TCA Awards Preview: How 'Jane the Virgin's' Jaime Camil Will Co-Host With His Character Rogelio
The actor will charm the crowd (he hopes) by sharing the stage with his critic-favorite character from the CW series.
This year, the host of the Television Critics Association Awards will have a dual personality. For part of the ceremony, he'll be 43-year-old Mexican actor Jaime Camil; during other parts, he'll be Rogelio de la Vega, the preening, self-involved telenovela star Camil plays on The CW's Jane the Virgin. "At some point Rogelio is going to jump in on the hosting, push me out of the way and do some funny stuff," promises Camil. "It's going to be a lot of fun." Before his turn at the podium, the first-time TCA host spoke with THR about playing to a roomful of critics, Jane's upcoming "blue" season (as in sad, not dirty) and what it takes to fill Ellen DeGeneres' shoes.
Did you have any hesitation about hosting an awards show for a group of critics?
This is going to sound a little bit like b.s., but I really, really love the critics. We're super blessed and privileged because they all love the show. And most of them love my work, and they love Rogelio de la Vega. So I'm super at ease and so excited to be with everyone in the room.
Do you read your reviews? Some actors say they never do.
If you read the good stuff, then you become this terrible, pretentious asshole nobody likes. And if you read the bad stuff, then you get so sad and so depressed. So I've learned to have a very, very bad memory and a very good stomach.
You've spent the summer playing Billy Flynn in Chicago on Broadway. Can we expect a musical number during the TCA Awards?
This is the thing: You may have a bunch of ideas, but you are restricted to the budget and you're restricted to the technical facilities the awards can give you. So I have a lot of ideas to shoot this and that, but then we have to see if the TCAs are going to have video capabilities and how big the screen will be — if they're even going to have a screen. We have to work together in order to do things that will make sense.
It sounds like you've given this a lot of thought.
Definitely. We have huge shoes to fill: Ellen DeGeneres, Bryan Cranston. It's not like one day before I said, "OK, this is what I'm going to do." You have to plan it at least a month in advance. So I've been talking to my writers and going back and forth with ideas. At this awards show the host only does an opening monologue and doesn't appear again, so we want to try and have everyone laughing and having a good time.
How did you decide to bring Rogelio to the podium, rather than hosting only as yourself?
I went immediately to Jennie Snyder Urman, my showrunner, and I went to David S. Rosenthal and Micah Schraft, who are writers on Jane. They know me so well — they know my physical comedy. I said: "Listen, if [the critics] love Rogelio so much, we should give them the gift of Rogelio. Rogelio should be there doing something." They all agreed.
How do you think he's going to go over at TCA?
I think Rogelio is going to think this event is to honor him. (Laughs.) So you can imagine where it is we'll go. By the way, I've never done this before — I've never hosted as a character. But this time we're going to do a little change because the critics love Rogelio so much.
But you've hosted awards shows before, right?
I've hosted the Latin Grammys; I've hosted the Nickelodeon Mexico Kids' Choice Awards two years, back to back. I do enjoy hosting shows — I have a lot of fun interacting with the audience, telling jokes and landing the punchlines. So I do have some experience being in front of a tough crowd.
What are the writers saying about season three of Jane the Virgin? What can we expect from Rogelio?
I am really concerned about my character because Rogelio is devastated that Michael [Jane's fiance, whom Rogelio considers his best friend] got shot [in the season-ending cliff-hanger]. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a very blue and sad third season for Rogelio until Michael gets better. And he better get better because if something bad happens to Michael — oh my dear God — I don't know what's going to happen to Rogelio.
This story first appeared in the Aug. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.