This story is part of I’m So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.
Over the past year, we’ve seen more superhero films and shows embrace a wider range of diversity in their lead characters and the actors who portray them. Last fall, for example, Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings not only had an Asian lead actor but also had a story that heavily centered on Asian and Asian American culture. This summer’s blockbuster Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness has the character America Chavez, who was portrayed by the Mexican American actor Xochitl Gomez.
The new Disney series Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion aims to continue the trend of being more inclusive by having the show center on a Mexican American family. The comedy follows Violet Rodriguez, an everyday Mexican American teenager, who, after being chosen by a magical luchador mask, is transformed into the superhero Ultra Violet.
On CNET’s I’m So Obsessed podcast, Marianna Burelli, who plays Violet’s mom on the show, explained why Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion breaks new ground in terms of representation and inclusion.
“Well, it’s a Latinx family. And we have never seen a Latinx family like this within a superhero context on TV,” said Burelli. “The fact that we are from Mexico is not the most important part of the show. It doesn’t have anything to do with the plot. We are telling the story about a family that just happens to have this background, but has the same problems as the majority of people. And our superhero is a girl.”
As the title suggests, Ultra Violet teams up with another superhero, Black Scorpion, to train and fight crime.
For Burelli, Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion marks her US debut. Originally from Venezuela, she has amassed an accomplished resume performing in theater, films and TV shows in London and Mexico City. For three seasons, she portrayed Natalia Velasco on the Netflix series Paramedicos.
Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion premieres on Disney Plus and the Disney Channel on June 3. During our conversation Burelli emphasized how funny the show was. Part of it was that the cast and crew spent seven months filming in New Orleans under COVID-19 protocols and through Hurricane Ida.
You can listen to my entire interview with Burelli in the podcast player above. We discuss the importance of lucha libre, how she co-founded AMAI, an environmentally friendly makeup and cosmetics company, and her childhood obsession with ALF.
“I was very small, but I remember loving ALF and I remember getting an ALF doll that I could use like a puppet,” said Burelli.
Subscribe to I’m So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, Connie Guglielmo or I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about their work, career and current obsessions.
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