La Reina del Sur, a Spanish-language telenovela brought Telemundo, (USA’s sister network) groundbreaking ratings. And now, Entertainment Weekly reports that USA is developing its English language version titled Queen of the South. Both La Reina del Sur and Queen of the South are based on an adaptation of Arturo Perez-Reverte’s best-selling novel called La Reina del Sur.
The upcoming border drama stars Alice Braga (I am Legend) as Teresa Mendoza, a Mexican money changer who eventually rises to become a cutthroat drug cartel leader. “She’s a very special character and is someone very strong in the sense of being a smart woman,” says Braga on her role as Teresa. “She fights to survive.”
The show’s actors include Veronica Falcon (Besos de Azucar), Justina Machado (Six Feet Under), Peter Gadiot (Tut), Hemky Madera (Weeds), Gerardo Taracena (Apocalypto), Joaquim de Almeida (Our Brand is Crisis), and Jon Ecker (Narcos). The USA series is executive produced by David T. Friendly (Little Miss Sunshine). One thing Friendly wanted to emphasize is that Queen of the South “is not a telenovela.” Friendly explained that the show is “a one-hour American drama, with a slightly deeper exploration of character.”
In addition, Queen of the South is not a word-for-word reboot of La Reina del Sur. Instead, the show features a slightly younger heroine than the character from the original show and unfolds across the US-Mexico border rather than in Europe. “No other show really features a female protagonist like this, and I think it gives us a very special prism into the world,” says Friendly. “Teresa is very ready to play with the boys.”
USA’s series also has a different pace when it comes to the plot, stretching out across weekly, one-hour episodes rather than the nightly telenovela format used for La Reina del Sur.
Watch Queen of the South’s “Survive” trailer below:
Queen of the South premieres Tuesday, June 21 at 10/9c on USA.