Twenty-five years after the death of beloved Tejano star Selena, her story is being told once more through Selena: The Series. But for many Selena fans, the Netflix series has a lot to live up to, as the 1997 biopic Selena starring the multi-talented Jennifer Lopez was a cultural phenomenon, shooting Lopez to superstardom. So much so, that one of the series’ stars Ricardo Chavira made it a point to not watch the Jennifer Lopez movie.
In Selena: The Series, Ricardo Chavira portrays the fallen star’s father and manager Abraham Quintanilla. For the drama, there are new sides shown of the Quintanilla family as viewers get to see the Latin superstar’s rise from local singer to the Queen of Tejano Music. Chavira wanted to bring a fresh take on the Quintanilla patriarch in the new series. So, he decided to not watch the Lopez adaptation.
And I also thought I grew up around this story, or the story and I grew up together, so I don't need to see the movie. But I’ve seen clips of it over the years. And when I found out I was going to get this role... I made sure not to watch the movie because I didn't want it to inform any of my decision making as an actor and how I was going to approach the role.
While being interviewed by ET, Ricardo Chavira spoke about not watching the iconic biopic revealing another reason the actor avoided Selena as well. That was due to popular actor Edward James Olmos’ legendary portrayal of the Quintanilla patriarch. He didn’t want Olmos’ performance to influence his take.
I mean Edward James Olmos, he's amazing! He's an amazing, authentic, talent that is also part of me, Mexican American. He's iconic… I never saw it, but now I'm kind of nervous to see it.
Given how the film’s stature and popularity have grown amongst the late star’s fanbase, Ricardo Chavira was right to avoid the movie as people still cherish it to this day. He wanted his performance to stand apart from Edward James Olmos'.
One thing to give the Netflix series is that it delves into the details of Selena’s story over several episodes instead of 90 minutes. Compared to the biopic, the Netflix series has expanded her story by focusing more on her beginnings and sharing untold stories and intimate moments.
The series does have quite a bit to live up to considering not only did the 1997 film propel Lopez’s career but garnered her a Golden Globe nomination. Selena grossed more than $35 million at the box office with the soundtrack selling over a million copies.
You can check out the first season of Selena: The Series on Netflix featuring Chavira and Walking Dead's Christian Serratos as the slain star along with Gabriel Chavarria, Noemi Gonzalez and Seidy López.