In an interview with the Huffington Post, Eva Longoria defended the upcoming ABC pilot “Devious Maids” that she’s executive producing. The show centers around four Latina maids in Beverly Hills with stories that Longoria says are worth telling.
Written by “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry and based on the Mexican format, “Devious Maids” follows four maids with ambition and dreams of their own while they work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. Ana Ortiz (“Ugly Betty”), Roselyn Sanchez (“Without A Trace”), Dania Ramirez (“Heroes”), and Judy Reyes (“Scrubs”) have signed on to star in the four leading roles.
“They are the leads of the show, and they are playing maids, which is a realistic reflection of our society today in America,” Longoria told the Huffington Post.
“When we get any sort of backlash like that-“Oh, they’re just playing the stereotypical maids”-my immediate response is, ‘So you’re telling me those stories aren’t worth telling. That those people are lesser than. That their stories aren’t worth exploring. That they have no complexity in their life because they’re a maid?’” Longoria went on to say.
Of all the roles available for actors on television only 4.3% of them go to Latinos, according to the most recent date obtained by the Screen Actors Guild. These number account for guest appearances in which a character may only have one line so it’s unclear how many Latinos are in leading roles but it’s certainly a dismal number—so there is something meaningful there when Longoria says her show will feature Latina leads.
But some say it may meaningless if they don’t present Latinos in a positive light.
“Part of me is thrilled when there is a Latino image on the big screen,” said Nancy de los Santos, who co-directed the documentary, The Bronze Screen: 100 Years of the Latino Image in American Cinema. “If I am given a choice that there will be a maid or none at all, I would choose the maid. I can only hope that they would take domestic workers and make them multidimensional characters.”
But considering it’s coming from the creator of Desperate Housewives, a soap opera rife with naughty characters and murderous plot twists, Devious Maids will likely just serve up fun romps rather than introspection.
“If the title is Devious Maids, then you have to go in as an audience realizing that it will be a very specific type of show and not one that is designed to enhance or uplift the Latino community,” said Ligiah Villalobos, a television and film writer, whose Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Firelight will air in April. “Most soap operas are not there to enlighten, they are there to entertain.”
Susan Lucci has signed on to the project and will play Genevieve Delacourt, the “wealthy but borderline crazy employer” of one of the maids, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“Devious Maids” marks the first pilot Longoria is executive producing, according to Deadine.com.
(h/t Huffington Post