FANTASY ISLAND: L-R: Stars of the new FOX drama FANTASY ISLAND, Roselyn Sanchez, John G. Rodriguez and Kiara Barnes on set at a press conference highlighting local Puerto Rico production. CR: Laura Magruder / FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC.

A modern drama series, “Fantasy Island” takes place at a luxury resort, where literally any fantasy requested by guests is fulfilled, although they rarely turn out as expected. Delving into the “what if” questions – both big and small – that keep us awake at night, each episode will tell emotional, provocative stories about people who arrive with dreams and desires and depart enlightened and transformed through the magical realism of Fantasy Island.

Serving as steward of this mysterious island is Elena Roarke (Roselyn Sanchez, “Devious Maids,” “Grand Hotel”), a descendant of the iconic Mr. Roarke. Elena set aside her own ambitions, and even the love of her life, to uphold her family’s legacy. Sophisticated, insightful and always charming, her calm exterior masks the challenges of the responsibilities she has assumed. Assisting Elena is Ruby Akuda (Kiara Barnes, “The Bold and the Beautiful”), a young woman with an old soul who arrives on Fantasy Island with a terminal illness and is given a new lease on life there; and pilot Javier (John Gabriel Rodriquez, “Miranda’s Rights,” “Rosewood”), who also is the head of island transportation and a jack of all trades.

It was a pleasure to sit down first with Roselyn Sanchez and then with Kiara Barnes and John Gabriel Rodriguez for this Hotspots interview.

FANTASY ISLAND: Roselyn Sánchez in the series premiere of FANTASY ISLAND airing Tuesday, Aug. 10 (9:00-10:00PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Laura Magruder/FOX.

Were you always an entertainer even as a child or when did it start?

I think I was since my mom was a stage mom. By 4 I was dancing, by 6 playing piano and by 11 I was doing commercials. I enjoyed it very much from the beginning! 

You are a singer/songwriter, dancer, actress, producer and writer. Is there one you like better than the others, and if so, why?

I started as a dancer and that is close to my heart. Acting is what I did when I moved to the States. I do like singing also, and I am discovering writing is a big passion of mine.  Directing is going to be the next stage of my career. 

I became a big fan from your role as Carmen Luna on “Devious Maids.” Was it as fun as it looked like to film that show?

Incredible and to this day, besides Roarke, Carmen Luna was my favorite character and Carmen will always be in my heart. 

Also, I must ask, how was it to work with the iconic Susan Lucci?

Amazing…she is a class act. She is like a queen. 

How did you get cast in “Fantasy Island”?

I got a call and they asked for my availability and then a short while later they offered me the part of Roarke. I was shocked since I assumed that role would go to a male, since the original Roarke was a male (Ricardo Montalban). Then I read it and was super excited, especially since it was going to shoot in Puerto Rico, and that’s where I was born. 

“Fantasy Island” was one of my favorite shows growing up. Is there pressure knowing how iconic the original version was?

Yes, because I think we will have a built-in audience to see what the reboot is all about. So, we hope they enjoy it as much as we enjoyed shooting it. 

You and Kiara Barnes have great chemistry. Was it immediate?

I think it was immediate. She is lovely. She is much younger than I am, but she has an old soul. She is so talented. 

How does this version differ from the original, and how is it similar?

It’s similar as the premise is the same where you have guests going to the island trying to fulfill a dream or fantasy and the island is going to serve them really well. Sometimes it will take them through a journey that is painful or unexpected, but in the end, they will come out better for it. It may not be what they want, but it is what they need. In this new reimagining, they took some creative liberties (Roarke is a female, its 90% outdoors, and it’s a little lighter, and more relatable), so I think the viewers will have the best of both worlds. 

You have a husband and two children. How do you balance work and home?

Its craziness, and I have great help. I have a wonderful nanny and my mother-in-law is a saint. I have a great team. It takes a village! 

Describe Roselyn in three words?

Perseverant, disciplined and a dreamer. 

What do you do for fun?

I have kids, I have no time for fun. 

What does the future hold?

Directing…I definitely want to direct next!

FANTASY ISLAND: Kiara Barnes in the series premiere of FANTASY ISLAND airing Tuesday, Aug. 10 (9:00-10:00PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Miller Mobley/FOX.

How did you guys get cast for “Fantasy Island”?

Kiara Barnes – It happened kind of slow at first with the typical call back, and then when I got the part I was put on a plane almost immediately.

John Gabriel Rodriguez – It was a typical audition, and the I got the word like three weeks later. 

How great is it to work with Roselyn Sanchez?

K- Oh My Gosh, amazing! She is so cool. The first time I met her, she immediately started cracking jokes, and made me feel like we were friends. 

J – She was very welcoming. My first day on set was my first time meeting her. It was really good. 

You are both young, did you ever see the original “Fantasy Island”?

K – I had never seen the show, but my family were huge fans of the original version. I did watch a few episodes on YouTube.

J – My parents were also huge fans of the show, and I did the same as Kiara and went back and watch some shows on YouTube. 

FANTASY ISLAND: John G. Rodriquez in the series premiere of FANTASY ISLAND airing Tuesday, Aug. 10 (9:00-10:00PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Miller Mobley/FOX.

“Fantasy Island” was one of my favorite shows growing up. Is there pressure knowing how iconic the original version was?

K – I don’t know if I felt the pressure since it happened so fast. Also, I felt so at ease cause the filming was amazing as everyone on crew was confident and prepared.

J – I also didn’t feel the pressure. Since it takes a village and everyone was such a pro, we just started working and it was amazing. 

Kiara – you play Ruby, the modern version of Tattoo, such a beloved TV character. Ruby is also part of the LGBTQ+ Community. Did either of those variable give you extra pressure?

I did not feel the pressure since Liz and Sarah did such a good job humanizing the character of Ruby; they made it easy. The writing was so true for the character, I just focused on her. 

What does the future hold for the two of you?

K – I don’t know. Being on this show I have learned to surrender and be in the moment. However, I am definitely optimistic about the future.

J – For me the immediate future is I am getting in my truck and starting to drive.

Fantasy Island started on Fox on Tuesday, August 10 and continues on Tuesdays at 9pm. For more information, go to: