When Gina Rodriguez made her 2014 acting debut in Jane the Virgin, her character was an aspiring writer who accidentally got pregnant during a routine medical exam. When Rodriguez returns to TV with her latest dramedy, Not Dead Yet, she’ll once again play a writer. Only this time, she’s pregnant in real life.
Not Dead Yet revolves around a broke, newly single and desperate writer named Nell Serrano who moves back home to live with a tough roommate. She also nabs work at her old publication, only this time the journalist is forced on the obituary beat. The twist? She begins seeing and talking to the ghosts of the very same people she’s assigned to write about.
Canadians Hannah Simone (New Girl) and Lauren Ash (Superstore) also star as Nell’s respective bestie, Sam, and her boss, Lexi.
As Nell tries to put her life back together (we learn she has an ex whom she moved to another country for), she’ll also have to deal with her drinking, answer to her shoddy track record as a friend, and find some new career goals. Naturally, none of that lends to a TV pregnancy, so production had to hide Rodriguez’s growing baby bump during filming.
“It's my first time experiencing this, doing this, and [the producers have] been so loving and supportive of me accidentally getting pregnant right before the show started—out of love, obviously,” Rodriguez told reporters, including etalk, at the Television Critics Association winter press tour last month.
“Me and my husband were very excited about it, but it definitely wasn't planned. Like, he planned it,” she continued.
Rodriguez revealed the team came up with creative ways to hide her stomach, either with costumes, her cubicle at work, plants or sometimes the refrigerator. She says at each stage of the pregnancy she couldn’t imagine how they would hide the baby next, but director Dean Holland made it work every time.
“He was like, ‘You are pregnant. You are a miracle. Just live in it, and we’ll figure it out,’” she recalled. “And they did. They figured it out, and my costars helped figure it out, and the crew helped figure it out. It was a very loving, protective set. They would just be like, ‘This is a Charlie shot.’ And now I just gave away the name of my child. But they would always protect me and it was really magic.”
That wasn’t the only magical part of the filming experience though. Rodriguez revealed her pregnancy also helped her to find a surprising connection with the spiritual world that Nell experiences.
“My grandmother passed this summer and my mother’s been going through her experience of grief,” she explained. “Since she passed, I have never felt her presence more than I have through this experience,” she continued, pointing to her bump.
“I know the strength that woman had towards the end of her life—it was so visible and commendable. Now that I’m going into this journey… I have the strength of these women that have come before me.”
Not Dead Yet airs Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. on CTV. Or catch it online at CTV.ca or on the CTV app.