×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Listen: Jeanine Mason on Being a Leading Latina in CW’s ‘Roswell, New Mexico’

Welcome to “TV Take,” Variety’s television podcast. In this week’s episode, Variety TV critic Caroline Framke talks with Jeanine Mason, star of the CW’s new drama “Roswell, New Mexico.”

The series is the second adaptation of the “Roswell High” book series by Melinda Metz. The first series premiered in 1999 and starred Shiri Appleby as the main character, Liz Parker. However, the CW version of the show reverts the character back to being the Latina Liz Ortecho, as in the novels, a significant choice according to Mason.

“It never struck me as anything other than a great idea to reboot this property, primarily because she’s Liz Ortecho, and that is honoring the book series and there was so much of the story left to explore,” Mason says. “A lot of it lies in the fact that the lead woman is Latina, and she’s ignited, she’s on fire, she’s a scientist, she’s a curious a protagonist who is jaded, and she has her world turned upside down by this big secret that’s revealed.”

Mason is probably best known for winning “So You Think You Can Dance” when she was just 18 years old and “four days out of high school.”

The former “Grey’s Anatomy” star says one of the reasons she was attracted to her latest role was the physicality of the character, which allowed her to bring her prolific performing background to the part.

“I love true showmen, that’s a little bit of everything, the singing, the dancing, the acting, using your vessel from head-to-toe to be involved in every moment of your artistry, and I think you see a lot of my dance training in Liz Artecho,” Mason says. “She’s a very physical woman, she is rooted firmly into the ground, her feet are planted, she speaks in a lower register and she carries all of her intelligence and that requires a spine, it’s all connected.”

“Roswell, New Mexico” represents the third show, after “Grey’s” and the ABC Family show “Bunheads,” that Mason has worked with female showrunners, and the actress says that they each gave her the courage and support she needed to feel confident in taking on big roles.

“This was an incredibly daunting task, particularly being the Latina lead of a broadcast television for the first time. But it just seemed like it was not that far of a reach, and I think it’s because I came from all of these women encouraging me and telling me I was capable and telling me I was great,” Mason reveals.

As for a prospective season two for “Roswell,” Mason is keeping her “fingers firmly crossed.”

She adds that she would love to see more of the show’s undocumented storyline, which was established in season one.

“It would be so powerful to create this visual so that people can see, with the perspective of a young person, what it feels like to have someone you don’t know walk into your house, detain your parents, remove them, and seem like this giant shadow,” Mason concludes.

Later in the show, critics Daniel D’Addario and Caroline Framke preview Netflix’s “Turn Up Charlie” and Hulu’s “The Act.” Finally, TV writer Will Thorne talks about the college bribery scandal that has ensnared actors Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • NBCUNIVERSAL LOGOS -- Pictured: "E!" Logo

    NBCUniversal Cable Hit With Significant Layoffs

    Another round of layoffs are set to impact NBCUniversal’s E!, Bravo, Oxygen, USA and Syfy networks Thursday, a source familiar with the situation tells Variety, not long after the E! network laid off around 20-25 staff in August. This round of layoffs is likely to impact fewer than 45 employees, more than last month’s news [...]

  • Peaky Blinders Season 5

    Time-Jumping Season 5 of 'Peaky Blinders' Aims for a More Cinematic Look

    Cinematographer Si Bell was thrilled to learn he and director Anthony Byrne had been tapped to shoot the fifth season of BBC’s “Peaky Blinders,” but surprised to find out how free a hand executive producers Caryn Mandabach and Jamie Glazebrook were giving them to determine the scheme of their six-episode run. “I expected to meet the [...]

  • Daniel Levy Schitts Creek

    'Schitt's Creek' Co-Creator Dan Levy Signs ABC Studios Overall Deal

    “Schitt’s Creek” breakout Dan Levy has signed a multi-year overall deal at ABC Studios. Under the deal, Levy will develop and produce scripted projects for the studio. “Dan Levy has proven himself as one of the most creative people in the TV business,” said Jonnie Davis, president of ABC Studios. “His writing, acting and producing [...]

  • Barry Bill Hader

    Emmys 2019: Clear Favorites and Top Challengers for This Year's Winners (Column)

    If this felt like the longest, most expensive Emmy campaign in history, you might be right. For one thing, the 2019 Primetime Emmys will be held Sept. 22, which is the latest the ceremony has taken place since 2013. That also happened to be the last year of TV’s quaint, pre-streaming era, before outlets like [...]

  • AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- "Live Results

    TV Ratings: 'America's Got Talent' Finale Draws 10 Million Viewers

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read on if you have not seen the season 14 finale of “America’s Got Talent.” The finale of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” which saw blind, autistic singer Kodi Lee crowned the winner, drew almost exactly 10 million viewers for the Peacock on Wednesday night. Bolstered by a robust, velvety Cher performance, [...]

  • Ava-Mark-Split

    Ava DuVernay, Mark Ruffalo Selected for SAG-AFTRA Foundation Honors

    Ava DuVernay and Mark Ruffalo have been selected by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation for its fourth Annual Patron of the Artists Awards. The awards will be presented on Nov. 7 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. The show benefits the nonprofit SAG-AFTRA Foundation and is not televised. Previous SAG-AFTRA Foundation Patron of the [...]

  • Programme Name: The Cry - TX:

    Brazil, U.K. Lead International Emmy Awards Nominations

    Brazil and the U.K. lead the pack in this year’s International Emmy Awards nominations, which span 21 countries across 11 categories. Titles and talent from Britain and Brazil will vie with other hopefuls for the trophy in five categories: drama, best performance by an actor, best performance by an actress, arts programming and documentary. Brazilian [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content