When it came to light that Gossip Girl was available for franchising, producer/actor/director Pedro Torres wanted on board. In this video clip, he discusses how he came to find the show, why he wanted to produce it in Spanish, and the issues he’s run into since signing on. The English translation is below for your accessibility:
Gossip Girl is a franchise that has been very successful in six seasons, in the USA and in more than 140 countries. I really discovered it thanks to my daughter, Emilia, she was very young when she used to watch it, she was nine, but I didn’t pay too much attention to it. Later, when I started to watch it, I realized that it had all the elements of drama, love, intrigue that the audience enjoys a lot.
Thanks to that, we could bring the franchise, we made a partnership with Warner, and it’s a really important thing, because they have never had a partnership to produce something. Normally, they sell finished products, big movies, big songs, big television series, so we made a great agreement, and they are really happy with the adaptation we’re making of the series in Spanish. They are providing us the format, the consultancy; they are the same stories, the same dialogues, but adapted to our language, to our country and to our situations.
When we acquired the series, we asked ourselves: “where are we going to film it?”. New York is a city that, you know, that is very competitive, with amazing locations, so we wanted to get away of the urban environment and make a very different version..
When I proposed to shoot it in Acapulco, immediately the people from Warner thought that it didn’t make any sense because the format of the series was very urban and Acapulco didn’t have much of that. We made a little demo tape of six minutes that I’m going to share with you and when they saw it, they thought it was a great spin so they asked us to find the adaptors of the franchise and finally Acapulco becomes the main actor of an amazing series of twenty five episodes.
Although we’re excited to see the drama (mentirosa means liar, just FYI), the fashion (what’s the Mexican equivalent of Diane von Furstenberg?), and the locations, others aren’t so excited. Mexican viewers who have seen the pilot or heard about the development aren’t all that stoked on the idea. After all, the plots are going to be largely ideal to the original Upper East Side NYC series — you can even see in the demo mentioned that elements from the pilot are identical; Nico (Nate) runs with his dad, Max (Chuck) reveals that he knows about Nico and Sofia (Serena)’s history, and you’d have to be blind not to notice that actress Sofia Sisniega has been dyed and made up to look like a dead ringer for Blake Lively.
Other complaints about the new series revolve around issues such as location — why Acapulco of all places? — and the replication of a show rather than new material: “Why are they copying an American series instead of making a new one with new ideas? Do they not have people to do that?” seems to be a common complaint.
Overall, it’s an interesting concept: taking a show that has been dubbed in many different languages and starting over with plots and storylines that are already written, but simply translated. Will Mexicans like the show once it’s on? Will this be the first of many? Will you watch if you’re able to access it? The show begins airing in July 2013. For more on spin-offs and franchises, click here.
Here is the demo tape: You be the judge.