The stars of the Mexican soap opera Papá A Toda Madre talk about the groundbreaking telenovela and their great chemistry.

By Lena Hansen
January 23, 2018 10:51 AM
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Credit: Courtesy of Univision

On Jan. 15 U.S. audiences got their chance to see controversial Mexican telenovela Papá A Toda Madre when it premiered on Univision. Although it’s a family comedy, the Televisa production broke the mold with the producers’ decision to include a scene in which a male couple, played by actors Andrés Uno and Raúl Coronado, share a kiss. The move generated mixed reactions on social media: While some applauded the network’s progressive storyline, others argued that it was inappropriate and offensive. Papá A Toda Madre stars, Maite Perroni and Sebastian Rulli, told PEOPLE CHICA they are proud of the project and opened up about their roles.

Perroni, who plays Renée, commended the producers for pushing the envelope: “The best way to break down stereotypes and barriers is through smiles and positive messages. We must adapt to changes, no family or story is the same. I love it, I think it’s an innovative and refreshing project.”

The gay characters — one’s a vet, the other a detective — are in love, living together and dream of becoming parents one day. In the show, the duo share a sweet kiss in front of shocked neighbors. Perroni defended the same-sex kiss scene when it aired in Mexico in November on the Televisa network.

Rulli, who plays Mauricio, echoed Perroni’s sentiments. “I think it’s very interesting that these so-called taboo topics are being portrayed in family telenovelas that are showing a reality of today’s society, and showing the necessary open-mindedness for all of us to live in peace and harmony,” he said. “I think relationships should be based on love and not on genders or the norms imposed by society or religion.”

Perroni and Rulli play love interests on the soap. Perroni, who was thrilled to play Renée, has a lot in common with her character. “She is a woman who is very focused on her professional growth, on self-improvement, on making her dreams come true,” the Mexican singer and actress, 34, says.

She falls for the most unexpected man, Rulli’s rich, chauvinistic Mauricio. “It’s horrible!” Perroni jokes of her off-screen chemistry with her co-star. The actors, friends in real life, enjoy kidding around. “No, I love it. It has been a great pleasure,” she clarifies. “He is a great actor, a gentleman, he is joyful, fun. He is someone I care a lot about and respect.”

The Argentinian actor, 42, admits that playing Mauricio was a challenge, as he is not your typical leading man. “He is a big kid who doesn’t want to mature,” he says of his character, who is surprised when a little girl he’s never met crashes his wedding claiming he is her dad. “He is the antithesis of the hero. He is a superficial womanizer. It was hard for me to justify many of his actions, but it was a lot of fun to play him,” he reveals.

An added bonus, he says, was sharing scenes with Perroni, whose new single “Como Yo Te Quiero” — featuring reggaeton duo Alexis and Fido — was just released. “I consider her a great friend. She is someone I care for and admire,” he says of the singer. “She is very talented. Working with friends always makes work more enjoyable.”