SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico’s film industry is getting a big boost from one of the productions shot here. The star of The CW’s “Roswell, New Mexico” is using her platform to promote the industry and support local businesses. Actress Jeanine Mason isn’t shy about her love for the Land of Enchantment.
“This is my first New Mexico everything and it’s been everything, which has been a dream,” said Mason. “We shot the pilot in Albuquerque and I fell in love immediately with obviously, the crew I was getting to hang out with, and getting a sense of the magic that Southwestern feel is and how much it was adding to our show, falling in love with the light when we would have early mornings. Then, when we found out that we had been picked up and we were moving to Santa Fe, everybody seemed very excited about that.”
Mason stars as Liz Ortecho on the CW show, a remake of the original late ’90s series. The production is wrapping up its third season at Santa Fe Studios, and despite navigating the hurdle of filming during the pandemic, Mason says the crew — made up of New Mexicans — has kept the set safe and clear of COVID.
“It’s all unfortunate, but that we had two years of getting to know each other, I know what everyone’s face looks like, having half of it gone now, it’s alright. I know these people. I know they have my back and my best interest and they really have. I’m so impressed with our crew this year. They have killed it,” said Mason. “I think that’s a huge testament to the level of workers we have out here in New Mexico and how much they care, how committed they are to doing right by each other and the show.”
A Miami native, Mason says the experience portraying a woman from New Mexico and immersing herself in the culture of the state has brought the show to life. She says it brings a different feel than the original series, which was shot in Southern California.
“To have the talented makeup artists that are working on bringing her to life. That their hands are covered in turquoise and silver, it just adds to everything,” said Mason. “I love that we get to shoot here. I think that’s also probably the most delicious aesthetic difference between the original Roswell and our Roswell.”
Lately, she’s shared that passion, partnering with the New Mexico Film Office for presentations and social media takeovers. It’s something, the film office says, that helps promote the industry to those outside of the state.
“It’s absolutely thrilling and such a testament to New Mexico and all it has to offer when we have celebrities who jump at the chance to talk about New Mexico, to talk about this wonderful industry here, to talk about New Mexico crews who are world-class,” said Amber Dodson, director of the New Mexico Film Office, who says more “takeovers” are in the works for the future on their Instagram account, @nmfilmoffice. “It’s such a wonderful, unique perspective to hear directly from someone who is on set about their experience here.”
Since production has started in the Santa Fe area, Mason has also devoted her time to local causes like Girls Inc. of Santa Fe, which promotes development and support for local girls to have the tools they need to succeed in the future. A big part of what she talks to them about is how to get involved in film. Mason says she also loves using her platform to support local small businesses.
“I love a small business. It’s one of my favorite things to profile on my Instagram and being that I get to spend half the year here, I love sharing all my favorite small businesses in town,” said Mason. “It’s so fun to see how proud they are of getting to be a part of this film community.”
The show is already cleared for a fourth season. However, Mason says she hopes her time in the state doesn’t come to a close for many years to come.
“I have castmates who have bought homes here and have become New Mexicans. I am so excited to spend another year here and I’m hoping we get to go the Breaking Bad route and to the seven years and a movie, but even if it’s just a few more years of getting to do Roswell here, I absolutely will be on the lookout for the next gig out here,” said Mason. “I’ve just adored it here so I know, there’s a couple places that are already off the list but I know New Mexico is going to be high on the list for the next job.”
Season three is expected to wrap up production next month, but a premiere date has not been announced yet. The fourth season is likely to begin production this summer.
WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH JEANINE MASON BELOW: