“I think people are yearning for connection and community, and that’s what the show is about. It’s going to make you laugh so hard, but it also has a lot of heart. That’s part of the reason I did it,” Blockbuster star Olga Merediz told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY.
Olga stars as Connie Serrano, the lovable mother figure to the Blockbuster employees. Olga admitted that she loves how “frank and very blunt” Connie is as well. “People these days, we’re always kind of hiding our opinions and our feelings. We don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, so to have somebody like Connie who just speaks her mind was just very attractive to me,” she continued. “Also, working with Vanessa Ramos who did Brooklyn Nine-Nine and then Superstore, and then of course working with Randall Park and Melissa Fumero. I just read the scenes and they were hilarious, and I have a weakness for comedy.”
The acting veteran stars alongside Randall, Melissa, Tyler Alvarez, Madeleine Arthur, and more in the ensemble series. Olga noted it was “rare” to have such effortless chemistry amongst the cast.
“We’re all from different backgrounds, all different ages, and we’re like a family,” Olga said. “We had a blast on set. Comedy is very quick, and we shot it fast. We kind of had to become a family in order to shoot these scenes,” the actress explained. “We were all thrilled to be doing this, and we all get along. In the show itself, we’re very involved in each other’s lives, maybe a little too much. That’s part of the story. It was wonderful working with these actors, some of them very young like Madeleine Arthur, Tyler Alvarez, those two cutie patooties. They’re so cute and a lot of my scenes were with them. There was a lot to teach each other. They taught me a lot about technology. My generation, we’re just so bad, but they would come to me for life wisdom. So it was a good match.”
The first season ended with Timmy saying he’s ready to give up Blockbuster. The last standing store has gone through its ups and down, but this moment seemed a bit more definitive. “I don’t think anybody in that crew, in that family, the employees, I don’t think they’re going to react very kindly to that, especially Connie,” Olga admitted. “She’s a big fan of Timmy. She loves him. She reveres him. I think she’s going to fight that, so we’ll see what happens.”
If the show were to get a season 2, Olga wants to see Connie’s husband pop up. “There’s a few people that could do it. Jimmy Smits, maybe. George Lopez,” she quipped about who could play her onscreen hubby.
Olga was also the singing voice for Abuela Alma in the critically-acclaimed Disney film Encanto, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. The actress opened up about how she feels about the state of Latinx representation in Hollywood after the success of the film.
“I just feel like — finally — we are being represented. It’s resonating with everybody, not just the Latinx community, but everybody because these are universal stories,” Olga told HollywoodLife. “It’s stories about families, about children, it’s everybody’s stories. I have come full circle again with Encanto being part of the film, being lucky enough to be the singing voice of the Abuela Alma character, and then having it done here in LA at the Hollywood Bowl coming up very soon. It just feels like I’ve come full circle, very much like In The Heights where I did off-Broadway, on Broadway, and then I was lucky enough to be in the film. I’m just happy to be part of that whole conversation and have people see themselves on screen like that. It’s very special.”
There have been murmurs about a possible Encanto sequel. “Hey, I knew nothing about it, so you’re telling me for the first time,” Olga admitted. “You know what? I’m going to have to ask these people and get the scoop. If I get the scoop, you’ll be the first to know.”