Jaime Camil on Closing a Chapter on 'Jane the Virgin' & Opening Another With 'Broke'

Scott Fishman
Q&A Kevin Estrada/The CW -- © 2019 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The last bit of suds are pouring out of the bucket known as Jane the Virgin, which wraps on CW with its series finale July 31. The heartwarming dramedy delighted audiences and introduced many to the over-the-top elements of the telenovela bringing its share of twists and turns over the course of five seasons. 

At the center of the series is Gina Rodriguez, whose Jane secured her a historic Golden Globe win. However, viewers also fell in love with other members of the family including Jane’s father Rogelio de la Vega, played by Jaime Camil. The multi-faceted star’s character turn earned him a Teen Choice Award and two Critics’ Choice Awards.

Here, Camil reflects on his time working on the show and embarking on a new television journey alongside Jane creator Jennie Snyder Urman with the upcoming CBS sitcom Broke

We’re getting to the end of Jane the Virgin. It’s starting to get a little more real. What kind of impact do you think the show has had when it comes to ethnic representation?
Jaime Camil: I think the show was revamped when we hit Netflix. People started to binge-watch the show, that was a huge difference for us. I do love the fact that Jane the Virgin is about a Hispanic family because that’s where I come from, so that’s obviously amazing.

But I think representation comes regardless of ethnicity or demographics. I think good representation comes from well-written stories and from intelligent shows. Thank god we have an amazing show-runner with an amazing group of writers. Thank god we are happy to be portraying a Latino or Hispanic family, which is amazing. The fact is we could be Turkish. We could be Vietnamese. We could be from the Netherlands. It doesn’t matter because the show is so powerful and well-written that of course whatever demographic or ethnicity you are representing on the show it will be represented and a success. 

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How would you compare the atmosphere on set from past seasons?
Every single season was the same in that we missed a lot of each other deeply. It wasn’t an act for social media platforms. We really love each other. Every single season we went back with the same energy, gratitude to the fact we were employed working on a beautiful show.

That’s why Jane the Virgin was so consistent, not only because of the writing, but because the energy from the actors. We were always giving our best...The last season was much of the same. We had time to mourn. We said goodbye in a very gradual way. We had had the last reading where we cried and hugged. Then we shot for a month-and-a-half after that. We shot key scenes that were very sad to shoot, but at the same time, they were very joyful because we like to concentrate on the beautiful ride this show has been for all of. Every single day on the set was a gift. 

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Did you take anything from the set?
I wanted to steal the flower that was framed from the first episode. I wanted it, but I think someone else has it. I didn’t know this was a thing. Everyone took something from set except me. I guess it was like, “Let’s prank the Mexican. He doesn’t know how we roll here.”

But at least Jennie took the famous “porch of tears.” You know the porch swing where the Villanueva women always cry. We call that the “Porch of Tears.” It’s beautifully set at Jennie’s house. I think Jennie took some of the flamingos from The Marbella. A lot of people took a lot of things. 

Viewers have seen Rogelio change over time when it comes to the importance of family. Will he find the professional and personal happiness he is striving for in the end?
For Jane the Virgin, happy endings are very relative. Happy ending on Jane is not a happy ending on another show. I think the finale is going to be great because fans are going to get closure. The storylines will end well. I think fans will be very happy about how stories close. And that’s because of Janie and her amazing team of writers. 

You’ve had so many memorable moments on the show, many of them featuring some big guest stars. Do you have a favorite?
Bruno Mars was amazing. Interacting with Britney Spears was super fun. And of course, Rita Moreno. It was incredible that we had her as my mom. We had so many. Rogelio was friends of celebrities or at least he thought he was friends of celebrities. I was privileged to play with a lot of people I admire. It was fun for me. 

You’re getting the chance to further collaborate with Jennie on the upcoming CBS midseason comedy Broke. How do you think the tenor of the show will compare to Jane as you transition to a sitcom?
I love to do musical theater, so the multi-cam sitcom with a live audience is as close we get to that. So I was happy to do it. There was this idea for this property Broke, which is Qué Pobres Tan Ricos, a Colombian property where I was the lead. Jennie loved that idea to adapt it into a multi-cam. CBS loved it. We have the order to series, and I think we are going to start with 13 episodes mid-season. We start shooting October 1.

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We talked about a lot of options. A Rogelio spinoff was on the table, but spinoffs are tricky. Spinoffs, you take a show people love a hundred percent. Then you take fifty percent out of the show and hope this fifty percent flourishes into another hundred percent. It’s tricky. Jennie, the brilliant woman she is, thought the best route was to develop a new show. She was right on the money. 

A big deal was made about Pauley Perrette being cast on Broke, her first regular gig since NCIS. What is it like to have her on board? 

She is a very gifted actress. I think that actors that are gifted and have the talent can definitely take on any challenge people throw at them. She is a very sweet girl. I don’t know the details, but I heard her stay on NCIS wasn’t smooth sailing all the time. But I love being with her and working with her.

I really think she feels she is in a safe place right now because we have the same energy on Broke that we have on Jane the Virgin. Nothing but a love fest. We love each other.. There is no rivalry. I’m sure you’ve heard these Hollywood horror stories...We’re a family. We don’t have any of that...It’s beautiful to create but with love. 

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Looking back at Jane the Virgin and beyond the spinoff talk, there have been shows that have done movies or a limited-type series like Gilmore Girls. Is this something you want to see down the line or will this be the last we see of Rogelio?
I think Jennie has some sort of idea of doing a reunion...Nothing confirmed, but I heard she wants to do something getting together after a couple of years to show where we are at that point. That would be fun. Getting back together with these people I love and admire so much, it would be a dream come true to play with them again. 

Jane the Virgin, Series Finale, Wednesday, July 31, 9/8c, The CW.

The final episode is preceded by an hourlong "celebratory episode" at 8/7c.