“Those who come here already lost everything, and they don’t want to lose anything more.”
Mexican immigrant Carlos Martinez says this in the teaser for Telemundo’s new telenovela, “Bajo El Mismo Cielo” Gabriel Porras,“¿Dónde Está Elisa?,” and “El Señor de los Cielos” portrays Carlos, a hardworking Los Angeles landscaper who crossed the border illegally several years ago in search of a better life for his family.
Perla Farias, Vice President of Novela Development, is behind the script for “Bajo El Mismo Cielo,” as well as other network hits “¿Dónde Está Elisa?” and “Marido en Alquiler.” In an interview, Farias discussed the inspiration behind Telemundo’s latest telenovela and how its storyline will touch upon the hot button topic of immigration.
This telenovela was inspired by Roger L. Simon’s screenplay “The Gardener,” which became the 2011 film “A Better Life” starring Mexican actor Demián Bichir.
How much of the film’s story did you keep? This script was our springboard for creating “Bajo el mismo cielo” but, as you can well imagine, transforming a film script that lasts about a couple of hours into a novela that will last at least 120 hours, leaves a lot of pages to write!
Obviously many Latinos in Telemundo's audience can relate to Carlos' story but why did the network decide to touch upon the topics of immigration and the life of an immigrant in the U.S. now?
Telemundo decided to develop this story more than a year ago. We felt it was a story that could be very relevant for our audience since we are the only Spanish-language network that produces Hispanic content in the U.S. We wanted to delve into this issue that for long time has been a hot topic for our audience. It is a big coincidence that just before the premiere, immigration is such a trending topic.
The American dream for Hispanics is mostly about attaining a better life, not only for the individual, but also for the whole family. In this respect we do touch upon the bravery one must have to even aspire for this dream, to risk crossing borders as an undocumented immigrant, and to face the challenges and difficulties that this dream entails. Most of these people come here in search of a more dignified life. Part of what we explore in this story, is the huge obstacles these immigrants face once they are in the Promised Land.
You wrote and helped develop “Bajo El Mismo Cielo,” do you feel personally connected with Carlos and his story? I connect with this story in so many levels; it is inspirational and holds many values that are important to my life. Among those, there’s honesty, hard work, unconditional love and forgiveness!
Beyond the issue of immigration, this is a universal story about a father who raises his two children on his own. Carlos represents all the good and honest people that come to this country willing to work hard for the chance of attaining a better life.
“Bajo El Mismo Cielo” Tuesday, 9 p.m. / 8c on Telemundo Arkansas.