Get ready to head back to the Wild West. A new event series, Texas Rising, premieres tomorrow night on the History channel, starring Cynthia Addai-Robinson as the legendary “Yellow Rose of Texas” and Olivier Martinez (aka Halle Berry’s hot real-life hubby) as a Mexican general during the Texas Revolution of 1836. We got the scoop on the show early. Addai-Robinson recently stopped by our New York offices to chat about taking on the role, and she revealed what to expect from the 10-hour miniseries that takes place just after the fall of the Alamo.
“It’s kind of like watching a mini-movie each night,” Addai-Robinson told InStyle. “The story begins with the formation of the Texas Rangers, a rag tag group of cowboys that’s up against the Mexican army trying to claim the land that is now Texas.” And her character is front and center in the battle. “The two groups are trying to out-maneuver one another, and I play the woman who’s caught in the middle, named Emily West," she added.
While her character, referred to as the “Yellow Rose of Texas,” is a well-known folk legend, there’s still plenty of new drama to spice the story up a bit. “Emily is so many things—a spy, a seductress, and a killer,” said Addai-Robinson. “She works down in New Orleans as a woman of the night, and that’s how her relationship starts with Sam Houston—the leader of the Texas Rangers who’s played by Bill Paxton. She basically shows up on his doorstep after seeing her brother killed on the orders of the Mexican general during the fall of the Alamo, and she decides to get revenge.”
And Addai-Robinson’s character isn’t messing around. To infiltrate the Mexican army, Emily “steals a horse, rides off into the sunset, and seduces the Mexican general, Santa Anna,” she said. “She pretends that she just rolled up into town, and then a kind of love affair ensues. But all the while, she’s plotting: ‘When I have my moment alone with this guy, I’m going to kill him.’” And Emily’s scheming ultimately earned her folklore status. “During a key battle in the fight between the Texans and the Mexicans, she distracts the general by sleeping with him in a tent,” Addai-Robinson said. “He misses the battle call, so his whole camp is basically caught unaware and attacked.” Talk about using her feminine wiles.
Even though Addai-Robinson’s character was determined to kill her lover (Martinez) from day one, things were much more civilized between the actors on set in a small Mexican town called Durango. “He’s so handsome, and he’s the sweetest person ever,” she said. “I had to seduce him [onscreen], and there’s all these love scenes to keep things interesting—but it’s still tame.” So while there will definitely be a few steamy moments, don’t expect things to get too racy. Check out a trailer for the show below.
The first episode of Texas Rising airs Monday, May 25 at 9 p.m. ET on History.