‘Ugly Betty’: ‘We always want to surprise our audience’

Posted by Kathy Lyford

The Ugly Betty Q&A is ready! Silvio Horta has responded to your questions and the answers are below.

I sent him all the compliments that preceded the questions and they made him very happy. He received all of your questions and he chose the following ones to answer. (I requested that he answer at least one Gio question since so many of you seemed to be interested in that character.) In some cases, similar questions were combined.

Horta_2You won’t find a sweeter guy in Hollywood than Silvio Horta. He never has a bad word to say about anyone and he’s very humble. His family and his culture are very important to him. He’s very proud of his show and I’m sure he’d want to thank all of you for watching. (I love this picture of him from last year’s Emmys with all his girls.)

And I would like to thank Silvio for his time because I know he has very little of it to spare. I’d also like to thank each of you for participating and waiting so patiently for the answers. And here we go…

Q. How closely are the characters in Ugly Betty based on the other Betty show around the world?
— James
A. “Ugly Betty” is based on the Colombian television show, “Yo Soy Betty La Fea,” which roughly translates to “I am Betty the ugly one.” Of course Betty’s character resembles her Colombian counterpart, but in personality she is vastly different. This comes from cultural differences, my writing choices, America Ferrera’s acting choices, and so on. The shape and premise of the series is the same, but the characters, their stories, their voice, etc. are different.

Q. Do you still use the green screen process since you’ve moved to New York and do you find filming in the actual city takes more time than in the studio with the special effects? — Lynn
A. We may occasionally use green screen effects in episodes, but we don’t use them to simulate New York anymore. Filming exterior scenes in New York, for instance, is much easier and rewarding now.  The city is a pleasure to work in and with and our shots come out more beautifully than we could have ever faked in Los Angeles. Part of this is because when we had to use N.Y. in the background while filming in L.A., we still had to use actual background footage shot in N.Y., and filming the actors in front of a green screen instead of a real environment added a layer of artificialness that was difficult to overcome. Now that we can film the actors in the actual N.Y. environments in which the show is set, the payoff is exponentially satisfying.