Eva Longoria is known to daytime fans as diabolical Isabella on The Young and the Restless and to primetime fans as loveable Gaby on Desperate Housewives. Now, she’s adding yet another serial to her list of credits as executive producer of Grand Hotel. But that’s not her only role on the ABC nighttime soap!
Grand Hotel is based on a period piece series from Spain. Longoria and the show’s creative team contemporized this version by setting it in modern-day Miami.
“It has a lot of themes of [the television series] Upstairs, Downstairs, but we thought it was very unique to have the ‘Upstairs’ be a Hispanic family and to show a different community,” Longoria says.
The main family of Grand Hotel is the Mendoza clan, headed by patriarch Demián Bichir as Santiago Mendoza. Roselyn Sanchez (ex-Pilar, As The World Turns, Without A Trace) plays Gigi, his second wife.
Children from Santiago’s first marriage are Denyse Ton (Alicia) and Bryan Craig (Javi; ex-Morgan, General Hospital). Lincoln Younes plays Danny, a new hotel employee who has a secret agenda – he’s determined to find out what happened to his missing sister. Longoria tells Soap Hub that she’ll appear onscreen too.
“It’s so funny because when Brian [Tanen, executive producer] wrote the show, I asked, ‘Wait, there’s not a part for me?’ Then we thought of this wonderful role [of Beatriz, Santiago’s first wife, who will be seen in flashbacks in approximately four episodes]. “I’m very excited about it!”
The hotel setting lends itself to guest stars. Among those “checking in” for guest spots on the show are Freddie Stroma (Pitch Perfect) and Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy).
“We have lots of wonderful people who visit the hotel,” Tanen says. “We have stories about the family that owns the hotel and stories about the staff who work at the hotel.”
The show is a reunion for Longoria and Sanchez, whom the former YR star recalls working with on another series after Longoria exited Genoa City but before she moved onto Wisteria Lane.
“Roselyn is absolutely my muse,” Longoria raves. “I can’t think of doing another show without Roselyn.” The two had worked together when Sanchez guest-starred on L.A. Dragnet while Longoria was still learning certain technical issues related to primetime series.
“[Roselyn] was like, ‘Mama don’t let them put the camera there’ and ‘Watch your light,'” Longoria recalls. “She taught me everything I know. The only reason I’m here is because of Roz.”
Grand Hotel debuts on Monday, June 17 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.