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Eric Mabius On Ugly Betty

Published August 28, 2006 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of ABC.
Eric Mabius Eric Mabius in Ugly Betty
Most office comedies or dramedies inevitably turn to romance between some of the characters. When you’re confined to a small working space with gorgeous actor types, how could the sparks not fly? But Ugly Betty intends to focus on the frumpy title character’s journey to resist standard conventions of beauty.

Eric Mabius Talks Ugly Betty

Just because she has a hunky boss doesn’t mean she’ll be pining for him. “I think they have me paired with many women every episode,” said Eric Mabius. “In fact they said, ‘You probably better go to the gym because you’ll be having you shirt off a fair amount.’ But yeah, I get to bring a bit of the steaminess into the show but it’s still tasteful steaminess for the 8 o’clock slot.”

Even though the original telenovella Betty La Fea featured a romance between the characters, the American version hopes to move things mor slowly. “We had to change the format because it’s not a novella format. So things got mixed up, turned around and reordered. Season six, seven, eight, who’s to say? It all has to do with when they deem that.”

Fans of the original may be surprised by the new direction, but Mabius thinks Ugly Betty pays appropriate homage. “Even though everyone wants to know how it differs or it’s similar to the original Betty La Fea, it’s got a completely new twist. It’s like trying to say there’s been no good rock since Chuck Berry. When you're an originator of something, it begs for ripoffs but whether you're good at nodding to the original or not has to do with the success.”

Though he’s enjoying a smorgasbord of extras at the moment, Mabius believes Betty is the ultimate catch. “I don’t see how it can’t happen but we don’t know that yet. Fortunately, we get to focus on just what’s at the end of our nose. I certainly think it’s possible because there’s an inevitable trust that’s established and admiration and confidence in one another as people. You see that Betty and Daniel make one another better, who they are, more complete. It’s like she has a gap and I have a gap and together we sort of create this whole. When things get charged and excited like that, of course there’s emotional attachments are inevitable. But I’m not writing the show.”

Just having a platonic relationship with Betty already provides fodder for Daniel’s relationship issues. “[It will] complicate his game with the ladies because she’s the one who’s running interference out in the street when I’m having mixed dates in the elevator. It could only get very messy I’d say.”

Ugly Betty begins September 28 on ABC.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of ABC.

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