'Eva Luna' finally makes its way to Los Angeles for its grand finale
And Angelenos are likely to recognize the site of it all. Hundreds of people camped out last week outside La Iglesia De Nuestra Senora La Reina Church in downtown Los Angeles in hopes of spotting their favorite "Eva Luna" stars in wedding garb.
The popular Univision series is ending its run Monday, and it all leads to main character Eva Luna Gonzales (Blanca Soto) walking down the aisle. Viewers can probably guess who is her husband-to-be.
"I'm sure they're going to be so happy," Soto said. "They've stuck around through the ups and downs for nine months, and they're going to get a beautiful ending. They're really going to love it."
Some lucky fans even got to witness the ceremony. Filling pews inside the intimate church were dozens of "Eva Luna" disciples, donning their Sunday best, snapping photos and/or wrangling an autograph (or two or three) in between takes.
The ceremony will also include guest appearances by the Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol, local radio personality Piolin, banda and norteña singer Jenni Rivera, actor Cristian de la Fuente and veteran Univision host Don Francisco. Even Guillermo from "Jimmy Kimmel Live" is popping in.
The Los Angeles-set novela, a love story centering on an advertising executive, is actually filmed in Miami. The wedding scene marks the first time "Eva Luna," which has averaged 4.4 million viewers since its November premiere and often tops English-language series in the age 18-34 demographic, has actually shot in Los Angeles.
"I wish we could have done more production out here," producer Carlos Sotomayor said. "That's my goal: to have more telenovelas done in Los Angeles. We're working on it."
Sotomayor said he's been working toward increasing production in L.A. The producer has worked with Guy Ecker, who stars in "Eva Luna" as Daniel, on a Web novella for Univision shot in Los Angeles, and there are plans for another.
"It's not by chance that the setting is in Los Angeles," Ecker said. "I think the network recognizes the importance of the audience that is here. I'm very happy they made the decision to do the finale out here. It's important to pay homage to the public that we’re speaking to. We've made the push for more productions out here. It's difficult because it's much more expensive to shoot out here. But the opportunities will be easier to come by as we prove what a force we can be."
But, for now, Ecker is focused on the epic finale of his current telenovela.
"It's been a long road. We're very happy and pleased that it's over too because it's a lot of work and we're tired. But we're excited. It's going to be a big night."
The network is sending the telenovela out with a big bang: a night of programming dedicated to the series, he said.
Things kick off at 7 p.m. with "Rumbo al gran final de 'Eva Luna'" ("Toward the finale of 'Eva Luna'"), a pre-show hosted by Chiquinquira Delgado and Lourdes Stephen that will give viewers a behind-the-scenes look into the mega-production. It will be followed by the two-hour finale of the hit novella. Capping the night off is a special edition of "Don Francisco Presenta" from the Nokia Club in Los Angeles, featuring the entire "Eva Luna" cast.
Photo credit: Guy Ecker and Blanca Soto shoot a scene with the L.A. Lakers' Pau Gasol for "Eva Luna." Credit: Univision