Netflix is reportedly spending $20 million at Rosarito’s Baja Studios for the new Selena: The Series show based on the life and death of Selena Quintanilla, the late “Queen of Tex-Mex” music.
“The biggest advantage of filming at Baja Studios versus filming in the U.S. is the cost,” said Teresa Mala, former Rosarito resident and Selena impersonator.
“Filming [at Baja Studios] generates savings of ten percent compared to recording work in the U.S. or Australia,” said Comisión de Filmaciones de Baja California (Film Commission of Baja California) in a Cobertura360 news report.”
The south Rosarito studio, about a 25-mile drive south of the San Diego and Tijuana border, was originally built in 1996 for the production of Titanic. It sits on 46 acres with more than 3000 feet of ocean front, a favorable spot to reenact the 1993 “La Llamada” music video, where Selena is depicted singing and dancing to the cumbia instrumentals played by her siblings and her boyfriend Chris Perez at a house party overlooking the ocean.
Baja Studios is a self-contained production facility with dressing rooms, offices, scenery workshops, wardrobe facilities, and “some of the world’s largest stages and filming tanks.” Tank 1 alone provides “350,000 square feet of exterior shooting space for flooded or dry scenarios.”
“I remember when Fear The Walking Dead was filming down there,” Mala continued. Fear The Walking Dead was a prequel series to The Walking Dead. Both TV shows were produced by AMC.
Christian Serratos, who played Rosita Espinosa in The Walking Dead, will portray the Mexican-American Tejano singer, as she “comes of age and realizes her dreams.”
Netflix isn’t saying whether Serratos performs her own vocals for the role. But some fans are preemptively balking at the notion. “I’m down for a Selena series, but y’all really should’ve kept the original [Selena] vocals,” said a fan underneath the series’s preview. “Nobody was trying to hear Jennifer Lopez sing and we’re not trying to hear [Espinosa] sing either. It’s cute and all, but we’re gonna need Selena.”
There’s no mention on the press releases of whose vocals will be used in the singing scenes of the new series.
Blanca, a North Park resident and die-hard Selena fan, loved when Jennifer Lopez played Selena in the eponymous 1997 movie. “I really don’t care whose ‘Bidi Bidi Bom Bom’ and ‘Dreaming of You’ vocals are used in the 2020 series. Netflix is showing our new generation who Selena was before she was taken from us in 1995; many weren’t even born, yet.”
“Netflix is trying to show the values and principles of a Latino family,” said Baja Studios’ Kurt Honold Morales in a Cobertura360 interview. “[And] how the values and principles that Selena’s father instilled in her, and all the work she did, led to her being a star. They were very humble people.”
“I do Selena tributes in Rosarito and Las Vegas,” Mala said. “I do all of Selena’s top hits in English and Spanish.”
Mala sent me photos and video clips of her clad in sequined gowns, bikini tops, and skin tight, bell-bottomed pantsuits as she performed Selena’s Tex-Mex music at the Fremont Street Experience venue in downtown Las Vegas, and at Los Amigos Sports Bar and Grill in Rosarito. “.But since Covid-19, I haven’t been back to Rosarito. I miss Rosarito.”
“With all the clubs and bars closed down in Rosarito,” Blanca continued, “the $20 million Selena production… will help the city’s economy.”
As of press time, there is no mention of Netflix’s exact release date of Selena: The Series. The streaming service did mention “2020” and “Part 1” in a Tweet which led the fans to believe there will be more than one season, and that the show “was developed alongside, and will be executive produced by the Quintanilla family.”
Reproduced from an article in the “San Diego Reader“