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No character on the show, which returns from its winter hiatus on Jan. 19, embodies those words better than Petra Solano, the cheating, soon-to-be-ex-wife of Jane’s love interest, played by Israeli actress Yael Grobglas. Between Rodriguez and Justin Baldoni’s pecs,Jane the Virgin has plenty of breakout talent, but Grobglas’ role as the scheming yet sympathetic foil to Rodriguez’s Jane has turned Petra into one of television’s most amusingly complex comic villains. Fans love to hate her, yet as Jane delves deeper into Petra’s backstory — and shows off her lighter side — they’re starting to love to love her as well.
“I was expecting so many hate tweets, but all I’ve gotten was, ‘She’s so evil, but I really like her and don’t know why!’” Grobglas says. “You never know if you want her to find true love and live happily ever after, or if you want her to be a complicated villain.”
Grobglas became part of the CW family in 2013 after starring in an unsuccessful pilot (The Selection) and several episodes of the network’s historical drama, Reign — one of which had been written by Jane the Virgin show runner Jennie Snyder Urman. The next year, Urman was having trouble finding the right actress to play the part of Petra when she decided to look up Grobglas, who was still living in Israel at the time but happened to be in Los Angeles for pilot season. Grobglas had some reservations about stepping into the role of a villain for the first time.
“I remember calling her up and telling her, ‘Trust me, I’m going to take care of your character,” Urman says. “She didn’t want to be just an evil villain — she wanted to know: ‘Do I love Rafael? If I love him, why did I have an affair?’ All the smart questions actors ask. Once I explained that to her, she lost her skepticism and came in. Honestly, the minute she did her read, I was like, ‘That’s the one.’
Jane the Virgin is very loosely based off a 2002 Venezuelan telenovela, and evil, gold-digging wives standing between the heroine and her true love are common in that genre. But Urman didn’t want to import a one-dimensional TV trope — she wanted to make Petra as layered as all the other characters in the show. She points to a scene in the second episode — when Petra tells Rafael (Baldoni), “Yes, I did something terrible, but you know what? You did something terrible too” — as being crucial to understanding the character. “I always tell Yael, ‘Petra is the hero of her story,’” Urman says. “She loved this man so much — she stood by him when he had cancer — then all of a sudden, he has this change of heart and didn’t give her a chance to change with him.”
Jane the Virgin also added Petra’s even more villainous and dependent mother (played by Priscilla Barnes), who gives viewers insight into Petra’s upbringing and the pressures she faces. “When you’re cutting a pilot, you’re always looking for where I can take out time. There was a moment when we were thinking, does Petra’s mom need to be there?” Urman says. “I thought she does, absolutely — or else you can’t find any sympathy for this character.” (Despite all that sympathy, Grobglas says fans who recognize her on the street are surprised by the ways she differs from her character: “They’re like, ‘Oh, you’re so friendly!’” Grobglas says. “They seem relieved. It’s a great reaction.”)
When fans last saw Petra, her cover had been blown: Petra Solano isn’t really Petra Solano — she’s actually a woman named Natalia who fled the Czech Republic with her mother to avoid a violent ex-lover. When the man who helped her escape showed up demanding money, Petra accidentally knocked him out and kidnapped him. Ever since, she’s mostly been holed up in a hotel room with her mother and her hostage, riding out her divorce. That over-the-top, telenovela-like plotline was written especially for Grobglas. “I didn’t know until we started doing this show how excellent Yael is at comedy — she has this very subtle touch,” Urman says. Adds Grobglas, “The fact that [Petra] takes everything so seriously is exactly what is so funny.”
Urman is incredibly secretive about the show’s many twists and turns, so Grobglas doesn’t know what’s in store for Petra outside of what she’s already filmed. “Every single table read, I will never give up trying to get information out of her,” Grobglas says. “We have a group chat between the cast members, and the group chat goes wild the minute we get the script.” But as for the immediate future, Grobglas can reveal that Petra will get some power back in a surprising way, though her unlucky streak is far from over: “Things will get worse with Petra before they get better.”
We have added x16 photos of Yael at the Golden Globe Awards yesterday …
Congratulations to ‘Jane the Virgin’ star Gina Rodriguez who won a Golden Globe. This is Gina Rodriguez’s first time at the Golden Globes, and so far, it’s going pretty well: The Jane the Virgin star just won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Comedy.
“Thank you God for making me an artist,” she began her speech. “This award is so much more than myself. It represents a culture that wants to be seen as heroes.”
She went on to thank her family and the CW before sharing an anecdote about her dad: “My father used to tell me to say every morning, ‘Today’s going to be a great day, and I can, and I will,’” she said. “Well, daddy, today is a great day. I can, and I did.”
Backstage, Rodriguez teared up as she talked about how much the award meant to her as a Latina actress. “First and foremost, the nomination alone was a win for me because it allowed Latinos to see themselves in a beautiful light,” she said. “We are dealing with a society that is so diverse, so beautiful and so human. We need to remember that we have the same stories, and see it as such.
When I was a little girl I dreamed of this moment and there’s no better way to tell others that they can win too by living your dreams.”
This is not only the first Golden Globe win for the relative newcomer actress, but also the first time Jane the Virgin‘s network The CW has ever won a major award at either the Globes or Emmys.
Since Jane the Virgin has struggled in the ratings—it’s one of the lowest-rated shows on a major broadcast network—the award is a major victory for The CW, which is enjoying a much-needed comeback this fall after launching its biggest hit in years (The Flash) and fellow freshman series Jane the Virgin being nominated for best comedy series, along with Rodriguez being honored for best actress. Jane the Virgin‘s nominations alone were considered a surprise, but now with this win (Transparent took the award for comedy series), the series and The CW have received a major industry boost that puts both on the map for awards season.
One question is whether the award will actually bring more viewers to the show. Earlier Sunday, The CW’s president Mark Pedowitz urged reporters at the TCA press tour to give Jane the Virgin some more time to find an audience. “[Jane is] a quality show,” he said. “You guys have supported it as a quality show. Give it time.”
Yael Grobglas attended the 2015 AFI Awards held at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on yesterday afternoon (January 9) in Beverly Hills, Calif. The actress was joined by her gorgeous co-star Justin Baldoni for the annual event.
The AFI Awards celebrate the complete creative ensembles behind the year’s most outstanding motion pictures and television programs – and for the first time in the program’s history, the voting procedure yielded an additional film honoree, resulting in 11 motion picture selections alongside the 10 for television.
We have added x58 photos from the event…
Jane The Virgin is up for Favorite New TV Comedy tonight at the Peoples Choice Awards. It’s unknown if Yael will be attending, but we sure hope she does. Either way, Good Luck! You can watch the show live with us, below. The full nominations list can be found, here.
The Golden Globes are often thought of as a preview of what to expect during the Oscars, but they also include a side of interest in television shows. In short, the Golden Globes is one of the best awards shows out there because it’s serious without being over-the-top and it allows a wide variety of stars from movies and television alike to hang out, which keeps everyone interested.
Jane The Virgin star Gina Rodriguez, is up for Best Actress in a TV Series Comedy, and the show itself is up for Best Comedy Series which is a pretty big deal for the breakout show. Its not often that CW show is nominated for anything serious, like a Golden Globe! Good Luck… we are so pleased for Yael and her cast mates, well done x
Jane the Virgin
Orange Is the New Black
COMEDY LEAD ACTRESS
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black