The ABC drama Grand Hotel, an English-language remake of Spain’s equivalent to Downton Abbey, has cast its leading man. Oscar-nominated Mexican actor Demian Bichir will join the cast as Gonzalo Cardenas, the suave patriarch and owner of the Grand Riviera Hotel, Deadline reports. The character is described as a self-made man who can easily get people on his side, yet he’ll do whatever he can to keep his secrets from being discovered.

Eva Longoria, the executive producer of the series, campaigned for Bichir to join the cast saying, “There was no one else I could envision in the role of Gonzalo.” Bichir is said to be playing opposite Puerto Rican actress Roselyn Sanchez, who previously worked with Longoria on the television series Devious Maids. Sanchez’s role is currently unspecified other than being the female lead.

This interpretation of the series won’t be a period drama like its predecessor, but instead follows the lives and loves of the Cardenas family, the Grand Riviera Hotel’s staff and the numerous secrets everyone is hiding.

Bichir is a solid choice considering his pedigree. He was nominated for an Oscar in 2011 for the drama A Better Life and since then he’s had memorable supporting roles in the Showtime dramedy Weeds and FX’s The Bridge. He’s also been in several prominent features including Oliver Stone’s Savages and the recent alien horror film Alien: Covenant. Considering this is a melodrama you need actors who can sell the story without exaggerating the emotions and Bichir can pull it off. Sanchez is also a fantastic bit of casting as there’s no doubt she’ll be playing a character as wily as she is beautiful.

It’s still unknown if ABC plans to greenlight the series. As far as audiences know all that’s being filmed is a pilot for series consideration. Regardless, with two talented leads on-board, all signs point to this being a full show in no time.

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