All good things come to those who wait. And that good thing has finally come. After nearly a year of anxious expectations, we can at last behold the trailer for Telemundo’s 80-hour biopic-novela on La Reina de la Salsa, Celia Cruz.
Slated to premiere later this fall on that other U.S.-based Spanish-language network, Celia will cover La Reina’s half-century of son in one epic, season-long sweep, focusing on the obstacles she faced both from her family and Cuban society as a black woman trying to make it on the global stage.
As we reported late last year, the young Celia and her boo Pedro Knight will be played by Puerto Rican actors Jeimy Osorio and Modesto Lacen, while Cuban actress-singer Aymée Nuviola and Boricua Willie Denton will take over duties for the couple’s older incarnations. The international cast will be rounded out by the likes of Abel Rodríguez, Carolina Gaitán, and Aida Bossa along with dozens of established and emerging Latin American talents.
Celia llegará muy pronto para llenar tu noches de música y sabor.
Posted by Telemundo on Thursday, August 20, 2015
Now, we all know that telenovelas are typically cranked out like pan caliente, and this particularly Latin American cultural institution isn’t exactly renowned for its evocative cinematography or moving performances, but Telemundo clearly understood they were sitting on a potentially historical TV phenomenon with this series, and from the looks of the trailer, they did it right.
Impeccable period costumes, subtle, moody lighting, and nuanced performances seem to put Celia in another league compared to the more generic novela fare we’re used seeing on Telemundo and its ilk. We can still certainly expect the melodramatic flares that virtually define Latin America’s serial genre, but with solid performances from the series’ stellar cast, Celia could very well have crossover appeal that goes far beyond typical telenovela audiences.
Plus, the life story of Celia Cruz has been a sort of holy grail for networks and film studios since La Guarachera de Cuba tragically passed away 12 years ago after a protracted battle with cancer at the age of 77. We can only hope that La Reina’s positive energy and effusive spirit are done due justice in this ambitious, momentous series.
UPDATE 10/18/2016: After premiering on Telemundo last year, all eighty episodes of Celia are now available on Netflix.