Actresses Jeimy Osorio and Aymee Nuviola said that they cried when they learned they would portray the late Celia Cruz in the television series that will air starting Oct. 13.
"When I (saw) what was happening, I threw myself to the floor and cried. It was such a great feeling to know that I had been chosen for this character," Osorio, who plays the young Celia, told EFE during an interview with the stars in New York.
"I still don't believe it. It seems like I've been dreaming and I'm going along as if in a dream," said the Puerto Rican actress, who had to start gaining weight for the series, and who has acted in musicals, on television and in films, including "Che - A Revolutionary Life" and "Fast Five."
The great challenge of getting into the character of the Cuban salsa icon who attracted millions of fans around the world with her voice and charisma was not to "think about that responsibility being on my shoulders because I know that what I was getting into was very big."
Nuviola, in her debut as a television actress, said that she also broke down in tears and prayed after learning that she would star in the series, for which she prepared for months.
"I'm happy, very honored. We're making an effort to do it well ... It's a delight for us to have done it with love and respect," the singer said.
"Celia," a production of Fox Telecolombia and Telemundo, portrays the life and musical legacy of a woman who launched her career during the Cuban Revolution, who suffered discrimination and who achieved success along with her inseparable husband Pedro Knight, played by veteran Puerto Rican actors Modesto Lacen and Willy Denton.
The series has 80 episodes and was filmed in Colombia, Puerto Rico and at Paramount studios in California, where the New York of the 1960s was recreated. It presents the romance between Cruz and Knight, a former trumpet player with the Sononera Matanera band whom the singer called "cotton head" until her death from cancer on July 16, 2003.
Already sold for broadcasting in several countries, the series includes some fictional elements and features the singing of Patricia Padilla, who has a voice very similar to the "Queen of Salsa."