Gloria Calderón Kellett ushers in a new golden age of Latin television


This profile is based on an interview between Gloria Calderón Kellett and Alissa Lopez Serfozo.

To someone who has just signed an eight-figure deal with Amazon Studios, Gloria Calderón Kellett seems mostly unfazed. More concerned with impressing her parents than anyone in a boardroom, the compulsively busy multi-cutie, whose latest original series “With Love” premieres on Amazon Prime in December, is still focused on work. “On the one hand, it’s beautiful. On the other hand, it’s embarrassing that it took them so long, ”she says, reflecting on what it means to be a part of this historic moment. Jokingly, she adds, “Now that I know the other offers, mom is dreaming bigger! I asked for too little!

This seems to be the way Calderón Kellett deals with a lot of what happens to him. Through the successes and failures and everything in between, comedy has been a place to make sense of it all. “I feel really lucky that my brain defaults to comedy in the dark times,” she laughs. “I think a great way to deal with pain and sadness is to be able to see the lighter side of something. It has been a useful personal tool for my mental health, and it has become a career. Calderón Kellett has her roots in improv comedy and dramatic writing, where she honed her skills as a storyteller and joke writer before moving to episode pen for “How I Met Your Mother”, “iZombie “and” Devious Maids “.

“I feel like I kind of went to a second graduate school having the opportunity to work in a lot of different genres. When you are starting out as a writer you don’t know what type of writing you can do well until you try it, and I was very diligent in trying different types of writing. And that determination led to some interesting discoveries about what Calderón Kellett wanted (and didn’t want) to do. “I loved writing like this for ‘iZombie’ and it surprised me. It was a show where I was like, “I’m just going to go to this meeting.” I never expected to get a job offer for this show because I had never written anything like it. And I was so excited to write about the genre that I just didn’t care about the procedural element of it. In the end, I said, “No, the procedure is not my thing”, but I would do the genre again. “

Always Calderon kellettThe new series of “With love”. Photography courtesy of Kevin Estrada / Amazon Studios.

“After I left ‘iZombie’ I had a moment to breathe and think, ‘What do I mean right now?’ for the world to know Gloria Calderón Kellett. “A lot of people had tried to get me to write to my family. And I would always say that I was not ready yet because I love them. They are everything to me, and I do Didn’t want to rush me to tell this story. ”That was, of course, until she hooked up with legendary showrunner Norman Lear to remake one of his classic shows, based on Calderón Kellett’s own family. “It took me 12 years to feel comfortable enough, and it was in the hands of Norman Lear that I was comfortable enough to tell the story of ‘One day at a time’. “

“I had an incredibly positive, warm and delicious experience doing this show for five years and when I left I was like, ‘Okay, I want to do another family affair, but I want to do it. in a different way. I wanted to do it in a different genre and I wanted it to sound like a Nancy Meyers romantic comedy, which we never see ourselves at the center of. This is really what built ‘With Love’. Calderón Kellett’s new show, the first of many under his global contract with Amazon Studios, is a multigenerational story centered on Lily and Jorge Diaz, two siblings desperately trying to find their way through. through the trials and tribulations of life, love and family. Shown just in time for Christmas, each episode centers around a specific holiday and, again, incorporates many of Calderón Kellett’s personal experiences.

“I felt ready. I had just lost my abuela, to which I was very, very close. And I suddenly became that intermediary person. There are these three generations that we grew up with and I was the kid for a long time. Now I have become my parents and I am in the middle. It’s a sandwich and I’m the meat between my kids and my parents, and I try to navigate it. More than anything, however, Calderón Kellett wanted to show his appreciation for his family while they still had the chance. “While my parents are here, I really wanted them to be able to see all of these versions of the love that I was lucky enough to grow up with.” Family is a key element in all of Calderón Kellett’s work, and “With Love” is no exception.

Extract from the new series “With Love” by Calderón Kellett. Photography courtesy of Kevin Estrada / Amazon Studios.

It meant working with a diverse team of writers and actors to tell a story of intimate scope but sprawling in both characterization and portrayal. “I’m really lucky to be very specific about the writers I hire so that they bring a point of view that I don’t have. I am a straight, light skinned, cis Latina. So if there are queer characters, there are queer writers in the room to bring nuance to those characters. Regarding the Afro Latina experience, we needed to have Afro Latinidad represented not only on the screen but in the room so that we could talk to both and do it responsibly.

The authenticity Calderón Kellett seeks in her work is undeniably part of what has made her such a resonant voice for this generation of Latinas. “My parents live across the street. We’re real latinos, okay? So it’s like I have to go do something, I tell the kids to cross the street. I have support and I have help. And that’s the thing with Latinos, we help each other. I am so lucky to have my parents and I have a truly supportive spouse who works from home. We are able to balance this great life. Everything works in tandem. As she speaks more about the influence her family has had on her life and career, it’s clear that Calderón Kellett carries the weight of generations, working every day to do justice to their legacy.

“Whenever I feel sorry for myself or feel sad, I always focus on my grandparents. They were in Cuba and sent their children to another country because they wanted their grandchildren to be free. I am nine and 13 years old. I can’t imagine putting them on a plane and expecting the people on the other side to be nice. They did it with hope and prayer. My parents came here without speaking English and worked hard to build a life. I cannot be for a single second “woe to me” – I have people I owe it to, to crush. “

As for what she watches in her fleeting moments of free time? “I’m obsessed with ‘Succession’, it’s so good. I don’t even mind that they’re all white!

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LATINA premieres “Noche Buena“, a song related to episode 5 of” With Love “, Gloria Calderón Kellett’s multigenerational romantic comedy series premiered on Amazon Prime on December 17, 2021.


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