Roselyn Sanchez on her big responsibility in Fantasy Island reboot
The plane, the plane!
A new incarnation of “Fantasy Island,” is hitting Fox without the show’s famous catch-phrase — but with a few new additions, including star Roselyn Sanchez.
“I was very young when it first aired,” Sanchez, 48, told The Post. “But in Puerto Rico we had it. It was dubbed in Spanish. I remember the white suits and the stories that were scary and so much fun, and Tattoo going to ring the bell. So, I was very familiar with the concept. Of course, once I got the part, I went on YouTube to get reacquainted with the premise.”
The original “Fantasy Island” aired on ABC (1977-1984) and followed the mysterious Mr. Roarke (Ricardo Montalban) and his assistant, Tattoo (Herve Villechaize) as they granted visiting guests “fantasies” for a price.
The reboot (premiering Tuesday, Aug 10 at 9 p.m.) stars Sanchez (“Without A Trace”) as Elena Roarke, a descendant of Mr. Roarke who’s the new steward of the island. Each episode showcases different guests as they arrive at this enigmatic luxury resort hoping to fulfill their fantasies.
For instance, in the series premiere, Elena welcomes a local morning-show host, Christine Collins (Bellamy Young) to the island, who wishes to eat without gaining weight, only to find that she gets more than she bargained for; and Ruby Akuda (Kiara Barnes), a woman who’s afflicted with a terminal illness and is given a new lease on life in an unexpected way.
Another episode features an adventurous couple (Dave and Odette Annable) who are looking to re-connect with each other and find that the island has startling methods on how to accomplish this.
“Elena is a complicated human being,” said Sanchez. “It’s a big responsibility; I’m playing an iconic character played by a man originally. At times she’s funny and she’s very regal. At the end of the day, the most important thing for me as an actress to bring to the character is compassion. These people visiting the island have a need, and she helps them navigate this whole journey that’s potentially life-changing. Sometimes she’s playing with them. It’s like a rainbow of emotions that she goes through. She’s a figure of great authority — you don’t want to make her so guarded that then she’s not that interesting.”
Although Fantasy Island’s location is not specified on the show, the sandy beaches and clear waters come from using Puerto Rico as a filming location, which had special significance for Sanchez (although she’s currently based in LA).
“The fact that it was shooting in my homeland meant so much to me,” she said. “I couldn’t wait to go back home and be the lead of an American network show. A lot of the crew members were people I used to work with. I started on TV in Puerto Rico. One of the camera operators was the camera operator of a show I did when I was 19. The director of photography was, too. These are people that have known me since I left Puerto Rico with a bag full of dreams. So, to go back and be able to work again as colleagues was emotional.”
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