A groundbreaking series is getting a makeover: veteran TV producer Norman Lear (All in the Family, The Jeffersons, too many more to list) recently announced his plans to update one of his greatest hits, One Day at a Time, with an all-Latin@ cast.
In case you don’t recall the original sitcom, here’s a refresher: One Day at a Time ran from 1975-1984 and was as much a drama as a comedy. Bonnie Franklin starred as Ann Romano, a divorcée in Indianapolis who was raising two teenage daughters, Julie and Barbara Cooper. Like all of Lear’s shows, it promoted social progress (including women’s empowerment) , and tackled hefty issues with storylines on sexual harassment and drug abuse. It made a star out of Valerie Bertinelli (Barbara), but the fame took its toll on Mackenzie Phillips (Julie).
Lear will likely work on the show with Sony Pictures Television and Televisa USA, the stateside arm of Mexico’s mass media giant, Televisa. This would be Sony’s second shot at a One Day remake, as they previously produced a Spanish-language version called Solo en America for Telemundo in the late 1990s. Lear says he wants to take up the feminist thread from the original while also examining issues in the Latin@ community.
It’s still very early in the development stage, but that doesn’t mean we can’t express some wishful thinking about the cast. Remember: I’m not actually the casting director, and you are more than welcome to sound off in the comments with your picks.
There’s no lack of talented Latinas to portray Ann, the first TV mom to deal openly with menopause and deadbeat ex-husbands. I am pushing for Judy Reyes in this role, though. As Carla Espinosa on Scrubs, she juggled her nursing career with a great home life (even if she was married to man-child Dr. Turk). She went from that mostly straight-woman role to a campier part in Eva Longoria’s Devious Maids. Lear’s reboot would be a great place for Reyes to showcase both her comedic and dramatic chops.
See also: Constance Marie, who’s had all kinds of TV families, from the more traditional in George Lopez to the less conventional of Switched at Birth; or Lauren Velez, who provided great counsel (to her own detriment) on Showtime’s Dexter.
The older sister, Julie was the rebellious one (and a little boy-crazy). In the original, she dealt with typical teen issues (her burgeoning sexuality, underage drinking, etc.). Though not easily led, she was practical enough to listen to mom Ann when it mattered most. Mackenzie Phillips’ real life struggles with addiction make it tempting to cast a reformed artist like Demi Lovato. But I’d love to see what trans actress Harmony Santana (Gun Hill Road) could do in the role.
See also: How about singer Leslie Grace? She hasn’t ventured into acting (yet), but she could totally play Judy Reyes’ daughter. And Nickelodeon fave (and part-boricua) Victoria Justice has also proven she’s great at navigating TV teen waters.
Barbara started off a tomboy, but morphed into one of America’s favorite good girls. She showed better judgment in most matters than her older sister, but she couldn’t completely avoid the pitfalls of being a teenager. Makenzie Vega (younger sister of Alexa PenaVega), who’s done great work on The Good Wife, could be just the squeaky-clean teen for the part. Or how about Cierra Ramirez of the Jennifer Lopez-produced The Fosters?
See also: The adorable Madison de la Garza (Desperate Housewives), who happens to be Demi Lovato’s half-sister.
Dwayne Schneider aka Schneider
He was the nosy building super who went from meddling stranger to confidante. He popped in at the most inopportune times, but that meant he saw the Romano-Cooper women at their best—and worst. Danny Trejo could be great in this part, as the guy you wouldn’t necessarily think to ask to watch your children. He’s already played against type as a cuddly-yet-brilliant uncle in the Spy Kids franchise.
See also: Eugenio Derbez has already made the move to Hollywood from Mexican cinema, so a sitcom would be a great next step. And, if we made a Venn diagram of funny and creepy, Oscar Nuñez (NBC’s The Office) would be sitting pretty in the union (or overlap).