Summer is about to get a dose of fun-filled telenovela craziness with ABC's Grand Hotel.
Actor Shalim Ortiz, who plays the elusive manager of the Riviera Grand hotel, spoke with PopCulture.com about his role on the new ABC drama series, and why the new show will have fans gasping from the very beginning of the series premiere.
Based on the Spanish telenovela Gran Hotel created by Ramón Campos and Gema R. Neira, the new series is an upstairs-downstairs story centered around the last family-owned hotel in Miami Beach. With wealthy guests, the luxurious settings and more than one life-altering secret, Grand Hotel's first season will keep fans guessing all summer long.
"It's going to be a salad of different genres and emotions, because you get some humorous moments, but the drama is serious, and it's dense, and the conflicts are going to be pretty heavy," Ortiz said in a phone interview Thursday, June 13. "From the get-go, you get that one of the big question marks is going to be what happened to this girl (played by Arielle Kebbel). What happened to her at the hotel? You know that something not so pleasant took place, and I think that sets the tone for how the season's going to be."
The drama starts off with the mysterious disappearance of one hotel employee, which puts a target on all staff of the prestigious establishment as well as the Mendoza family, who own the hotel.
Ortiz teased that Mateo's role as the manager of the hotel has him at the center of many of the first season's mysteries, including questions about his complex relationship with owner Santiago Mendoza (Demian Bichir)
"Mateo's relationship with Santiago is going to get probably more complicated throughout the season, but you're also going to find out where he comes from, and the reason why he does things the way he does," he said of his character's journey.
"Mateo is going to be coming in at very interesting times throughout the season... There won't be any time wasted with Mateo," he teased of the mysterious character.
Known for roles on Heroes, Ballers and international telenovelas, Ortiz said the show's "provocative" storytelling will keep fans on their toes.
"It has a lot of unexpected plot twists, and if you really think you have an idea of where [the story's] going to go, you have no idea," he said. "It really is going to be a season that's going to be very good at shocking you with unexpected twists and turns, and if you like that kind of television, this is the show for you."
Along with Ortiz, the series stars Bichir, Roselyn Sanchez, Denyse Tontz, Bryan Craig, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Lincoln Younes, Anne Winters, Chris Warren, Feliz Ramirez and Justina Adorno. The series was developed for American television by Brian Tanen.