Jane The Virgin’s Jaime Camil opens up about series finale


Jaime Camil opens up with us about Jane the Virgin’s series finale, including the love of the cast, working with guest stars like Britney Spears, and the emotions that come with saying adiós to such a groundbreaking show.

Jane The Virgin was a sleeper hit after its premiere on The CW in 2014. When the show’s lead actress, Gina Rodriguez, won a Golden Globe for her performance in the first season — the network’s first nomination and win — people really took notice. After five years of the Villanueva family, the show’s fifth and final season is on the way, sure to be just as heartwarming, shocking, and hilarious as ever.

Every season of Jane The Virgin has made our heads spin with all the twist and turns, and it seems like season 5 isn’t going to be any different!

Who tried to kill Petra? What’s happening with Michael? Who will Jane end up with? And most importantly, what is Rogelio up to?! It wouldn’t be Jane The Virgin without a few telenovela twists!

In anticipation for the new season’s premiere next month, Culturess had a chance to chat with  Jaime Camil, who plays Rogelio, about what’s to come this season. We also took a look back at the groundbreaking show’s impact. We discussed everything from the show’s talented crew of writers, Camil’s favorite guest stars, to just how hard it will be to say goodbye to Jane The Virgin once and for all.

Jane The Virgin — “Chapter Forty” — Image Number: JAV218_0191.jpg – Pictured (L-R): Gina Rodriguez as Jane and Jaime Camil as Rogelio — Photo: Patrick Wymore/The CW — © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved

Personally, I’m really looking forward to the new season of Jane The Virgin, so let’s just jump right into it! When we first met Rogelio, he was the self-obsessed telenovela star. How do you think he has changed, going into the last season?

Well, thank God Jennie Urman and her amazing team of writers have given me a character who is very well-rounded, very well-balanced, and very well-written. So, of course, it has been a joy and a blessing and a privilege to have a character that has evolved, because if you have a character that does not evolve then people get tired of him and her. They’re like okay, that’s it? I’m done, next. In the wise words of Ariana Grande, “thank you, next!”

I’ve been very lucky because the character has been very well-written and very well-balanced and I love where they have taken Rogelio. Rogelio could have gone tremendously wrong on paper, but thank God it’s a beautiful creative process between the director, the showrunners, Jennie Urman, the actors who execute and deliver the lines. It’s a beautiful creative process that we all pitch in a little bit so we get great characters. Not only Rogelio, but for example, Petra. Who would’ve thought Petra being the villain would be now one of the most loved characters on the show?

Especially, a character like Petra, you wouldn’t expect to feel bad for. But there have been plenty of times now that we’ve actually felt really bad for her!


Let me get the obvious question out of the way: What can we expect from the new season? What are you actually able to tell us?

It’s going to be the same, you know, turn of events, crazy telenovela twists and crazy telenovela tropes that you’ve been seeing throughout four seasons. That’s not going to change. The essence of Jane is there. It’s just the audience is probably going to start seeing closures. Storylines are going to be resolved, you’re going to start to see how Petra’s story is resolved, how Rogelio and Xiomara’s story is resolved, Jane’s love triangle is going to be resolved. So it’s going to be a lot of closure for all of the characters.

The same energy, the same craziness, the same Jane The Virgin universe will be present, of course!

Yes! So you mentioned they were closing up all these storylines. Last season, viewers were shocked when they found out Michael was still alive on the season 4 finale. Rogelio considered Michael his best friend, so how did you react when you found out that twist? Was it kept under tight wraps on the set?

Well, you know, because you like the show, let’s just say this, let’s tell the truth to your audience: the real love story of the show is Michael and Rogelio!

Well of course!

Everybody knows that. The love story is Michael and Rogelio and not Jane obviously! I don’t know if you know this but we do not belong in Jennie Urman’s circle of trust. As actors, we don’t know what’s going to happen on the show, for real.

When we were reading the final episode of season 4, and we were at the last page, and the narrator was like “so it is, my friends” and there were no more pages on the script. We were like, “Is your script missing a page? Yeah, mine too! What’s going to happen?”

Then Jennie Urman takes out a page from her backpack, “So it is my friends, when Jane saw Michael…” and we were like “Whaaat?!” And — there’s a video of this — then Brett [Dier] walks into the room and we’re like “What the f–k?!”

Your audience should know that we get equally shocked and surprised as they get when we’re reading the episode. It is amazing, it’s an amazing process.

It definitely seems like it was just as dramatic for you guys as it was for us because that was really shocking.

It is! Totally, like when we found out who Sin Rostro was, and all these crazy turn of events, like Xio’s cancer, we learn these things when we read them. It’s not like Jennie Urman has meetings with us, like, “Hey listen, in three months, this is going to happen.”

I think the only thing we knew in advance, and it was just because they didn’t want our hearts to be broken, Jennie was writing Michael’s death, she called us like two-three months in advance because she knew how much we loved Brett and how much we love each other dearly and sincerely on this show.

So she was like a good mom, she was protecting us, she was protecting our feelings by letting us know in advance that Brett was no longer going to be with us.

Like you said, the show is inspired a lot by telenovelas, especially with the wild twists and turns. When you first got the show, did you ever worry the English-language market wasn’t ready for this type of show? Did you ever think it would be this big of a hit?

Not at all, because I think a show sustains itself with great writing. No matter if you use telenovela tropes or you know, musical comedy tropes, it doesn’t matter. I think any show should sustain itself by its writing, and this is the case with Jane. It’s a very intelligent, brilliantly written show. We never go off the script, to be honest, we don’t even change a comma or a period of the script, because everything is there. The brilliant material is on the pages, so there’s no need to go off-script.

Jane The Virgin — “Chapter Fifty” — Image Number: JAV306b_067b.jpg — Pictured(L-R): Andrea Navedo as Xo, Gina Rodriguez as Jane and Jaime Camil as Rogelio — Photo: Michael Desmond/The CW — © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

When it’s that good, you really don’t need to be coming up with your own jokes or your own lines, now would you? Now, a show like this has been so important, especially given today’s political climate in the U.S. Did you draw at all from your own life experiences, or were there any stories you really related to?

Well, not me personally, but we do have a Mexican head writer, Carolina Rivera. What I love about Jane is that when we tap into these subjects, these politically sensitive subjects, we do it in a not-pretentious way. We don’t want to educate anyone. What we do want is to give our point of view and opinion of the politically incorrect era that this country is leading right now. But we don’t do it in a way that’s like “We’re Jane The Virgin and we’re here to educate you about what’s right, and what’s wrong.”

No, it’s like, this is what’s happening, this is how the writer and the showrunner perceives and sees what is happening, and we’re going to talk about it like you would talk about it over coffee with your friends, and that’s good.

I definitely think it comes off like that. I’m a fan of the show, and I never once thought it came off as preachy. It really was very natural and the characters were very easy to relate to because they’re so likable. Even the ones who weren’t likable, like Petra, as you pointed out, we got storylines that were so well-written that we liked her!

I think that’s because all of the characters are human. I think we come from a very sincere place, and we come from the heart. Imagine a guy telling you, “I want my daughter to have the pleasure of knowing me.” You’d go like, “What the f–k? You pretentious pr–k!”

But because Rogelio really believes in his heart that Jane must have the honor of meeting him, instead of you slapping the hell out of Rogelio, you go, “Awww he’s right! Jane should have the pleasure of knowing him!”

I don’t know how the hell we get away with it, but I think it’s a combination of the brilliant writing and the sincereness of how we play the characters. We live in a crazy, extraordinary, out of this world universe, but we truly believe this universe we live in, and we truly believe this in our hearts and I think that transcends the script and that’s why the audience connects with us.

Well, when it started, it was really unlike any other show on TV and that’s why critics and fans and everyone really loved it.

I agree. And kudos to Jennie [Urman], and kudos to The CW and Mark Pedowitz [the president of The CW]. Could you imagine, convincing network executives to have this show? First of all, three Latina leading ladies, and then one of them only speaking Spanish? Like, what?! Standing ovation to Mark Pedowitz, Jennie Urman, and Ben Silverman, and everybody involved in the show.

Jane The Virgin — “Chapter Twenty-Nine” — Image Number: JAV207c_0290.jpg — Pictured: Jaime Camil as Rogelio — Photo: Greg Gayne/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Now that we’re going into the last season, obviously there’s a lot of looking back and remembering all the fond memories. The show has covered so many important issues, like immigration, abortion, even LGBTQ issues, and you’ve had some huge guest stars like Rita Moreno. What was your favorite moment on the show?

Oh my God, I think it’s a very, very difficult question. I’m not going to tell you “All of them!” and be cutesy and get away from it, but honestly, all of it. I have been very privileged to play, in a way, the comic relief of the show, so every single scene that I do is extremely funny and extremely joyful to execute.

For example, I love the Villanueva interactions when they sit down on the Porch of Tears. You know, the porch of the Villanueva family that, every time they sit there they just cry? That’s why we call it the “Porch of Tears”.

You know, those bonding moments are beautiful, like Jane’s wedding, when I danced with Gina [Rodriguez] it was amazing. When Gina calls my character “dad” for the first time. There are so many, and why are there so many?

Again, because this show is written with a lot of heart, so it’s not like slapstick, slapstick, slapstick, heart, slapstick, slapstick, slapstick. It’s not like that. It’s heart, heart, heart, slapstick, heart, heart, heart.

And of course, the audience laughs more with us and they laugh harder with us, because they are already invested with us via the heart. You enjoy more of the happiness and suffer more of the sadness of the characters when you’ve connected with them through your heart.

I think it’s really refreshing, even just hearing the way you talk about the show. Obviously, when people are on a show, they can grow to love each other. But hearing you talk about it, you really get that sense of heart and that sense of family that the show is trying to portray and I love that.

Thank you, man. It is truly sincere. I’m sure you’ve interviewed a lot of celebrities and you’ve heard the horrible Hollywood horror stories about how they can’t stand each other, and they fight over who has the bigger dressing room… We don’t have that on this show, thank God. It’s all love, it’s a Costa Rican party every single day. When we have day players or special guests, it’s like “Hey, how are you? Do you need anything? Would you like a tea? Come sit with us!” The day players look at us like “What the…? Is this a trick question? Am I going to be Punk’d eventually? Why is this guy so nice to us?” That’s just the way we are!

Jane The Virgin — “Chapter Twenty-Seven” — Image Number: JAV205c_0274.jpg — Pictured (L-R): Jaime Camil as Rogelio and Britney Spears — Photo: Greg Gayne/The CW — © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

So you mentioned guest stars. I have a bit of a personal question that I had to ask. How was it having Britney Spears on the show? Because I am a huge fan.

It was amazing.

Were there any guest stars that made you starstruck?

Well my third best friend in the world, Bruno Mars, of course. That was a huge moment for me. But Britney was in-credible. If you’re a fan, you picked a good one to be a fan of! She is so professional. She’s been through a lot in life. You could tell that she’s really cautious and she really doesn’t open herself up because she’s been hurt a lot and you can tell that. So she’s very cautious when it comes to “I’m going to be your friend” or “I’m going to interact with you” because I don’t know what your intentions are, but it took her two f–king milliseconds to realize that everybody on Jane is a true and sincere and kind person.

So we had a great conversation with her and it was funny and she was so professional and she was there on time. She asked for cue cards just for her to feel secure, but she knew her lines. She was just asking for cue cards because, I don’t know, maybe another show told her that she needed cue cards, but she really doesn’t need cue cards because she knew her lines perfectly well.

It was amazing working with her, she’s a pop icon. Everybody was so happy to be with her. There was her, Rita Morena, Kesha, Bruno Mars, and this season we have Sophia Bush — forget it! And we were very privileged because you know, she mentioned in an interview in People or something that one of her favorite shows was Jane The Virgin. That is why our showrunner felt confident enough to give her a call to invite her to the show.

I’m so happy to hear that! So not to end on a sad note, but it is the last season of Jane The Virgin. Will it be hard to say goodbye to Rogelio, and to the whole Jane The Virgin family once this is all done?

Well, we’re not saying goodbye, because we have developed true and sincere friendships, so we’re going to see each other often once the show ends. But we are getting some reality checks when we’re shooting and we’re like “I don’t know Jane, I might not ever see you again!” And we pause and we’re like “Holy sh–t.”

Not that we’re never going to see each other again obviously, but my point is, oh sh–t, we’re not going to be on this set doing this ever again. So that’s a reality check that obviously hurts a lot because we love each other.

The other day we were doing a scene, Gina and I, and we were changing the setting of the camera and Gina and I were a little bit teary-eyed. And then we looked at each other, and we locked eyes, and Gina started crying. And I also started to cry and she goes, “Dude, I just realized we’re not going to be doing this anymore, like working with you and I realized how sad it was going to be not doing scenes with you anymore.” So, of course, I started crying again immediately with her.

So we are getting these reality checks that really, really hurt, but at the same time we are celebrating the joy and happiness that this show has brought to us, to the audience, and to the many journalists and critics who love the show, thank God.

So we are celebrating every single day that we are on set, we celebrate the fact that we are still there and we’re still creating magic and we’re still giving joy to so many people. We are concentrating more on the joy than the sadness that we won’t get to play on the same set in the near future.

The new season of Jane The Virgin premieres March 27 on The CW.