Technically, Netflix’s Elite season 2 was about the “disappearance” of Samuel (Itzan Escamilla) and the plot to unmask Polo (Álvaro Rico) as Marina’s (Maria Pedraza) killer. However there was a different storyline viewers couldn’t keep their eyes — and Twitter fingers — away from: the romance between queen bee Lu (Danna Paola) and her medio hermano Valerio (Jorge Lopez).
In a television landscape that has lost Game of Thrones twincest pioneers Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), Lu and Valerio became our reminder of the taboo powers of brother-sister-lovers. The chemistry of their portrayers, Danna Paola and Elite newbie Jorge Lopez, didn’t hurt. These two raged through their tortured relationship, fell into bed together, and eventually fell apart through one of Elite’s most unexpected, eyebrow-raising sex scenes.
Did anyone have manual stimulation by way of foot underneath a dining table between relatives on their Elite hookup bingo card? No one? Oh, okay.
Considering just how explosive Lu’s season 2 storyline is, we had to get in touch with her portrayer, Paola, to talk all things Elite. Since the 24-year-old is an IRL international pop star when she’s not strutting through Las Encinas, she was a little too busy to chat on the phone (her newest track, “Subtitulos,” drops today). However, Paolo did have enough time for an email interview.
Keep reading to find out Valerio and Lu’s full backstory, what filming that diner scene was really like, and if Paola has heard about Twitter’s favorite ship for Lu. Yes, #Lumuel is on the table — and, so are those Thrones comparisons.
Refinery29: What do you love about Lu? What were you excited to explore with her in season 2?
“Her spontaneity and how direct she is. It’s really exciting to be able to explore this emotional arc which made me work not only to play down the character but to be able to empathize with the audience despite having to interpret a relationship as difficult as an incestuous one with her half-brother.”
What did you think when you found out Lu’s new love interest would be… her half-brother?
“I was really excited at first because it would be a challenge for me and the actor who would have to play my brother, because it’s not really an everyday situation. I was doubtful later on because I didn’t know who that actor would be and if we would be able to show that special chemistry that the characters needed to show.
“Luckily Jorge López came into my life and onto the show, and he was the only Valerio.”
We get a few details about their family situation over the season. But what, exactly, is their backstory? How was Valerio introduced to the family, and when?
“Valerio’s always been in Lu’s life, they grew up together and since they were kids, they were each other’s accomplices. They spent little time with their respective mothers. They were both raised by their father and spending so much time home alone and having such a lack of love from their family made them exceed their feelings as siblings and their ‘family etiquette.’
“They felt guilt for feeling love for one another or for just being in love to the point that they ended up getting intertwined between themselves, between siblings.”
Did the writers tell you that backstory, or did you kind of come to it as a cast?
“No, that’s what makes it so special, because that was something that Jorge and I had to develop, and that we had to build these character’s backstories from the ground up alongside our director Ramon Salazar.
“We had to overcome a lot of personal prejudices and just let things flow. Jorge and I were fantasizing about getting a spin-off about this kind of twisted relationship between siblings, haha.”
Did you watch Game of Thrones? Do you think Lu and Valerio are like Cersei and Jaime Jr.?
“I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, but I’ve been told about the story behind that couple. That’s why we didn’t want to reference other shows or similar stories: To be able to create our own from scratch.”
What do you think makes them a couple you can at least empathize with?
“Fans can feel empathy for a lot of things, mostly the chemistry Jorge and I have. The public also loves the taboo and being able to experiment with emotions through stories like Lu’s and Velrio’s. Incest isn’t something we casually talk about, yet it still happens.”
The scene were Valerio exposes their relationship to their dad is wild in the best way. What did you think when you read it in the script? What was that like to film?
“At first I was in shock, but at the same time I laughed. I knew it was a difficult and uncomfortable scene to shoot like any other sex scene, but this time there were a lot more people in front of me, which made it feel a lot more ‘random,’ but it just ended up being really funny.
“I love challenges, and of course Lu deserved to learn a lesson. What better than it coming from her brother, sorry half-brother?”
How did it feel to witness Lu and Valerio’s big final confrontation afterwards? Were you sad to see Valerio end things?
“A person never knows what they’ve got until it’s gone. When I saw the scene on screen it broke my heart. We got a very important lesson here, Valerio always had a selfless love towards Lu, and it was the purest thing Lu had.”
Do you think Lu should end up with Valerio? Guzmán? None of these guys?
“What Lu needs is to learn to love herself to later be able to love someone else. She would like to stay with Guzmán without a doubt, although her heart will always be divided between Valerio and Guzmán.”
Have you heard about the very powerful fandom around a Lu/Samuel ship? What do you think about that?
"That came from a picture I put on my Instagram with Itzan Escamilla. Lu would never fall in love with Samuel, unless she had to use him for some ulterior motive. Itzan is a good kid and great friend, just that [smiley face emoji]. Like my song says, they give me a ‘Bad Reputation.'"