Cristela Alonzo, the actress who starred in the reboot of Legends of the Hidden Temple, discusses what it was like to play a character that has been around for 25 years.
Cristela Alonzo is a writer and actress who has been working on the new Legends of the Hidden Temple show. She discusses how she got the job, what her thoughts are on the show, and what she would like to see happen in season 2.
Legends of the Hidden Temple returns tonight, after a lengthy hiatus. The sitcom was only on Nickelodeon for a brief time (from 1993 to 1995), but it became famous among millennials who grew up watching it repeated in syndication for years, first on Nickelodeon and then on its sister network, Nick Games and Sports For Kids (Nick GAS). In 2017, the series produced a film based on its in-game narrative, and now it’s returning as a new series on The CW, presented by Cristela Alonzo, star of Cars 3 and stand-up comedian.
Despite her Pixar credentials and the show’s history, there will be one significant change to the formula: participants in the contemporary Legends of the Hidden Temple will be adults, not the children who competed in the original series. It heightens the participants’ sense of nostalgia, which they already have with Alonzo.
“I grew up watching that,” Alonzo said. “It was like the golden era of Nickelodeon at that time, when it seemed like the content was tailor-made for us, if you know what I mean. For the benefit of those who are watching. We had our own television programs. Legends of the Hidden Temple, for example, was our own game show, similar to Double Dare. So there’s this strange situation where I saw it, liked it, and then was asked to host it when it came back. It took me a second to realize it was the program, because you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Well, it’s been so long, it has the same name, but is it the same?’ It can’t possibly be the same.’ ‘Oh my God, it’s the same program,’ I exclaimed, and instantly said, ‘Yes, sign me up.’ ‘Do you want to go to your own birthday party?’ it’s like someone asking me. Yeah, I guess I do, so let’s get started.”
The series is strikingly similar to the original, with similar stunts (perhaps scaled up for the adult contestants), a similar temple (perhaps with a little more detail to make it look less cheap in HD), and, of course, the giant stone-faced Olmec, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, who provides the legends that each episode revolves around.
“A lot of stuff came back after we began filming it,” Alonzo added. “Not only that, but by returning, I was reawakening my enthusiasm for things. I found myself rooting for teams. Like the host, I provide encouragement to the contestants, just as I did when I was a child watching the program. Dee Bradley Baker is back as Olmec, and the first time he uttered my name, ‘Cristela,’ I had a nervous breakdown. What are the odds that Olmec will ever speak your name? ‘Oh, that’s Cristela, that’s my name!’ you say like an Olmec, even though you know Dee.”
It’s the same for the competitors, who, for the most part, are just old enough to remember the original Legends of the Hidden Temple and have good recollections of it.
“It was a little crazy. Every episode seems like they’re fighting for $25,000, yet you get the impression they aren’t. You get the impression they’re there for the glory “Alonzo said. “You know what I mean when I say they’re a Blue Barracuda and a Silver Snake? It’s one of those things where you find out that everyone there grew up watching the program and couldn’t believe they were on it. They experienced these freak-out moments when they first saw Olmec, when they saw the moat, when they saw the Steps of Knowledge. You could see how pleased they were with it. ‘Wait a minute,’ they think to themselves. What you’re saying is that I’m a Purple Parrot. ‘Are you serious?’ That, I believe, adds to the pleasure. ‘Part of the pleasure is that you get to be here and attempt to run this course,’ I always make sure to inform the competitors. Isn’t it incredible? ‘Who is it that gets to do that?’”
Beginning today, Legends of the Hidden Temple airs on The CW on Sunday evenings at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Cristela Alonzo, a former cast member of the Nickelodeon show Legends of the Hidden Temple, talks about how she is reviving the classic game show. Reference: is cristela alonzo married.
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