BY NINA TERRERO
Plus: All the sexy, funny, and sweet details straight from set
Gina Rodriguez is sobbing on the Los Angeles set of Jane the Virgin. The actress has filmed numerous takes of a tearjerker scene for the season 3 premiere, and given the heart-wrenching news her character has just received, it’s no wonder the waterworks are flowing. Despite everything plucky Jane has gone through over the past two seasons — including a surprise artificial insemination with her ex-crush’s sperm, two devastating breakups, finding her long-lost father, and defeating the odds to chase her dreams of becoming a professional romance writer — the momentous scene in a bleak hospital hallway might just be the most sobering moment on the series to date.
But the second that director Gina Lamar yells “Cut!” Rodriguez wipes away her tears and breaks into a sunny smile, revealing a glimpse of the everygirl charm and natural talent that helped catapult her from an unknown actress to one of young Hollywood’s brightest stars and earned her a Golden Globe.
“You learn to replace your energy in some other thought than the one in the scene,” the 32-year-old actress explains. And she’ll be doing a lot of that, as this season brings out a different side of the normally lighthearted Jane. “You see her in the lowest of lows,” reveals Rodriguez of her character’s emotional arc ahead. “It’s very heavy.”
For showrunner and creator Jennie Snyder Urman, putting her leading lady through the proverbial wringer is part of her plan to take Jane — a loose adaptation of a popular Venezuelan telenovela — into new creative territory.
“This year’s theme is about growing up in a real, deeper way,” says Urman. “All of our characters are taking major steps forward.”
Growing up, however, doesn’t mean abandoning the show’s signature blend of heartfelt story lines, soap opera tropes, tongue-in-cheek humor, and a sincere — not stereotypical — depiction of Hispanic culture. Over 44 episodes, Urman’s family-focused effort has earned success with critics and millennials alike, a surprising feat for a show that markets itself as a sweetly comedic spin on the typical telenovela format.
“I really feel the balance of our show works best when it has all of these different elements,” reflects Urman. “As long as we have a lot of those elements going on, which is the trick of the show, it can hopefully speak to and affect a lot of different kinds of people.”