If you visit the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel in this weekend, you may notice a lot more activity in the lobby than usual.
And it has nothing to do with Spring Break.
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The iconic property has been turned into the set for an upcoming ABC pilot called “Grand Hotel.”
The show, based on the old Spanish series “Gran Hotel,” is helmed by a woman who knows a thing or two about telenovela-style series: “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria, whose many producing credits include TV’s deliciously soapy “Devious Maids” and “Telenovela.”
Longoria, who is six months pregnant with her first child with husband Jose “Pepe” Baston, has been in Miami for a few weeks, scouting locations, supervising scenes and setting up shots.
She’s super excited about the project, which she calls her “second baby.”
“It has an ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ feel to it,” said Longoria, referencing UK’s period TV series. “There’s also a lot of mystery, murder and romance. It’s everything you want from a drama but it’s also fun and beautiful to watch.” insane view of the beach. Everywhere you look, it’s a cinematic dream.”
Longoria is also excited to be at such a famed place.
“We fell in love with the Fontainebleau,” she said. “The look is exactly what we wanted to portray. We were lucky we got to use this amazing space: the gold wall, the Sinatra ballroom, the lobby, the stairway. To be in the same room where Elvis played and to have actors on the same stage… We were so happy to do it all in one location like this.”
This isn’t the first time big time stars have descended on the Fontainebleau. Also shot there “The Bodyguard,” with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner; “Tony Rome,” with Frank Sinatra; and “The Bellboy,” with Jerry Lewis.
“It’s something very cool to be a part of,” said the hotel’s president and COO Philip Goldfarb. “Our guests are all watching, snapping pics. And Eva’s amazing to work with.”
“Gran Hotel,” which stars Rosalyn Sanchez (Devious Maids) and Demián Bichir (Oscar nominated for A Better Life) couldn’t have been done in any other city, they said.
“Miami is a character,” said Longoria. “There’s no other city like it in the country. In the world.”