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Why Elena Roarke From Fantasy Island Looks So Familiar

One of the most iconic premises in the history of television is that of "Fantasy Island." The original series, which premiered in 1977, focused on the mysterious "Mr. Roarke," played by Ricardo Montalbán, and his island that can deliver the fantasy of any guest who comes to visit. The series has been reimagined and rebooted several times, with a brand-new iteration premiering on Fox in August 2021 and bringing an entirely new spin on the Roarke character.

Arguably the biggest change made to Roarke in the new "Fantasy Island" is that the character is now a woman, portrayed by actress Roselyn Sanchez. The gender-swapped Elena Roarke brings a new energy to the franchise, leaving many to scratch their heads and wonder where they may have seen Sanchez before. With plenty of notable IMDb credits to her name, Sanchez has become a reliable performer across a wide range of genres in film and television. With that in mind, let's dive into some of her biggest roles to date.

She starred in the soap opera, As The World Turns

With a career dating back to the early 1990s, Roselyn Sanchez broke out with her role in the hit soap opera "As the World Turns." In the series, Sanchez portrayed a character named Pilar Domingo, one of the many people caught up in the drama of Oakdale during the show's five-decade run. A maid at the Wagon Wheel Motel, Domingo's time in the series was cut short when she was killed by falling onto her own knife during a struggle, though it is worth noting that at the time of her death, Domingo had been recast with actress Daniela Alonso in the role.

In total, Sanchez appeared in 53 episodes of "As the World Turns" during her tenure on the series, which lasted from 1995 to 1997. That's not an incredibly long time when we consider the tenure of other actors in soap operas, but it was enough to make a lasting impression on audiences. After completing her role as Pilar Domingo, Sanchez would go on to much bigger things in Hollywood.

She fought gangsters in Rush Hour 2

One of the biggest roles silver screen roles for Roselyn Sanchez came in 2001 when she appearance in "Rush Hour 2" alongside Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. In the film, Sanchez plays Isabella Molina, a United States Secret Service agent on the trail of Triads who have acquired plates to counterfeit money with. This brings her into the circle of Detectives Lee (Chan) and Carter (Tucker), eventually becoming Lee's love interest by the end of the hit action-comedy.

Despite her scene-stealing performance and chemistry with Jackie Chan, Roselyn Sanchez did not return to the "Rush Hour" franchise. In fact, in "Rush Hour 3" her character is written out of the universe with the explanation that Carter accidentally shot Isabella in the neck (but survives) prior to the events of the film. There is always a potential that Isabella could potentially return if "Rush Hour 4" ever happens. Still, there's no indication that a fourth film in the franchise will materialize at this point.

She starred alongside The Rock in The Game Plan

Though many of her most well-known roles are intense and dramatic, Sanchez has proven that she also knows how to keep things light and kid-friendly. Arguably no film captures that better than her performance in the 2007 Disney family comedy "The Game Plan." A relatively early starring vehicle for Dwayne Johnson, the film follows the wrestler-turned-actor as a professional NFL player who discovers that he has an 8-year-old daughter that he had previously not known about. In the film, Sanchez portrays Monique Vasquez, a dance instructor who teaches Johnson's daughter and develops a romantic entanglement with him in the process.

All in all, "The Game Plan" did not win over many critics when it hit theaters. As a result, it garnered a 28% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, the film was a modest success, earning roughly $90.6 million against a $22 million budget.

She played a CIA agent alongside real Navy SEALs in Act of Valor

Roselyn Sanchez made one of her most intense forays into the realm of action films in 2012 when the military thriller "Act of Valor" debuted in theaters. In the film, Sanchez portrays a CIA agent who finds herself captured and tortured by a terrorist organization in the Philippines. Her capture leads the United States government to send in a team of Navy commandos, who rescue her and escape in an explosive chase scene.

One of the most intriguing elements of "Act of Valor" was the fact that the movie used real active-duty Navy SEALs in some of its starring roles, with actors like Sanchez playing backup. However, that authentic appeal didn't necessarily translate to critical praise. A modest hit, earning $81 million against a $12 million budget, "Act of Valor" fared less well with critics, and currently holds a 28% on Rotten Tomatoes.

She searched for missing persons in Without A Trace

Sanchez has oscillated between film and television numerous times over the years, but one of her longest tenures on the small screen came with her performance on the CBS crime series "Without a Trace." In the series, Sanchez portrayed FBI agent Elena Delgado. Throughout her time on the series, Delgado worked with her squad to solve missing person cases in New York, while also carrying on a relationship with her co-worker Danny Taylor (Enrique Murciano).

Sanchez appeared on "Without A Trace" for a grand total of 88 episodes, making her one of the most-featured actresses on the show. A later addition to the series when compared to some of her co-stars, she first appeared as a guest in Season 4 and then became a series regular in Season 5. Once she joined the cast, she remained part of the series until "Without a Trace" came to an end in 2009.

Those are some of the projects that you may know Sanchez from over the years. That being said, she continues to work and produce content, so her IMDb credit list will likely continue to grow. For now, you can catch her as Elena Roarke on "Fantasy Island," which airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST on FOX.