Kiara Barnes and John Gabriel Rodriquez join Fox’s remake of the classic drama Fantasy Island. The series has been given a straight-to-series order to air this summer.
The reboot is keeping the semi-anthological format of the original Fantasy Island with three main characters, two played by Barnes and Rodriquez, who live/work on the island and new guests arriving in every episode.
The original “Fantasy Island” ran on ABC for seven seasons and 152 episodes from 1978-1984, with two TV movies having been released in early 1977. Gene Levitt created the original series and it was set at a luxurious but remote tropical island resort, the enigmatic Mr. Roarke somehow makes the secret dreams of his well-heeled guests come true, although twists of fate occasionally turn those dreams into nightmares. He is assisted by Tattoo, a little person who could be trusted to sing out, “Da plane! Da plane!” as each group of guests arrived. In the final season of the series, Roarke is joined by Lawrence, a dapper Englishman. As a sort of anthology series, the show featured new guest stars each week, and many big names of the era made a trip onto “Fantasy Island.”
The original starred Ricardo Montalbán as the mysterious Mr. Roarke and Hervé Villechaize as his assistant Tattoo as they grant guests so-called “fantasies” on the island for a price.
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The new Fantasy Island will be run by Elena Roarke, a direct descendant of Mr. Roarke. The new series is described as a modern semi-anthology series that delves into the “what if” questions, both big and small, that keep us awake at night. Each episode will tell stories about people who walk in with a desire, but end up reborn to themselves through the magical realism of Fantasy Island.
Barnes will play the warm and wise Ruby Okoro, a young woman with an old soul. She arrives on Fantasy Island with a terminal illness, but Roarke and the island give her a new lease on life. Rodriquez will play the rugged, handsome and charismatic Javier, Fantasy Island’s head of transport — a pilot, mechanic and jack of all trades. While the island provides Javier refuge, as with everything else it offers, it may come at the price of a reckoning.
There is no direct version of the Tattoo character in the reboot.
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The project hails from writer-producers Liz Craft and Sarah Fain as well as Sony Pictures TV and its Gemstone Studios label, which co-produce with Fox Entertainment. The Fantasy Island reimagining, written and executive produced by Craft and Fain, delves into the “what if” questions that keep us awake at night. Each episode will tell emotional, provocative stories about people who walk in with a desire but end up reborn to themselves through the magical realism of Fantasy Island.