Mercedes Ruehl is set to star opposite Ryan Hansen in Fox’s comedy pilot El Jefe. The project, from writers David Guarascio & Moses Port and Sony TV, centers on the affable but lost upper-class 30-year-old Josh (Hansen) who, tossed out of his Brentwood home, moves in with his adoring longtime Latina nanny Delmi (Ruehl), a vibrant woman and a real life force “of sturdy peasant stock.” Also cast in the pilot is Jessica Camacho as Lucia, the girlfriend of Delmi’s son (Victor Rasuk).
It has been a rollercoatser last couple of days for Ruehl. After spending years looking after her family, the Oscar and Tony winner recently decided to return to acting and a month ago signed on for what was going to be her first regular series role on the second season of HBO’s horseracing drama Luck. After HBO’s sudden decision Wednesday afternoon to end the series following the third horse death on set, Ruehl’s reps sent out feelers to networks and studios about doing a broadcast pilot. I hear Fox and Sony, and particularly Fox’s head of casting Tess Sanchez, made a strong case for El Jefe, and after reading the script and meeting with Guarascio and Port, Ruehl decided to do it. Ruehl, repped by Innovative and manager Craig Dorfman, starts production Monday, just five days after Luck was canceled.