‘Elite’s’ Ester Expósito to Star in New Series ‘La Isla Bonita’ (EXCLUSIVE)

CANNES — Ester Expósito, one of the most preeminent of breakout actors from “Elite,” is set to star in “La Isla Bonita,” a new series created by Ginesta Guindal (“Vida Perfecta,” “Elite”), produced by The Immigrant and Sabado Películas with production-distribution superindie Fremantle handling global distribution.

Billed as an irreverent dramedy, “La Isla Bonita” focuses on a group of friends – party, party animal Alfonso, idealist Peter, environmentalist Sol – who share a quaint house on Ibiza, until the owner decides to triple the rent for the summer months, forcing them to find an ingenious solution to keep their lives and home together. 

Expósito, who brought increasing nuance and depth to her performance as Carla Rosón Caleruega in “Elite,” plays Roxy, who rents a room in the house to becomes “someone” on social media, attending the island’s best parties. 

Packing a six-part first season, “La Isla Bonita” casts Ibiza as an “over-the-top metaphor for the challenges younger generations face today: Life in the city is hard because people can’t pay their rent; ecosystems are collapsing and so is our mental health,” a presentation runs. 

The series’s “charming and contradictory” characters are caught in wha looks like a knowing analysis, between “romanticism and cynicism, between the comfort of capitalism and a contradictory idealism, between saving the world and saving their ass,” the presentation continues.

“‘La Isla Bonita’ is a personal series. Lustful. Loving. Full of vitality. This story is based on my own experiences in Ibiza and springs from my life values and emotions, from being a Millennial in today’s world,” said Ginesta.

“Ester’s ability to portray characters that are complex, contradictory, and relatable to audiences worldwide is a wonderful fit,” she added.

Camila Jiménez, CEO of The Immigrant added that the series is “a fiercely personal project that has the potential to connect with audiences globally through characters facing issues common to all Millennials and GenZers.” 

“What’s wonderful about these characters is their resolve to find solutions, to enjoy life despite all those issues,” she continued.

“La Isla Bonita” is scheduled to commence production second half 2023. 

Sheila Aguirre, EVP of content distribution and format sales at Fremantle, commented: “Ginesta is an exceptional creative talent. Through intimate experiences and feelings, Ginesta’s unique storytelling in ‘La Isla Bonita’ is ultimately a deep reflection on today’s world. This anticipated series from the brilliant minds at The Immigrant and Sábado Peliculas will convey something highly personal yet universal.”

“Ginesta has a unique vision and style. She will create a wonderful and personal story around the world of Ibiza, showcasing its lights and shadows and emphasizing critical themes for our times.,”added Toni Carrizosa, CEO and producer of Barcelona’s Sábado Películas.

Based out of Los Angeles, Mexico City and Madrid, The Immigrant was founded by Jiménez and Silvana Aguirre. It produces premium television and film in both English and Spanish, focusing on authentic Latino/a/e/x voices and perspectives. It is backed by Fremantle and Bron.

Launched by Carrizosa and Kike Maíllo, Sábado Películas produced “La Llamada,” distributed by Netflix and the first feature from Javier Ambrossi and Javier Calvo who have gone on to win an international fanbase, creating “Veneno,” aired on HBO Max, and producing “Cardo.” Sábado was also behind “La Sombra de la Ley,” winner of five Goya awards. 

Variety chatted to Jiménez and Guindal about “La Isla Bonita” in the run up to Mipcom.

What state is “La Isla Bonita” in?
Jiménez: It’s quite advanced. We have the whole of the first season sketched out, and a clear vision for the second one. Ginesta is clear on the episodes and we’re just about to begin a pilot.

Have you been writing alone, Ginesta?
Guindal: Yes, I’m the creator and have been writing solo up to now, but we’ll assemble a writers’ room and bring more voices to the project. Same with directing. I’ll oversee creative vision and direct, but I would like to invite another director to the project.
Jiménez: The No. 1 step at this point is the writers’ room. It will be great to continue to build these characters and world with a team of talented writers and under Ginesta’s vision. Same with directing. We have a lot of wonderful ideas on the table already.
The series portrays younger people who lead pretty chaotic lives which yet build step by step into a portrait of the keys to existence of their generations. Could you comment?
Jiménez: This is one of the key strengths of the series from a creative standpoint. The show is telling a story that’s authentic because it’s so close to Ginesta‘a personal experiences, but it touches upon issues that are vital for Millennials and Centennials around the world today. Gentrification is making life unaffordable – whether it’s Ibiza, New York or Puerto Rico, mental health is plummeting around the world – crumbling around the weight of our relationship with social media, sexuality is constantly being redefined… One of the advantages of a multi-character, multi-season show is that it allows you to focus on nuanced themes like these via multiple points of view and see how they develop with the characters through time. 

The issues are surely linked. The widespread anxiety is related to economic insecurity of a generation which attempts to escape through sex which, however, can magnify inner conflicts.
Guindal: Absolutely, it’s systemic at the end of the day. I particularly like to explore characters’ sexuality in my work because I think sex often reveals who we really are. Some characters lose themselves in sex. Others’ repression reflect a larger imbalance in their life. For Roxy, life is aggressive, money protects and sex is just a currency to achieve it. Ester will portray wonderfully a character that is so raw, unapologetic and complex.

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