Scarlett Estevez's new superhero series, "Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion" debuts Friday. Photo courtesy of Disney Channel
NEW YORK, June 3 (UPI) -- Lucifer and Bunk'd alum Scarlett Estevez says she wanted to play a teen superheroine in Ultra Violet & Black Scorpion because it was such a positive representation of her Latinx culture.
Debuting Friday on the Disney Channel, the action-comedy follows Violet Rodriguez, a Mexican-American girl gifted with extraordinary powers by a magical wrestling mask. Transforming into Ultra Violet, she teams up with her luchador-superhero uncle, Cruz (J.R. Villarreal from Akeelah and the Bee), also known as Black Scorpion, to fight crime.
"Violet really is your everyday, average girl, and she's just going through the struggles of middle school. Then she gets this mask, and it gives her these powers, and there is this whole other being that she has to become," Estevez told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.
"Part of the reason I really wanted to become this character is because of the representation that it is for Latinx culture. I think it is really important for kids to see someone that looks like them on TV."
Villarreal echoed the sentiment when listing the reasons why he took the role.
"The representation that she is going to bring to young girls! The representation that I'm going to bring to young kids to adults! We've never had the opportunity to see this, and I think people are going to feel so proud when they do. That's why I'm just so grateful to be a part of it."
The show has a lot to say about the importance of standing up for yourself and doing what is right, the stars said.
"Every single episode has a new message and something else that they are trying to [convey] and bring to kids," Estevez said.
The 14-year-old actress said smaller messages exist for her character, like getting to be a superhero, but doing it for herself -- because she enjoys it instead of trying to be popular at her school or getting people to like her," she explained.
Villarreal said it was fun playing a young superhero's mentor and trainer.
"He's kept his identity a secret from his family from everyone, obviously. And the first time he is able to be open about it is with Ultra Violet," the actor said.
"He's teaching her responsibility and how to take this seriously and not make it about yourself and do it for others and, at the same time, what Cruz doesn't realize is Violet is teaching him so much more and how to deal with this responsibility and be there for your family, still."
Much of the show's comedy comes from the relatives' vastly different do-gooding styles.
"My character is very up with the social media, with the trends, and she wants to incorporate that in this new life of being a superhero. Cruz-Black Scorpion is very old-fashioned," Estevez said.
She said the characters clash because they are trying to figure it out.
"I do really think they balance each other and, although it ends up being this funny back-and-forth [relationship] between the two characters, it's also very sweet," she said.
The clothes Estevez wears on the show totally helped her get in character, too.
"She has a very funky style," she said.
"You can see how much more confident she is at the end versus in the beginning. Then, obviously, the superhero costume she only wears when she is Ultra Violet definitely empowers you when you put in on you are like, 'I really am this superhero!'"
Villarreal agreed that the costumes helped the actors get into character.
"Once you put on that suit, you start to believe it. I tried to pick up a car and it didn't work! I was like: 'Wait a minute! What happened?'" Villarreal laughed.
"But it really does something to you," he added. "It was such a big deal -- the suit -- finding it, making it, the look of it. They did such an incredible job with it. Although it is very tight, it felt incredible. You just fall into this superhero mode. It definitely helps."