Why Jaime Camil's 'Broke' Is the Perfect Show to Watch During Self-Isolation (Exclusive)
By Liz Calvario
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Jaime Camil can't wait to bring a bit of joy to families stuck at home with his new series, Broke.
The actor, who gained national fame for his fan-favorite character, Rogelio de la Vega, on Jane the Virgin, is back on the small screen on CBS' new sitcom, premiering April 2. The comedy follows Jackie (Pauley Perrette), a single suburban mother who gets a surprise visit from her estranged sister, Elizabeth (Natasha Leggero) and her sister's wealthy, big-hearted husband, Javier (Camil), along with his loyal assistant, Luis (Izzy Diaz). All three arrive at Jackie's doorstep in need of a place to live after they lose all their money.
The series is a refreshing take on the original 2012 Colombian telenovela, Pobres Ricos, as well as the 2013 Mexican version, Qué Pobres Tan Ricos, which Camil starred in as Miguel Ángel Ruizpalacios Romagnoli.
"My dear friend, Juan Pablo Raba, played the original lead in the Colombian version and I actually played the lead in the Mexican version. I've done this show before, [but this time it's] a little different because Jennie [Snyder] Urman (Jane the Virgin) and [showrunner] Alex Herschlag (Will & Grace) wanted to do something unique for the mainstream market," Camil shared with ET. "But the base of the original show is there, a trust fund baby that gets caught up. It's just a great and beautiful show."
"In this version, the guy is married, the guy doesn't fall in love with a poor girl living in a poor neighborhood," Camil explained. "Qué Pobres Tan Ricos was a real, spot-on telenovela, but this is more topicalized for the American audience and also very specific for a 30-minute, multicast sitcom."
The show also brings some diversity to CBS' lineup. The main character is Mexican, speaks in Spanish to Luis -- who is an openly gay character -- and is in a biracial relationship.
"When we introduced the show to CBS at the last upfronts at Carnegie Hall, CBS said, 'We are embracing diversity, we are embracing inclusivity,' and apparently they are sticking to their word," Camil shared. "I'm very proud of CBS and very happy and honored that we are helping them achieve their goals."
Camil, who is an executive producer on the sitcom, was also a huge fan of his character, and feels as though his followers will grow to love Javier as they did Rogelio.
"I have a very specific way of approaching comedy and I think that's what people loved about Rogelio de la Vega on Jane the Virgin," Camil explained. "Of course, there will be some similarities there on how I approach comedy, on how I like to do physical comedy, all that. But it's just a great character, he's well written, he's funny, I love that he always sees the best in people and is very positive, because usually when they portray people with money, they're kind of like a**holes or pretentious or unbearable pricks."
"And what I love about Javier is that he comes from old money, not new money," he continued. "So there's a lot of education [there], he has a lot of good manners, he's polite, he's nice to everybody and I like the character a lot."
What Javier also brings to the table is being a mediator for the estranged sisters in this topsy-turvy time, Camil shared. "Javier always sees the silver lining of things and he also understands that if the sisters don't get along, they might have to sleep in the streets," he said with a laugh. "So it's in his best interest for the sisters to get along."
And working with CBS darling Perrette, who portrayed Abby Sciuto on NCIS for over a decade, as well as the talented comedian Leggero, has been a dream for Camil.
"Pauly is amazing and, as you know, she is one of the most loved characters on CBS, she played Abby for 16 years and she was a fan favorite," Camil praised. "Natasha is just a brilliant comedian and so funny... Natasha truly understands the difference between being a standup comedian and a comedian actor. She's very good. Working with Pauly, who's such a loved and respected person for CBS and their audience, it's amazing."
There will also be a handful of special guests on the show, but it's Diaz's character, Luis, who Camil said will be Broke's breakout star. "He's gonna be amazing. He's gonna steal the show in many episodes!"
In a time where many productions were forced to shut down amid coronavirus concerns, Broke was not affected and successfully filmed all of its first season. The actor hopes that the show brings smiles and lightheartedness to people's homes during this difficult time.
"[People need] comedy and family shows, family shows about families that are stuck inside the same home. The timing couldn't have been better," he cracked. "I really hope you get to see the following episodes because each episode gets better and it's so funny. We're very lucky because we have the whole first season in the can. We were not affected by the coronavirus, we didn't have to stop production. Every episode is really good. I really hope people enjoy it."
What people also need, Camil shared, is positivity amid the pandemic. The actor, as well as his wife and two kids, are not only following guidelines on staying indoors, he also teamed up with Cameo to raise funds for coronavirus relief. Cameo is a service where people can request personalized videos from their favorite celebrities. Camil has done over 50 Cameos, raising close to $4,000, with 100 percent of his profits going to the Global Giving organization.
"This time will pass. It's very hard but you have to keep a positive mind about it. I just like to see life in a positive way. I don't like to get bummed or no me gusta deprimirme. I don't like to get depressed about it," he expressed, adding that there's no use in being mad or complaining. "It's gonna be 10 times heavier if I approach it that way."
Broke premieres Thursday, April 2 at 9:30 p.m. on CBS.