Selena: The Collection: 7 Issues You Ought to Know About Netflix’s Natural Musical Drama
Time to put your Bidi Bidi Bom Boms in order: Netflix’s bio series about international singing sensation Selena will begin streaming on Friday.
The first season of Selena: The Series, with nine episodes, tells the early life of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, who began her entertainment career as a lead singer in her family’s band but made her name as Tejano and one of the best-selling Latin American artists in the 1990s . Even if you’ve never sung hits like “Como La Flor” or “I Might Fall In Love” pretending your hairbrush was a microphone, you probably know that Selena’s life – and fast-paced career – was tragically short when she it was murdered in 1995 by her business partner and friend Yolanda Saldívar. (The 1997 film Selena, starring Jennifer Lopez, also told the singer’s story.)
Netflix ‘Selena focuses on Selena’s childhood and adolescence; Christian Serratos (The Walking Dead) plays the famous singer, while Richado Chavira (Desperate Housewives) and Seidy Lopez (Resurrection Boulevard) portray their parents Abraham and Marcella respectively.
Before the drama premiered, TVLine had a chat with executive producer / writer Moisés Zamora (star, pictured right). Read on for what you need to know about the show.
THE OCCUPATION | In addition to Serratos, Chavira and Lopez, Gabriel Chavarria (The Purge series) as Selena’s brother AB are part of the cast; and Noemí Gonzalez (The Young and the Troubled) as Selena’s sister Suzette.
FIND THE RIGHT SELENA | Shortly after the series was announced, a mutual friend arranged a meeting between Zamora and Serratos. “She wore her hair back and she wore that red lipstick, so she was already playing Selena,” recalls the EP with a laugh. “And I think OK, Christian, OK.” He adds that he had been a fan of her work on The Walking Dead, and as their conversation continued he was more certain he had found his Selena. “The way she put it – that was really important, to have that almost effortless charm, to have that layer of kindness and real personality that comes through,” he says. Finally, “they found all of the interviews that I read and seen in a video about people talking about the real Selena to be very loving, charming and friendly and always took the time to talk to fans.” And when Serratos made people cry during their final round of auditions, Zamora reports: “After that it was a closed deal.”
THE SONGS | Whenever Selena steps on the microphone during the show to sing one of her songs, the audio you hear is the actual voice of the beloved singer. However, the voices of Serratos, Gonzalez and Chavarria can sometimes be heard when Selena y Los Dinos – the Quintanilla family band – go a capella.
WHERE TO START | The task of rationalizing such a rich life story was invigorating. It spoke to my personal life and what it means to be Mexican-American and to make a name for yourself as a creator in this country, ”Zamora, who emigrated to the US at the age of eleven, told TVLine. “Don’t get me wrong – was I concerned? Absolutely … but it was exciting because it was the once in a lifetime opportunity. “
FAMILY AFFAIRS | Members of Selena’s family were closely involved in creating the show. Zamora recalls traveling to Corpus Christi, Texas to share his vision for the series with the Quintanillas and later spending a lot of time talking to them when the outlines for the show came together. Because it has been decades since he wanted to cover the events and because her memories of Selena are so precious: “I knew it was going to be a very delicate process,” says the EP. “But we made it through. It came from the heart. Everyone was on the same page about what we wanted from the show and that was important. “
WHERE TO START | The series literally begins with Selena’s birth and then follows the gradual rise of her career when Abraham realizes what a star he has in his younger daughter. “He did everything possible to give this young girl the opportunity to eventually become what he imagined for her: this incredible superstar, singer and powerful woman,” says Zamora. Eventually, however, this woman begins to make decisions for herself – both about her career and about her love life. (Yes, Chris Perez – the man who would later become Selena’s husband, played here by newcomer Jesse Posey – shows up before the season ends.)
WHERE END? | Mild spoiler alert!: The violence that ended Selena’s life is not included in the season, explains Zamora, because he wanted more time to explore the fullness of her existence. And if Saldívar becomes a more important part of the story in a possible future season, “we plan to take a moment to see how she has integrated into her life and why she was part of this world,” he adds : “We definitely want to say it [Selena’s] Life story in its entirety and legacy so it would clearly be beyond these first nine episodes. “