oh how we missed los espukis,
HBO’s weirdo horror-comedy returns after three years this week to be ‘spookier’ than ever. The pandemic may have halted production on season two, but the beloved series is back without missing a beat, aptly named the Los Espuques gang, as they create more homemade horrors on demand, all their own. Encountering the demons of – sometimes literally.
For queer creators and stars Julio Torres and Ana Fabrega, the new season was an opportunity to dig deeper into their world, more confident in their vision than ever before. It also gave him room to explore new sides to his stellar ensemble: the enigmatic Andrés (Torres), the flighty Tati (Fabrega), the practical Ursula (Cassandra Ciengherotti), the big-hearted Reynaldo (Bernardo Velasco), and his idealistic uncle Tico. (Fred Armisen, also a series co-creator).
before the premiere, qwerty Torres and Fabrega sat down with him to unpack the journey ahead. The pair touched on a new season’s “refrigerated treat,” what that all means los espukis To be labeled a “queer show” and shared the stories behind two of the season’s most spectacular guest appearances.
Queerty: Ana, you’ve said before that . second season of los espukis Feels “much more mature”. How would you say the show has grown and evolved in the three years since season one?
Ana Fabrega: Going into the second season, we knew the show better, we knew our characters better, we knew the world better. And all this, I think, led to a very strong season. As with the first season, we didn’t tell the pilot whether the series would be picked up, so we had an idea of what the show was going to be like. It wasn’t until a little over half of the first season that I felt like we really started to find the show. And so going into season two, I thought like, we knew the show so much better.
Julio Torres: I agree, I think the show has come into its own. [Los Espookys] truly understands ourselves and the world in which it occurs—it’s as if we’ve resolved [it.]
Knowing that the entire season was written — and that you were more than halfway to filming it — when the pandemic began, were there certain elements of the show that you could try to do differently once production resumed? wanted to see from?
Torres: talk about the world los espukis Is it so distinctive, so departed from our day-to-day lives that I felt like- me, [returning to] Felt like it was just a refrigerated treat that I could come back to [Laughs.] I don’t know, Ana, did you feel different?
Fabrega: Not really, to be honest. We left the stories and everything as is. Some shows that had a break were like, “Oh, let’s change some stuff,” or whatever, and we were like, “We want to shoot what’s written in 2019!” So, just going back and our same actors and a bunch of our crew and all that — I think it almost felt like, “Wow, who was I here when the pandemic started,” and then that But coming back, we were all still together. Yes, it’s all happened, and we’ve all gone through everything we’ve done to ourselves. But it was almost as if the show was different.
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Often times, you’ll see los espukis Labeled as a queer show, and I wondered what does it mean for both of you that the show is viewed through that lens?
Torres: Well, this is a queer show because it was created by queer people who mostly have queer friends, so they mostly write for those queer friends. [Laughs.] So I wouldn’t say it was intentional — I think it’s very organic, and instinctive. It’s like asking me, you know, “Your hair is pink—was that an intentionally bizarre decision?” [Laughs.] It’s like, “Not at all, that’s just what I like!’
I think a big part of it is the reading of our four main characters – who make up Los Espuquis as “the chosen family”. Do you see them that way? Do you think the characters do?
Fabrega: I totally see why people would see it that way. In a way, it’s a group of people who came together because they had things in common and probably felt like they didn’t have other people in their lives that they could relate to in these ways.
But also, yes, Tati is Ursula’s sister. [Laughs.] But it’s almost like the chosen family!
Torres: There’s something they feel very comfortable with in their friendship that feels great – they don’t really question it. The kind you see with groups of friends who probably aren’t in big cities, where they just run into each other and become friends. They feel settled in their friendship in a way that feels very real.
Switching Gear: At this point, I’m not going to spoil anything by saying that Kim Petras has a great guest appearance this season, and I have to tell you I didn’t even recognize her at first because it was so unexpected—
How did she come to join the show?
Fabrega: When We Were Writing, We Wanted a Boss for Ambassador Melanie Gibbons [played by Greta Titelman], We’re both fans of Kim, we both love her music — and, especially when she put out those Halloween albums, it’s like “Oh!” as it was she is so in this world [already], and also, her personality is a version of Paris Hilton’s or a Barbie doll’s, so of course she has to be Melanie’s boss. So we wrote the part with her in mind and hoped that maybe she would be up for it. And we were lucky enough to have him!
And, Ana, you directed the episode she’s in—what was it like having her on set?
Fabrega: it was very nice. She had never acted like this before, and she was very prepared, knew her lines really well, took feedback, and was great to work with. Sometimes, if you’re a fan of someone there’s [a fear that they’ll] disappointed or something. But, no, she was very nice. It was great fun working with him and being a part of the show.
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She’s one of some amazing guest stars on this season, as well of Roma Yalitza Aparicio, who plays Moon, is pretty incredible casting. Did you create the role with that in mind, or was the idea that Moon would be a character?
Torres: The moon came first. And then we knew we wanted someone with some sort of magnetic presence to play the Moon.
Fabrega: I remember talking at one point, like, should the moon be extravagant or should the moon be glamorous yet subdued. I can’t remember how we thought of Yalitza, but then I was like, “Oh, it’s perfect if the moon looks incredible, but it’s also soft-spoken and sweet” [Laughs.]
the costumes that muriel [Parra,] Our wardrobe designers, made for that, are incredible. They look so funny I think it’s a pretty funny contrast: it’s the person who looks WonderfulAnd they can be really over the top, but she is so sweet and polite.
Speaking of costumes, watching this season make it somewhat clear to me how each character has this very defined silhouette and style. They often have, essentially, the same costume form—as in classic cartoons.
Torres: Well, and this is a very deliberate decision of our wardrobe designer and our production designer. I clearly remember them, like, portraying characters and being, like, “they” should There’s a recognizable silhouette,” isn’t it? [the show.]
And, with Andres, he likes to more than a cartoonish degree. And it was so much fun for her to be this vampy Liberace, one of a kind. And it’s a testament to our creative team – how much they can do for so little. Because if you can touch Andres’ clothes, they are made of paper. [Laughs.] They are like modified Zara.
But Tati is on the other end of the fashion spectrum, maybe—she loves her newsboy caps!
Fabrega: To her, it’s like, “It’s function, style—I’m checking all the boxes with these outfits!” [Laughs.]
Torres: There’s also a lot 2000 about the way she dresses. It’s too… Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan on the red carpet!
As a final note, Julio, in the spirit of your brilliant book i want to be a vaseI was wondering: if you had to re-cast each of these characters with an object, which item would play them best and why?
Torres: Oh God! [Laughs.] Well, it seems to me that Tati is actually the closest to the plunger. In the sense that she is constantly searching for something. But it would be more rider like, “I’m not sure what I want to be, but it’s not.” [Laughs.] Andres would be something decorative, maybe like a small glass ornamental thing—maybe a glass swan? And I think rsula would be something functional…
Fabrega: Yes, like a pocket knife!
Torres: yes of course! A Swiss Army Knife. And Reinaldo, I think, is a throw pillow.
los espukis Season two begins streaming on HBO Max on September 16.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.