographic or a specific ethnicity."
The series is nevertheless chock full of outlandish drama and romance, including a love triangle between Jane and her two devoted suitors: longtime beau Michael (Brett Dier) and sexy hotelier Rafael (Justin Baldoni), who sweeps her off her feet after accidentally impregnating her in a medical mix-up.
Viewers are divided over whom she should pick, but Camil is unequivocally on Team Michael. He prefers the steadfast nice guy over the hunky interloper, in part because he has children of his own. "That's going to be easy because my daughter is going to live inside a dungeon until she's 43, so I'm not going to have to deal with her dating," he jokes. "And when she goes out at 43 and she comes back pregnant or married, then so be it."