In a serendipitous encounter, Daniel Garcia (Victor Rasuk) meets A-list celebrity Noa Hamilton (Nathalie Kelley) during a steamy night out on the town in Miami. Though sparks fly, can this ordinary baker date a Hollywood star?
Though ABC's new series The Baker and the Beauty follows Noa and Daniel's "roller coaster" relationship, it also showcases the inner workings of a loving Cuban family in Miami.
Distractify spoke exclusively with Lisa Vidal, who play matriarch Mari Garcia, about what viewers can expect from the new series. The actor teased Season 1 storylines, filming in Puerto Rico (lots of dancing and baked goods), and the major finale cliffhanger.
Check out our Q&A below. (Editor's note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Lisa Vidal reveals which cast members learned to bake on 'The Baker and the Beauty.'
Distractify: What kind of family antics and storylines can we see from your character this season, we do know she’s going through a bit of menopause?
Lisa Vidal: Playing Mari Garcia is a lot of fun. She’s multidimensional. She really is this fun mom, passionate and protective of her kids, but she also lays down the law, puts down the hammer. She wrangles everybody in and is the spiritual warrior.
You’re going to see her go through a lot of different things with her kids with Noa Hamilton and the introduction to her and the ex-girlfriend thing. How that affects her relationship with each one of her children and her husband. Then you’re going to find out some fun things about Mari about her past as well.
And, will Mari welcome Noa into the family right away or is she more leery of her because she’s a celebrity?
LV: It’s funny because what we learn about Mari is that she was a showgirl and she has a history with fame and just loving the limelight. When she finds out about Noa Hamilton, there is something exciting about that. … At the core of Mari and her husband is, their heart. … You’re going to see the colors of what that looks like and the different emotions that they go through when Noa comes into their lives.
Can you tease Noa and Daniel’s relationship this season? Is it a roller coaster?
LV: All I can say is it is a roller coaster! That is all I can tease. You’re going to be on the edge of your seat. You’re gonna like, fall in love with the family. You’re just gonna be like, ‘What the heck.’ That is what makes this show so much fun, where you can be laughing in one minute, crying in the next and just falling in love. It’s just a wonderful, wonderful show about a normal family.
Today's society is definitely obsessed with the idea of fame and the celebrity lifestyle. Is that something that drew you to the project?
LV: You really get to explore the real dynamic of the family and the real emotional roller coaster that they go through when this situation comes into their lives. It’s very truthful. It’s very grounded, and yet, it’s so Notting Hill. The romance of it all.
Playing a Latino family that’s also positive and not a cartel family, that’s not destructive or dysfunctional, it’s a very loving family that any family can relate to. That was also very attractive to me, to want to play Mari Garcia.
Noa and Daniel’s relationship transcends race and cultural barriers...
LV: I have always tried to play against stereotypes. … I’ve not wanted to play the prostitutes and drug dealers and all that other nonsense that just consistently Latinos see themselves as on television and so The Baker and the Beauty really kind of surpasses all of that and you just see a family and two people falling in love in this crazy circumstance and in this crazy situation.
...I’m excited to show Latinos in a positive light, a different light, as amazing hardworking people. This happens to be an immigrant family who has been in America for a very long time and they’ve assimilated in a lot of ways, but still hold on to their amazing, beautiful culture, music, dance, food, love, family.
Another character in the show seems to be Miami, the culture and the influence. Though you shot in Puerto Rico, can you talk about how Miami was depicted and the Cuban influence in the series?
LV: Miami is so amazing and so full of Latin culture. Cubans are from the Caribbean, just like Puerto Ricans and our similarity is incredible. The island of Puerto Rico is so beautiful. There’s a sexiness to it, just like in Miami. They really wanted to capture that rich Latin culture, that sexiness.
… I think Puerto Rico was able to accomplish all of that in so many ways. When we needed background actors, we had a wealth of amazing Latino actors. … When it comes to Latin culture there is a strong similarity and unity that’s already there.
Did you shoot in an actual bakery? Were the treats edible?
LV: It was not a real bakery, it was a set. They had this baker come in and make all the pastries. It was really funny because Victor Rasuk, David Del Rio, and Carlos Gómez, actually had to learn how to bake because they had to look like they knew what they were doing. They would bake and would bring stuff. Then we would all sit around and eat it. ... It was like going to grandma’s house and having all this amazing food. The whole crew would play music on the set. It was just fantabulous.
Does the series conclude on a major cliffhanger? Has there been talk yet for a Season 2?
LV: Well, there is definitely a cliffhanger. We have not heard anything about a Season 2 yet, but my goodness, that would be exciting. The creative producers and writers just have incredible ideas of where they want to take these characters and the story.
What’s wonderful too is that they really do invite us actors to come in and pitch things and ideas and storylines for the characters. It’s great, everybody got a word or something to contribute. It’s nice to have that support.
The Baker and the Beauty airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.