By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent
Fresh off the announcement that his much heralded show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend will return to the CW for a second season, Vincent Rodriguez III will appear Sunday in San Francisco at CAAMfest.
Rodriguez will join Crazy co-star Vella Lovell who plays Heather to discuss gender roles and typecasting in Hollywood. It’s something Rodriguez and Lovell do each week on their romantic music comedy. Rodriguez plays Josh Chan, the teenage crush of Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), a lawyer who gives up a job at a top law firm and moves to West Covina, CA to chase her summer camp dream years later.
The role of Josh had to be changed when the show selected Rodriguez to play him.
“The breakdown description was originally Josh Chang,” Rodriguez told AsAmNews about his character. “They were specifically looking for an actor of Asian decent. As soon as I was cast, Josh became Filipino, like me, and his last name was changed to Chan instead since Chan is a surname in the Philippines.”
The native of San Francisco was raised in nearby Daly City, the unofficial capital city of Filipino Americans. The casting directors at Telsey & Co. auditioned him on tape and would later invite him to audition on tape a second time, but this time for the director Marc Webb. It was a long process that also involved head writer Aline Brosh McKenna and co-creator, head writer, song writer and star of the show, Bloom. The significance of his role to the Asian American community was not lost on Rodriguez.
“I realized it as soon as I heard the show would be on network television (CW) with over 3 million possible viewers,” he said. “I knew there were a few Asian men on TV but not in romantic lead roles. John Cho in Selfie was the last I had heard. But I still had no idea how popular the show would be or how positive an impact my character could have on TV history.”
Episode 13 featured a long kiss between Rebecca and Josh.“I wasn’t surprised. The arc of our characters over numerous seasons was explained to me early on by Aline & Rachel. I knew what would happen at the season finale and what would happen over the course of a few seasons. This was discussed along with a lengthy discussion about who Josh is and his relation to Rebecca. The writers do an amazing job weaving each week’s episode into a story that makes sense for all our characters. They know us (our characters) better than we do. I feel that everything Josh has done, makes sense in Josh’s head.”
Singing plays a huge part in CEG, as Rodriguez calls the show. As with most musicals, the songs push the plot and further the development of the characters. Rodriguez sang and rapped Thug Mansion by T-Pac and accompanied himself on the guitar during his audition.
“I’ve been singing since I was a kid, but my professional training didn’t start until I got accepted to the Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts (PCPA) in Santa Maria, CA in 2001. Since graduating, I worked as a professional actor in musical theatre based out of New York and have done a number of first national tours & original cast recordings including Irving Berlin’s White Christmas the Musical and most recently Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
Music has been central to his career since graduating from PCPA in 2003. He is also a magician, martial artist and gymnast.
“Musical theatre was my primary profession for 12 years so I’ve toured all over the country (and internationally) including Canada & Tokyo, Japan and have also taught acting, singing & dance workshops all in the US but primarily in the Bay Area where I’m from.”
This interview was conducted prior to the show’s renewal. Rodriguez, however, made it a point to notify AsAmNews about the great news.
“He’s obviously thrilled,” said a representative.
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