If you’re like us, today is bittersweet for fans of VH1’s drama Hit the Floor. We’re excited for the season finale, but also sad that our Monday’s will no longer be filled with drama, dancing, and super hot cast members 😥
Tonight’s big episode will leave many, including the cast themselves, in utter shock. The episode will be based solely around the ongoing relationships and whether or not they can withstand what’s coming to them. In addition with what happened with German (Lil’ J) and Raquel (Valerie Ortiz), an emotionally-unstabled Ahsha (Taylour Paige) is thrown yet another curve ball. Oscar (Don Stark) threatens to ultimately end Sloane (Kimberly Elise), while Jelena (Logan Browning) tries to keep a secret that can completely change the way Terrence (Robert Christopher Riley) feels about her and their future. Not to mention, the finale will feature a very special guest star — creator and executive producer James LaRosa!
We caught up with James after last week’s moving episode to talk all about the season three finale. He also revealed why he decided to kill of Raquel, what its like working with the cast, and how he juggles writing, producing, and directing — make sure to read the full Q&A below!
Don’t miss the season three finale of Hit The Floor tonight @ 10PM ET/PT on VH1.
CS4U: Last week’s episode was very emotional with Raquel’s death. As the creator of the show, what made you decide to had Raquel die this season?
James LaRosa: “I knew it would be brutal and sometimes I like to make people cry, it’s true. As a show, I like to keep people on their toes. I think that anything can happen on Hit The Floor and anything can happen to anyone. I wanted this season to have a few big hits. Raquel (Valerie Ortiz) is somebody who has bubbly relationships with people on the show. Every other character has an enemy or someone that pisses them off and everybody goes to Raquel for advice. So as this season has gotten crazier and crazier, I basically decided to take that help away. With the season’s finale, this is exactly the time they would go to Raquel and I thought, well what if they didn’t have anyone to go to. They’re going to be dealing with her death in the finale and you’re going to see how it affects the behavior and the story lines of the people that she left.”
CS4U: When did you share the news with Valerie? What was her reaction like?
James LaRosa: “That was one of the hardest things I had to do on the show and in my career, for sure. She’s somebody who the audience, the cast, and I love. She’s such a sweetheart and she really is all heart. She’s a great actress and she’s been with the show since day 1. So when I knew what was coming up, I knew I had to tell her before production started. I knew I needed to give her that respect. I never tell anyone what’s coming up with their story line, but in the case of Valerie, I wanted her to be along for the ride and to craft her character’s journey. So we talked about it and it was tough. But what I love about Val is that I knew I was giving her a huge story. It wasn’t like I was going to say, “So next week you’re gone, sorry”. I knew I was giving her a season-long story and in the end, she would be in almost every scene. The best part of the conversation was that she took it as a show of faith that we felt that she could handle it. She left feeling honored which makes me love her more because I didn’t know if she was going to have a fit or cry. But no, she was rational about it and she saw the bigger picture. She saw that this was her opportunity to do something great. And she did. I’m really proud of her. She’s wonderful.”
CS4U: Did the other cast members know about Valerie’s fate right away? What were their reactions when they found out?
James LaRosa: “No actually. It was a secret that Valerie and I kept for the run of the season. There were hints of it in the script though. She had to go to heart doctor and even though we dealt with that with Don, we didn’t really get into it. I think the other cast members kind of suspected something, but never thought that we would actually do it. Even when they finally got the script for the episode, they thought Raquel was going to get another heart. They didn’t know what was happening. Then it came to the point where everyone had to deal with it. And even now with her gone, they would ask me when her evil twin would come in. They just refuse to let Valerie go.”
CS4U: After the death, fans took to their social media and were even saying that it had something to do with the passing of real-life Devil, Stephanie Moseley. Is that true?
James LaRosa: “Well before it happened, it was known she was on limited time and I heard someone say, “If you kill Raquel, I’ll kill you.” which I thought was hilarious! I mean I don’t think it was one of those type of deals, but the part that’s funny to me is that it shows how hard the fans took it. I heard about how everyone cried and some of them didn’t even realize how much they loved her character. For them to feel like somebody in their own life had died, it shows what a big investment that they had in the show. Even though it was a sad story, it made me feel so great just to know that was the level of investment from fans. It became clear just how much the fans are in to it. It’s very humbling.”
CS4U: This Monday is the show’s season finale and after seeing what happened last week, what can we expect from the big episode?
James LaRosa: “I’ll tell you a few things. In terms of keeping secrets, like I said about Valerie and I keeping secrets from the cast, they are not aware of some things once again. Like we did in the end of season 2, where we shot multiple endings, the cast hasn’t seen the end of season 3. So our big season finale cliffhanger is something that they’ve never seen and they don’t know what it is. So again, they’ll be watching it with the audience at home. They would look at me like, “Dude, we work together, you can’t tell me what happens?”. That will be very exciting to watch their jaws hit the floor. I can also tell you that story wise, it is very heavily focused on relationships. All season, everyone’s had their own agenda and goals which has brought people together, but it has also tested relationships. The relationships are really front and center in the finale. You have all these relationships going on and it’s really about asking yourself if something is really worth pursuing. It’s not a pretty finish. It’s a big “Dersha” episode. True love never runs smooth for Dersha and Ahsha (Taylour Paige) is handed one more thing she has to deal with. In addition to losing Raquel and German (Lil’ J), she’s in a bit of an emotional state as well. Then you have Oscar (Don Stark) who’s threatening to kill Sloane (Kimberly Elise), Jelena (Logan Browning) has this secret that she can’t have children which is something that Terrence (Robert Christopher Riley) really wants. And then from the teaser, we see Zero (Adam Senn) isn’t happy either and he’s seen smashing a poster on the wall. It’s very dramatic. We’ll also be having an extremely special guest star. After 3 seasons, I will be making an appearance. I somehow found my way to get on camera!”
CS4U: I think it’s really cool when the creators and producers go from behind the camera to in front of it which is exactly what you did! Can you tell us about why you chose to do so and about the character you portray?
James LaRosa: “It was never my intention so you can either thank or blame the fans for this. At a certain point, they were like bugging me to be on the show and so I was like, “Well alright, let’s see how you like it now”. I play a role in the Jude and Zero storyline.”
CS4U: What was it like filming the finale since you both produced and starred in it? Were there any challenges you faced?
James LaRosa: “Well I will say that is an odd episode to be on because I also directed, produced and wrote it so I have like a hundred credits in it. I would say action, do my lines, and then say cut. It was awesome because normally I’m guiding 13 characters, 11 additional dancers, talking about the story, and showing them how to portray a particular element. But when I was on camera, I had all of these people giving me advice and were sitting in my chair behind the monitor. McKinley Freeman was giving me all these tips and just having everyone be there for me the way I am there for them on set was pretty spectacular. I was filming and doing coverage and in this particular scene I was with Adam Senn who plays Zero. I shot my side first and while the camera was on me and I was talking to Adam, he was unbuttoning his shirt and rubbing his chest. He was trying his best to get me to break. All I could think of was, “Of all the people, why me?”. But I got through it. Maybe that’s why I don’t tell them what’s coming up in the show! But it was really fun! We’re really just a big family of goof-balls and he made it fun for me to do. And I got to be pretty for the day. With the whole hair, makeup, and lighting team, Hit The Floor truly becomes a glamorous show.”
CS4U: If you could describe the finale on only three words, what would those worlds be?
James LaRosa: “That’s a good question! How about: oh my god. Every episode has left us with a major cliffhanger and you know for a fact that when this episode ends, it’s a season finale. Every story line just builds and builds. Or how about: all about Dersha?!”
CS4U: Have you thought about what season 4 will bring and if so, what would you like to see in the new season?
James LaRosa: “I don’t just think about a season 4. I always think of season 5, 6, 7, and 8. I would like to see the characters and actors stretched even more. For instance, I like putting Valerie in the position that she was in because it allowed her to deliver in a way that was revelatory for the rest of us. Like putting a sledgehammer in Adam’s hands, letting him run free to smash an entire house. My cast is dynamite and to be able to really challenge them usually gets something big out of it which fortunately, the audience likes. Just constantly pushing, digging deep, and being surprised at what we find. Things you don’t usually see them do, I would like to see that.”