BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Holidays can be the best of times or the worst of times depending on whether they end up being pure chaos or provide a great way to connect with family and friends. Constance Marie, who stars in the new Amazon Original Series “With Love” has seen big holidays in her past be a little of both.
“You have these moments of connection but of course there is the holiday chaos because you haven’t seen some of these people in over a year. Especially in the Latinx community because everyone is super excited to see each other,” Marie says. “Between the food, the music and the chit-chat, that’s some chaos.”
The first episode of “With Love,” set to be available on the streaming service of Prime Video starting Dec. 17, looks at the extended members of the Diaz family as they get together for Christmas. The five-episode season of the series created by Gloria Calderón Kellett will spotlight a different holiday over a 12-month period.
Marie plays Beatriz Diaz, a mother of two who is going through a midlife/identity crisis now that her kids are getting older and her marriage has been stalled for years. Along with Marie, the series stars Emeraude Toubia, Mark Indelicato, Rome Flynn, Desmond Chiam, Vincent Rodriguez, Isis King, Todd Grinnell and Benito Martinez.
This is the second time Marie has worked on a project with Martinez as they were both in one scene together in the 1995 film “My Family.” Marie laughs when she talks about how the man who plays her husband in “With Love” portrayed her brother in that film.
“With Love” stands out because of the diverse cast. It is a great source of pride for the East Los Angeles native to be part of a production that doesn’t just casually embrace diversity but gives it a massive bear hug. It is a rarity in the TV world to have a show that not only features a Latinx cast but is willing to embrace all of the cultural elements that go with it.
“When I read this, I thought this is what the world should look like,” Marie says. “I remember watching ‘Friends” back in the day and asking ‘Where is this in New York?’ I have never seen any place this sanitized in New York.
“With ‘With Love,’ it truly embodies the name. Every ethnicity. Every character is treated with great love. We have all gone through so much with COVID that everyone is so disconnected right now. I feel this is the show we need right now about love and coming together.”
Marie is happy “With Love” is such a diverse show but she quickly adds that there is also a very universal theme of family that transcends all ethnicities. That, to her, is another strength of the series.
It was necessary for Marie to draw on some of her own life experiences to form her character before filming started because “With Love” made one of the fastest transitions from the pitching of the idea to being broadcast ready. The initial idea for the series was discussed in January and was filmed during the peak of protocols relating to the pandemic. It is now ready to be seen in under a year.
“The speed of making this series is a testament to all the actors who knew how important this project is,” Marie says. “For the Latinx community, to make it to a rom-com is a big deal. We all grew up watching rom-coms while growing up and as far as Latinx representation, we haven’t been there yet.”
Marie is convinced the quickness to get the series to the public is proof that Prime Video has faith in the series. As for herself, Marie has been a working actor for enough years to not let elements such as a quick production time or pandemic protocols impact what she does.
All of this wisdom comes from working on such productions as “Switched at Birth,” “Tortilla Soup,” “Undone,” “George Lopez” and “Selena.” Not only has she been acting for more than three decades, Marie has launched her own clothing line.
Her resume is filled with both heavy dramas and big-laugh comedies. When asked which between comedy and drama she liked the best, Marie has a very honest answer.
“I am equally uncomfortable doing both,” Marie says with a smile. “I stress about both and I am a bit of a perfectionist. I have been in this industry so long that I remember the time when Latin actors could not even audition for Latin roles.
“So I always knew I had to bring the work and bring my very best.”
Marie adds that if her rent was due, she would be funny or serious as long as the job paid.