The Cast of ‘With Love’ Talks About Their Ground-Breaking Romantic Comedy Series On Prime Video
Stars Emeraude Toubia, Mark Indelicato, Desmond Chiam, Rome Flynn, Vincent Rodriguez III, Isis King, Constance Marie, and Benito Martinez join series creator Gloria Calderón Kellett to talk about how much they enjoyed making the series.
‘With Love’ is a one-hour romantic comedy series on Prime Video that focuses on various members of the Diaz family, with each episode catching them during a different holiday throughout the year. The cast includes Emeraude Toubia, Mark Indelicato, Desmond Chiam, Rome Flynn, Vincent Rodriguez III, Isis King, Constance Marie, and Benito Martinez, and the series was created by Gloria Calderón Kellett. They all sat down with Moviefone to talk about their new series.
Emeraude Toubia, Desmond Chaim, and Rome Flynn talk about the relationship between their three characters.
Moviefone: Emeraude, I loved this series. It's just so... It's like a big hug to watch it. So Lily is... She has family love, she has sibling love, and she's searching for romantic love. So, talk to me about her sibling love and her search for romantic love.
Emeraude Toubia: Yes. I love Lily so much, because I feel she reminds me of myself. She reminds me of all my girlfriends, and we're all desperately, sometimes, looking for love. We want to find the perfect person. So she has ups and downs. She has her perfect on paper boyfriend, but unfortunately he's not fulfilling her in other ways. So I think it's really brave of her to break up with him and value herself and realize she needs more. Not that he's not good enough, but for her, it's just it's time to move on. So I think that's brave. And I just think it's she's spunky, she's human more than anything. And I think it's really nice for just everyone to see all her struggles and what she goes through and how it's okay to sometimes just be by yourself and learn a little bit more about you before taking that next step with somebody else.
MF: Well, Desmond, she kind of leans on Nick's shoulder.
Toubia: That's all she does. I promise!
MF: Nicks naked shoulder, I might add.
Desmond Chaim: I wish. Yeah. Look, I don't know if he is what she needs in the long term emotionality of the thing. But there is definitely that moment of it's Christmas, there is this thing of love in the air and when you're single on Christmas, which I think can be a very universal experience. There can be this explosion of passion that just drives a very, very intense encounter. And can lead both parties to consider a bunch of things that they maybe haven't considered before.
MF: And Rome, Santiago's got some issues.
Rome Flynn: So, what issues do you think?
MF: He is the most stand-up guy. I feel like he has so much integrity, but he's got some love issues.
Flynn: Yeah. I don't know if I would classify his issues, but I just think his perspective is one more practical. And that's what I think is more unique. The dynamic between Lily and Santiago is that, they're on completely different ends of how they see relationships and see love. And somehow they meet in the middle. And I think that's kind of how it works in life sometimes, and you end up being closer to those people that don't necessarily believe in everything that you believe. But, you want to see them win after that. You want to see how that develops. And so, yeah, maybe a little bit issue with love, but in a way I think that's the relationship that people go through. And so it's been great to be able to play that.
MF: You said practical. Love is not practical. That's the whole thing.
Flynn: And you can't say that it's right or wrong. And that's the unique thing about it.
Chaim: Love's infinite.
Flynn: Exactly, loves infinite, right? But it's also there is, I feel like, some sort of science behind it. What he's saying is kind of true about the relationship patterns and how people get in relationships, and then they're doing the same exact things, it's kind of right, but hey...
Actors Vincent Rodriguez III and Mark Indelicato talk about what the show means to them.
Moviefone: So Vinnie, we'll start with you. I really loved this series. I loved the love in all different forms, the inclusivity of it. What does this series mean to you?
Vincent Rodriguez III: Gosh. I mean, to me, the series means positive, compassionate, authentic humanity for all.
MF: Those were great adjectives.
Rodriguez: Our show is... I mean, I feel like a broken American saying this, and I feel like, oh, other shows might chime in like, "Hey, what about us?" But I really feel like this show is going to have a huge impact on the people who watch it. And it had definitely had an impact on us as the actors. We just had a press conference, and hearing the stories from my fellow cast mates who are incredible and have amazing careers and have played amazing roles. And now the fact that we all got to be assembled to portray these characters to tell this story led by Gloria Calderón Kellett, who wrote it with the intention of showing the world that we're all different, we're all beautiful, we all need family, we deserve joy, and we deserve a community, and we're all capable and deserving of love.
No matter how old you are, no matter what ethnic background you have or what spectrum of the LGBTQ Queer Transgender community that you're a part of, you belong, and you are deserving, and I think it's something we need. We need to see these characters celebrated in the way that they are celebrated in With Love. Which is why December 17th is going to be a very exciting day when 250 countries get to actually experience what we felt for two months through five episodes. So it's pretty...it's a lot, and it feels our hearts and hopefully the audience will feel that too.
MF: And Mark, how about for you?
Mark Indelicato: Well, I was very, very excited to explore a very multidimensional character. I think that Jorge Jr is dealing with familial relationships, Platonic relationships and romantic relationships all at the same time simultaneously. And I think that as an actor, that's extremely rewarding and extremely interesting to be able to have on the page and also get the liberty and the agency and autonomy to create a very well-rounded and fully realized character. And that was really the impetus for me to come onto this project. And also, I've never done a romantic comedy before, and I felt like this was just a joy to do. It made me feel very happy to make, which I hope shines through for the audience and that they're very happy to watch it.
MF: Oh, it did shine through for me, and I was so happy watching it. Can you describe for me, Mark, your relationship with Lily and also your relationship with Henry?
Indelicato: Sure. Well, my relationship with Lily is extremely interesting because I feel like there's a lot of times a sibling rivalry, right? And I think that in this show, in With Love, Jorge and Lily are "ride or dies." They wear each other's names on their necks, literally. And that was something that I was very, very adamant about is that, rather than having our own name plate necklaces, we would wear each other's. Because when I read the pilot for the first time, I felt such a strong connection to this relationship, this familial relationship, between brother and sister that is completely rife with unabashed love. And I think that in a show called With Love one would perhaps assume that this is all about romantic love, but it's not.
And I think that Jorge and Lily's relationship is very indicative of the kind of multiplicity of love. But then you have Jorge and Henry who are very much in love with each other in a romantic capacity, but that is still very rife with conflict, whether that's...perhaps not conflict between the two of them in a very traditional way of fighting and this and that, slamming of doors and... But I think that for Jorge, the conflict stems from his own insecurities about falling in love and staying in love. And what does that mean to be in love and be a good partner? And so I was very, very happy and very grateful and very interested in exploring the different ways in which we all love.
Constance Marie and Benito Martinez talk about their characters’ relationship.
Moviefone: Constance, what does this series mean to you?
Constance Marie: Oh, it means Latinos have finally made it to the upper middle class. I've been waiting for...30 something years for that to happen. And to have multifaceted, diverse...rom-com love is groundbreaking. And I think in society right now with all that we've dealt with COVID and divisiveness in America, we really need a show like this. And especially around the holidays, when we all need love. And this show is great for that.
MF: And like I said, this show deals with all kinds of love, like romantic love, family love, self-love. It's not just a rom-com.
MF: So, Benito, where is the love relationship between Beatriz and Jorge Sr. at?
Benito Martinez: Yeah. Well, it travels...it moves around, that's our journey. So it starts in one place. I think I'm in one place. I realize I'm not in one place. And then I have to work hard to get back to some place. But ultimately, it's a long term related that is built in trust and love that has some bumps in the road. And it's that a...that investment that we've made over time that helps us get past the rough parts.
But it's...you said it, "It's a big warm hug." And for me, it's fun to see it as a story of a family and all the celebrations that happen. All the weirdness that happens at holiday time. The expectations of what it's like at Valentine's and 4th of July.
There are weird expectations that we have of the holiday within themselves, and then add to that family and church and relationships. It's a mess.
Martinez: It's expensive, it's a mess, it's time-consuming. It's all of that.
Martinez: And so for me, what's fun about the show is we just do it, and we have fun with it, and we grow from it. And I like that.
MF: I think there's something in this for everybody.
MF: Something that everybody can see in it and grow from it. Constance, I love the family aspect of this and the huge Diaz family and all their quirks. Can you kind of give me an overview of the Diaz family?
Marie: I think at the core of the Diaz family is humor and love and acceptance. And that is something that all of us crave from our families. And we have a lot of diverse love relationships in our family. And it breaks down a lot of stereotypes, like Benito's character, who's the Stoic Latino man. You would think that he's very closed-minded, and he is not at all. And the generational acceptance of younger generations and their diverse sexual paths. It's...at the core of all of that is that your family is here for you. And I also learned a lot of the Latino celebrations because every episode is a different holiday and some of them I knew about and some of them I didn't. And it is just...this show is like a wonderful...and our family is like a one wonderful invitation to be a part of the love.
MF: And Benito, there's some strife in the marriage of Beatriz and Jorge Sr. How does Jorge handle this?
Martinez: He goes on the drinking binge.
Marie: No, he wasn't.
Martinez: It's off camera, but he's a mess.
MF: That's the backstory.
Martinez: She finds him in the car, out cold in the backyard. No, it is actually the discovery of that things aren't perfect that sends Jorge into that moment of, what happened? And I think anytime you're in a relationship where you don't realize your partner is...isn't happy, and you think you are. You have to realign things and that's basically it. I mean, in a nutshell it is a realignment, but it's the learning to realign that wakes up a relationship it's a...but yeah, it's the challenge of the journey.
Isis King and Todd Grinnell talk about how the show’s inclusivity is so special for them.
Moviefone: Isis, this series is so beautiful. I really loved it. I loved all different forms of love. Also, the inclusivity of it. What does this series mean to you?
Isis King: Well, I've never seen a storyline of like this for someone who looks like me. So to have a career, to have the family support, to have the friend support and then to possibly find love. I think those are things that we've always just said we wanted to see. And, I think that every human being should be able to see that type of representation. So, to be that representation is kind of mind-boggling because I didn't know, it hasn't been done yet, for a holiday theme rom-com, tv series, or movie. So, I'm just so grateful to be a part of it. And I watched it back the other day and I remember laughing, saying aw, to crying, and I'm just so grateful. There's no trauma related, they are just people living their lives, trying to find love.
MF: Yeah, Todd, this is what I love about it. I was so happy watching it. What does this series mean to you?
Todd Grinnell: It means everything to me. It's just so, it fills me with a lot of pride to be able to be part of a storyline like this in a show like this, where we're just celebrating love and destigmatizing relationship constrictions and stereotypes, and just telling a story about two human beings who have fallen in love and are finding happiness with each other. And, to get to do that with Isis is such an honor. It's... We've had so much fun working together and I just, I love acting with you, Isis!
King: I love acting with you too, Todd!
Grinnell: I miss it.
King: I miss it too. Hopefully we get to do more.
Grinnell: We've got to do more.
MF: I love it. More love going on right here in this interview, Isis, who is Sol and what is that relationship with her and Dr. Murphy?
King: So Sol, is a non-binary trans femme, and they are an oncologist, who works at the hospital. Who's super focused, super kind of conservative and Miles Murphy is a plastic surgeon and always finds himself over on Sol's side of the hospital. And so, just kind of need a reminder to give people a chance. I think Sol is just so focused on career, family, friends, that's enough. And I can really relate to that because I'm kind of the same. And, sometimes I have friends like you need to go on a date, you need to give somebody a chance. So I really resonate with this character, and it's refreshing to see a trans or non-binary character who isn't just overly sexualized, and that's all. It's like, nope, they have a career, they have all this support system, and just a normal person. We are super diverse, complex people, and it's nice to just see a character that reflects that.
MF: Absolutely. I think sometimes the feeling is people like that are a mess and Sol is so, not a mess, at all. And Todd, what does Dr. Miles Murphy mean to you? And what does that relationship with him and Sol?
Grinnell: Well, Miles to me just represents a big, open heart. He's a guy that just wants, he just wants love, just like every character in this show. And it's been, gosh, it's just so fun to get to do this and share this whole thing with the world. It's just... the show is really special. And, I think everybody's going to... It's a... To me shooting it, felt like... and being with this cast and being with Gloria and being with our crew and our writer's room, I mean, it's, it feels like a big warm hug. And I think that's what it's going to feel like for the rest of the world too.
Series creator Gloria Calderón Kellett shares her inspiration for the project.
Moviefone: I just feel so happy after watching this series.
Gloria Calderón Kellett: Good. That's the goal.
MF: It's like a big hug. That's what we've been talking about in the interviews. It is so heartwarming, all the different forms of love and the inclusivity. Where did this idea come from?
Kellett: The pandemic, two years at home, not seeing people. My Instagram feed was full of black and brown and queer and Asian bodies in trauma. And I was like, I need to make something for this community. It's been so heavy.
And so I think that the antidote to hate is love. And so to be able to put out stories of multi-generational, multi-faceted people that happen to look like us and have them experience joy and love and celebration and family was really what I needed as a creator, what I wanted to see on TV, and what was severely lacking.
So it's just a cocktail for me because I get something out of making it that heals my heart, and then hopefully the people receiving it are getting that hug you're talking about. That was intention. I always think about the person on the other side of the black box, and that is what I want them to receive right now.
MF: You absolutely succeeded.
MF: 100%. And you also act in the series?
Kellett: I do.
MF: Yeah. That must be fun.
Kellett: It was so fun. I didn't intend to. I just kept on pitching things for Gladys, and my number two on the show was like, "Well, you're obviously playing Gladys. That has to happen." I was like, "Oh, okay." So it was so fun. So fun to step in with titans. Constance and Benito, they are titans. So it was really glorious for me.
MF: Now, where did the idea of centering the episodes around holidays come from? Because the holidays are such a heightened time anyway. Emotions are higher during the holidays.
Kellett: Emotions are high. Well, again, that was just a lack. We have so many New Year's traditions, Latinos have. I've never seen them on TV. We walk around with the suitcase. We eat the grapes. All that stuff is stuff that we do. And I was like, "I would love to have it at the periphery. I want it to be in the background because that's what we really do." And people will be like, "Wait, what are all these fun traditions?" But it's not a very special episode. It just happens to be going on the way it would in a family while all the family drama is playing out.
And so I just wanted to see us in the holidays. It just feels like there is an erasure of our existence, generally speaking, that I get to make up for on the show, and I get to wrap it in a beautiful ... All of our directors were women, women of color. Our DP, Sandra Valde-Hansen is Filipina. We had all these women making a beautiful, warm show. And so all of that together was just glorious for me.
MF: Your filmmakers just sound fabulous, as well as your cast. Did you have a hand in casting this?
Kellett: Oh, yeah. Oh, no, I cast the whole thing. Yes. Yeah. It's very important, this cast. Amazon was so supportive. Leslie Litt was our casting director. I've been working with her for many years, so she knew exactly what I wanted. Grounded people, grounded actors. It just so happened they ended up being gorgeous, but really they're there for their immense talent, their immense heart, the layers with which they give these characters that could be stereotyped in other hands. And we were all very aware that we got to make something special. And to be able to put in a little bit of nutrition into a rom-com, which is seemingly an innocuous entertainment, we got to break ground with so many of these characters. And it's really, really exciting for us.
'With Love' is now streaming on Prime Video.