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Cast Shake-ups Rock Telenovela Set
El amor prohibido Pulls El ‘Darrin’
by Ph0tog Carbonell
Popular daytime soap staple, El amor prohibido, filmed locally at Newport Beach studios, is set to undergo some unexpected changes resulting from the departure of its brightest star, actress Marta Estrella.
Estrella’s departure was initially reported via chisme show Acceso Mexico earlier this week, but was at that time classified under their ‘Rumores’ segment. Once confirmed by an El amor prohibido representative, the details began to change almost hourly. At press time, several facts have been confirmed. The role of Estrella’s character—a nurse in the hospital’s terminally ill children’s ward—has already been re-cast. Sandra Elena Higuera, a recent Daytime Desi Award winner for Best Actress (having beaten out Estrella for the title), will replace Estrella in what studio and network executives hope will be a smooth transition. No acknowledgement within the program is expected to occur to draw further attention to the switch.
Speculation abounded at the news of the unexpected bow-out, particularly in light of uncharacteristically erratic behavior displayed by the beloved actress in recent months. According to sources, Estrella’s close link with Newport Beach’s beleaguered Bluth family has troubled even her closest friends. Involved for sometime with self-declared family matriarch Gob Bluth, Estrella attended the Desis instead with an unidentified man, awkwardly arriving in a Bluth Company staircar, believed by many to be an act of protest (not unlike Marlon Brando’s sending Sacheen Littlefeather to decline his Oscar) over the family’s unmerited harsh treatment by local media.
Violence erupted on the set weeks later, when an irate Bluth arrived at the studio and without provocation viciously attacked El amor prohibido staple, Javier. No charges have been filed as a result of the incidence, though fan and media conjecture abounds as to Estrella’s possible involvement in the occurrence, as well as her possible involvement with co-star Javier.
Coming so closely on the heels of famed artista del maquillaje de la peca Ramon Villalobos’ passing, Estrella’s exit from El amor prohibido has left the popular program awash in a sea of uncertainty. Villalobos, whose groundbreaking work (often compared to that of Hollywood’s golden age icon, Max Factor) for such parts as El Raton (Guillermo Ortiz), Pepito (Pablo Dominguez), and Miguelito (Felicio Colon) helped define the look and tone of the extremely successful hospital drama, has been sorely missed by fans and critics alike. The University of Mexico City currently offers a survey course of Villalobos’ work in their American Studies Department.
Other sources have also reported the possible future absence of the character Tio, as Javier is expected to need time off to begin principal photography for Oscar de la Hoya Part 2: Why Are You Hitting Yourself. According to Javier’s hermano, information on possible re-casting or plot-editing for the role of Tio has not been discussed at this time. Fans will doubtless speculate that Marta and Javier have taken time off to be together, though no confirmation on this was found—and we didn’t technically ask, or whatever.
As for Estrella, news as to what’s next for her varies widely depending upon the source. Much of the industry fears she may be leaving the soap world indefinitely to join married illusionist GOB as part of his ‘Saw the Lady in Half’ trick. Her agent denies the rumor, pointing out that she is not registered as an Alliance-approved assistant, and is therefore unqualified to participate in such fashion.
Other reports have Estrella joining the 2002 follow-up feature Blade II with Kris Kristofferson (who starred in 1998’s Dance with Me alongside Chayanne). Eyewitness accounts state she can be seen in Alfonso Arau’s Zapata opposite El Potrillo, Alejandro Fernandez. Zapata is currently playing in Mexico, though bootlegged copies are not difficult to come by. Or so we’re told.