Return to Fantasy Island with Roselyn Sánchez

As someone who has fond memories of watching Fantasy Island as a young kid, I was excited for this next chapter, starring Roselyn Sánchez as Elena Roarke, the great-grandniece of Ricardo Montalbán’s Mr. Roarke. Season 1 of Fantasy Island was everything I could’ve wanted, and Season 2 promises to bring us much more when it comes to guest stars and storylines that make us feel all the emotions.

I’ve had a chance to preview the first two episodes of the season, and there’s an interesting new layer to the story: a budding relationship between Elena and Javier. When I had a chance to chat with Roselyn Sánchez about Season 2, I jumped at the opportunity. Read our conversation below, and watch Fantasy Island Monday nights at 8pm ET/9pm MT on Global TV in Canada beginning January 2, or at 8pm ET/7pm CT on FOX in the US. (NOTE: The Monday, January 9 episode will air at 7pm ET on Global TV in Canada.)

Roselyn Sanchez as Elena Roarke and John Gabriel Rodriquez as Javier

In the Season 2 episodes that I’ve seen so far is Elena Roarke learning to balance the island’s guests and their needs while also trying to have a life herself. What can you share about that aspect of Elena’s journey this season?

I love that opportunity. The magic of this show is the guests that come in and their dreams and whatever fantasy they want to accomplish. That’s a journey that the audience goes through, but what a blessing to be able to also have a show that is character-driven, and that has given us an opportunity to explore these characters, and for the audience to fall in love with them and understand them. Elena’s journey in Season 1 was pretty unique. And now in Season 2, people are going to get to know her more and understand her. She’s a very complicated woman, that has a big responsibility. She wants to be able to fulfill every guest’s fantasy, but at the same time, she wants to be a woman and she wants to feel and she wants to fall in love. She wants to be equal to everybody else. You see her go through that and struggle, and in the end, thrive. It’s beautiful.

Elena is also taking risks this season by exploring a relationship with Javier. In the first season, she was very pragmatic and the island came first. What do you think Elena is willing to take those risks in Season 2?

I think it’s the long game that she always had to just have a normal life. She was thrown into this position as the host [of the island]. It’s a family tradition. Elena was next in line, but deep, deep inside, she wanted to be normal. She was in love, wanted to graduate, and probably have a family and now she is carrying this legacy. She wants to love and live, even though she takes her job incredibly seriously. After 10 years of basically excluding everything from life except her job, Javier (John Gabriel Rodriquez) comes along. She really likes him. And at some point, love prevails. When we fall in love, everything else takes second position and she wants to explore it. I hope to God that for this season, she doesn’t end up with a broken heart.

Kiara Barnes as Ruby and Roselyn Sanchez as Elena

I’ve loved the little things that have been incorporated into Fantasy Island from the original series. I have to admit that when Mr. Roarke’s chair came out of storage, I got a bit emotional. What was your reaction to that moment, or any other nods to the original series so far?

That moment with the chair, it was so clever for the writers to bring that back and the way they did it was phenomenal. I remember shooting it — it was the Season 1 finale — and everybody got nostalgic and emotional. The first time I had a scene with Ruby (Kiara Barnes) in the first season where we said the phrase, “The plane! The plane!” wasn’t even written as part of the script. It was something that we added at the end and they used it. That little moment of Elena saying “The plane! The plane!” as I was explaining to Ruby about the Tattoo character, who was very endearing, and I was like, “Oh my God, this brings me back to the 70s when I was a little girl.” I remember the show so vividly.

Are there any specific scenes or episodes that you’re really excited for viewers to see this year?

There are going to be different ways that the guests are going to come to the island, [although] the plane is classic and super effective. This season, we’re going to explore different ways that the guests show up, and they’re all going to be magnificent. There’s one episode, I believe it’s Episode 9, where we go to a castle. We shot it in Old San Juan, and that episode is epic and absolutely stunning. The first season was magical and fantastical, and we had a blast. But when they give you the opportunity to come back, things get even better all around. It’s like a well-oiled machine, and we’re very excited to bring that to the audience.

Ruby, Elena and Javier from Fantasy Island

Anything else that you’d like to share about Season 2 of Fantasy Island?

It’s funnier, juicier, and grander. New locations and incredible guest stars. The cool thing about Fantasy Island is tuning in to see who’s going to be the next guest star. The first season was fantastic, and the second season is not going to disappoint. And again, we have Javier and Elena, and they get to become even closer. They have their issues, but this whole relationship is going to build and build, and become classic.

Photos Courtesy of Sony

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