Growing up in northeast Chicago, Gina Rodriguez loved playing the 1980s Carmen Sandiego computer games on her family’s “big-ass Dell” and watching the ’90s game shows and series.
“My parents are super into education, so learning about geography was great,” says the Jane the Virgin star, who is featured in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly. “And then for her to be Latina — and voiced [on the series] by Rita Moreno, my queen — it made such an imprint on me.”
Now Rodriguez is voicing the globe-trotter on a new Netflix series that recasts Carmen as a Robin Hood of sorts. “We give her an origin story,” says the actress, who also headlines the action flick Miss Bala (in theaters Feb. 1) and recently directed an episode of The CW’s Charmed (airing Jan. 27). “It’s just lovely to revive that character but also put her in the context of a multi-dimensional, complex woman which we need to see more vision of, you know. We need to see versions of that.”
Rodriguez — who is also slated to star in a live-action Carmen Sandiego film for Netflix as well as help launch a book series based on the new version of Carmen — hopes the show will help educate young viewers as she was educated by former versions of the character, but it’s not only her young fans that she’s expecting to watch.
“I think adults will enjoy the nostalgia, and it really does play out like a fun spy show,” she says. “But I’m most excited to binge this with my nieces and nephews — I feel blessed that we get to bring Carmen to the next generation.”
In anticipation of Carmen Sandiego, an interactive experience has been set up at TheCarmenEffect.com that gives readers a look into the iconic character’s incredible influence over the years.
Carmen Sandiego also features the voice of Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard and launches Friday on Netflix.
To see Gina Rodriguez in the pages of Entertainment Weekly, pick up the new issue of the magazine on stands Friday, or buy one — or all four —of our special covers featuring Supernatural‘s Winchester family, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, and Jared Padalecki now. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.