The post Los Espookys’ Bernardo Velasco and Cassandra Ciangherotti on Season 2 and Making a Bilingual Comedy appeared first on Consequence.
There aren’t really any other shows like Los Espookys on television right now. The HBO comedy focuses on a group of friends who create an unconventional event planning service, delivering ghoulish twists on quinceaneras and building haunted houses from scratch. But the story is bigger than that, thanks to the eclectic cast, including Bernardo Velasco, Cassandra Ciangherotti, Ana Fabrega, Julio Torres, and Fred Armisen, and the wild journeys each character is on.
In Season 2, the Los Espookys crew is back to create yet more spooky mayhem, while dealing with the repercussions of Season 1’s relationship dramas. Below, transcribed and edited for clarity, series stars Bernardo Velasco and Cassandra Ciangherotti, who play founding Los Espookys members Velasco and Ciangherotti, tell Consequence about what it was like returning for a second season, how the signature looks for their characters came about, and why their families don’t necessarily “get” the tone of Los Espookys.
Both your characters have such distinct styles, in terms of the wardrobe, hair, and make-up — what was the genesis of those looks? Were they fully-formed characters right away, or were you working with the costume designers and hair and make-up artists to create them?
Casssandra Ciangherotti: Well, I don’t know how it happened with Bernie, but we were in Mexico City and we wanted to know about this classic, dark world. So we went out searching for the darkest place in Mexico City, and I was so afraid because like every time you see someone dressed in black, you feel like they’re going to kill you, right?
And we went there and it was such a discovery because I felt so safe. I felt like everybody was like so nice and everybody was in their own world, and then I discovered that the dark world was the place I belonged to. We dressed ourselves in the dark mood, and I put a little something in my hair. By the end of the night, it was all messy. And I sent that picture to the makeup artist and she loved it. And I was like, “Yeah, this works, because it looks like a woman that was dead in the 18th century is alive again, you know?” And then I saw a picture of Carol Kane, where she was wearing something like that, and then we got Carol Kane and it was amazing.
That’s just a total coincidence?
Velasco: It was a great accident, yeah.
Ciangherotti: How was it for you, Bernie?
Velasco: Yeah, I think that talking about the look, I don’t have anything related to Renaldo. Maybe when I was younger in high school, I wore something black, but no it’s not in my life. But we have a street market, a big street market on Saturdays in one part of Mexico City, and it’s all dark metal. And when you pass by, you can see all these people, like a parade of goth people, which is crazy in the middle of the summer, these people wearing these long jackets and coats.
I really loved the look so when I started trying things for Renaldo, I was surprised how comfortable life feels with that kind of personality, you know? Mostly because I am taller with these boots that Renaldo wears, so it’s a great feeling.
Los Espookys (HBO)
So one thing I find really fascinating about the series as a whole is really exploring the aspect of how it really is Spanish language-forward. As a result, both of you have scenes where you’re interacting with someone who’s speaking English while you’re speaking Spanish. Are those difficult scenes to do? I mean, I only speak a little French, but when I’m trying to speak to someone in French, I have my mind in that place. So trying to switch back and forth, I can imagine it being confusing.
Ciangherotti: It is. It is confusing, because you have to break the language barrier, and then you’re thinking like, they say cut and you find yourself talking in English with the actor, it’s in English. But it’s also interesting because like with your experience, when you’re with a French person you want to practice and you want to give other languages a place. And when you don’t have to do that, it’s like you’re defending your own language. Like you’re defending Spanish. It’s nice to do that as well. It’s nice to defend the language.
Velasco: Yeah, and that freedom to be able to communicate and not having these troubles and knowing that in a reverse way now, people from other parts of the world are making an effort to understand and to be able to communicate in Spanish. That’s a great feeling because, for us Mexicans, it’s something that’s a big pressure from when we’re kids — “you need to learn English.”
And it’s great. I love English. But for me, this is something very refreshing, to have a show that can bring great talents from many parts of America and [bring them together] in a very easy way, everybody with their own language but they can communicate and they can have a great time together.
I love that aspect of it, especially the fact that this is being made for an English-language network. How much does that make an impact on your day-to-day lives?
Velasco: I think not yet. I think in Mexico, not that many people know Los Espookys. For some reason, what I understand, is that the main goal in the first season was the USA, which is great because I think we have many different opinions from very interesting people. But now I think the second season is going to have another impact in Latin America, so we are really excited to see that. Friends that I have love, love Los Espookys. Some members of my family don’t understand Los Espookys, but they love it either way.
What is it about it that they don’t understand?
Velasco: I think that the kind of humor, how they make jokes — let’s say that telenovelas have this tone. In Mexico, we have like a very long tradition of that kind of tone, so for some members of my family, this is not a joke, it’s like, “Why they are doing bad telenovela? That telenovela is not very well-acted.” So they are confused because they don’t know how to laugh about the telenovela yet.
Ciangherotti: Yeah, it’s also like, when you hear an English series or movie and you’re not from America, you have to sit down and watch because you read the subtitles and you integrate. But when you are from Latin America, you’re hearing a lot of accents in this show because it’s so eclectic. So it’s also a challenge for Latin America, which is interesting as well.
So the tone of the show is very deadpan in a lot of ways — you’re cracking a lot of really funny jokes without laughing. But on set, who breaks the most? Who starts laughing in the middle of a scene most often?
Velasco: Cassandra. [Both laugh]
Ciangherotti: I do. I do. Yeah, I mean, like sometimes it’s like, “Gaahhh!” and I laugh out loud because it’s so funny, like Bernardo sometimes does these things — for me, I laugh a lot with Bernie, with Renaldo, because he’s so serious about it, but sometimes he’s saying some things that are like beyond any comprehension and I think that they’re so funny and yeah. I laugh out loud with Renaldo. I don’t know why, but I think he’s so funny.
Who never breaks?
Ciangherotti: I don’t know anybody that doesn’t break in a scene, I haven’t met them.
Velasco: I think that Fred [Armisen] is somebody that is very, very focused, and I think he has a very big muscle for comedy. He doesn’t lose control. But yeah, I think that Julio and I and Cassandra and I sometimes we just can’t hold it.
Here’s my last question for you today — what’s it like working with Bimbo, aka Frutsi?
Velasco: [Laughs] It’s my favorite character of Los Espookys. He’s so soft. He’s so, like, charming, he’s so obedient, you know, he’s so smart. So yeah, it’s great to be hogging him on set.
Los Espookys Season 2 premieres Friday, September 16th on HBO. New episodes drop weekly and can be streamed on HBO Max.