What would Jane the Virgin’s narrator say about his Emmy nomination for Outstanding Narrator? “OMG! It’s me! It’s me!” says Anthony Mendez, laughing. Mendez was nominated for the second time on Thursday for his work as Jane’s hilarious voice of reason and doom.
The Bronx-born voice-over actor says that last year he wondered if he had just gotten lucky. This morning? “It’s almost like a reaffirmation — yeah, you’re doing good work.” Mendez faces competition from Adrien Brody, Keith David, David Attenborough, and Laurence Fishburne — all actors he says he has studied for “countless hours” as he aspired to become a voice-over actor.
The unknown narrator/character Mendez plays on Jane was drawn from one of three voices and accents he had in his repertoire: the Latin lover. “I had to make sure the accent was grounded,” Mendez said. “It also was a conscious effort to make sure it wasn’t a typical over-the-top kind of Dracula telenovela read. In the voice-over business, we call them ‘pukers.’ We wanted to make sure it wasn’t one of those.”
Pukers? “You know, those Spanish radio announcers who talk like this?” Mendez asked, his voice going low. Instead, Mendez says, he went for Americanized Latin Pillow Talk. “Almost like I’m telling the person that’s either laying down next to me what occurred or what I think will occur, even though sometimes I’m wrong,” he says. “It’s a very intimate thing. It’s a one-on-one thing, and you’re always conscious of that as a voice actor to make sure who it is specifically that you’re speaking to. Voice-over is touchy. There are filmmakers and creators who don’t want to touch it because it’s very expository. They took a chance in creating somebody who is as lively and as real as this narrator.”
Like many Jane viewers, Mendez hopes someday the character’s identity will be revealed. “The show has so many layers to it. It can be done in a way where I personally don’t have to be on camera,” he said, pointing to Gossip Girl as an example. “That can be something that can potentially be done with this show.”