The sun sets on Fantasy Island‘s first season this weekend and we’re hearing that the enchanting Fox reboot is going out with quite an emotional hour entitled “Dia de los Vivos.”
Not only will we see Elena Roarke (Roselyn Sánchez) deal with an interesting development involving her island assistant, Ruby (Kiara Barnes), but the episode also features Call Me Kat‘s scene-stealer Leslie Jordan as a guest desperate to right the wrongs of his past…from beyond the grave. Here’s an exclusive clip of his Jasper Dawson opening up to Elena about his predicament, followed by a fun chat with the actor who is clearly had the time of his afterlife on the Island.
Fox certainly has kept you busy this year.
Leslie Jordan: Haven’t they? I like being busy too. Keeps me out of trouble.
I’m sure you had some fun in Puerto Rico, right?
Oh my gosh. It was my second trip there…the first time I was on a cruise line, I used to do my standup comedy on cruises. I don’t have to do that anymore now that I’ve got some TV money. [Laughs] This trip, I really got to see Puerto Rico. What a beautiful, beautiful island.
And you had Roselyn there, who could probably be the concierge for the entire place.
Exactly. In fact, she gave me so many names of good restaurants to try when I went into San Juan and this and that. She’s a true spokesperson for that island.
Tell me about this Jasper character. I love the idea that you are playing a character who’s not alive, right?
Well, I’m dead. And I’m also really awful. [Laughs] You know, you come to the island or you’re sort of plopped on the island, like, “Boom!” to try to remedy your past or whatever you did wrong. I’m an art dealer who owned a gallery in Miami and one of my kids that I was mentoring, a young artist, well, I was just taking his paintings and selling them for millions of dollars and just giving him a pittance. And so I have to make it up to him…he had found out about it and he’s really angry with me.
So the funny part about this character is that he can get caught with his hand right in the cookie jar and he’ll say, “Oh no, no, no, no. I can explain. This was a terrible mistake.” That’s where the comedy comes in. He’s just so smarmy. But he’s scared to death he’s going to go to hell.
And that’s where the drama comes in…
Roarke says, “Well, yes, you’re on that path for sure.” But I really want to get to heaven. I really, really do. So she tells me, “Well, then you’ve got to make some things right. You’ve got to do this and this and that.” And so I’m trying so hard, but my old past surfaces here and there, and I’m constantly looking over my shoulder. But oh, it just has the sweetest ending. We all cried. I cried. She cried, everybody cried. It’s a really sweet little way that it ends. So I won’t give away too much.
They always sneak in those twists.
I got to meet Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft, the women that created the show, and oh, what a story! They’re both from the same part of the country and they just started writing, had some success with other shows and now they went into Fox, I think, to pitch how they wanted it to be different from Fantasy Islands in the past. And so, this has a little bit more of an edge to it and I was just so grateful. I’m the funny guy that comes in…I’m multi-cam, you know? Just three cameras and you, but seldom do I get a part like this. I just relished it.
Everything about it was just amazing. The shoot, the people. Starting with Roselyn, because whoever’s head of the show [sets the tone]. And she’s so giving and loving and such a good actress. The crew adores her and the cast adores and I adore her. So kudos to her.
Did you strike a deal for her to come guest on Call Me Kat next season?
I should. I don’t think I’m at that level yet. Call Me Kat, I’m a worker among workers. Gosh, wouldn’t that be something? I would love to have her.
Have you started working on the new season?
No, we don’t come back until January. But Fox ordered 18 and they’re really behind it, so we really want to get it right. And that, too, is another show where everyone adores one another. There’s not a single bad apple, so that’s why I think I’m in such a good mood all the time. I just got so much, you know?
Well, now you have to be careful because Mayim might rope you into doing a celebrity Jeopardy!
What about that? Isn’t that exciting? She wrote us the sweetest of the emails. She said, “Eyes on me means eyes on our show.” And things like this, shoot-wise, it doesn’t affect us at all. She’s going to do it all and I think they do those things like two a day. They crank those out.
That is a hustle, but you’ve hustled. You know how to get it done, too.
Oh, yes. I’m 66-years old and I’ve achieved everything I’ve ever set out to do. So, it’s just kind of gravy. I just show up and hit my mark, you know?
Fantasy Island, “Dia de los Vivos,” Sunday, September 19, 8/9c, Fox