‘Only Murders in the Building’: Selena Gomez Thinks ‘Mabel Is an Older Version of Alex’ Russo

The Hulu comedy mystery Only Murders in the Building gave Wizards of Waverly Place star Selena Gomez a brand new hit. She plays Mabel, a younger resident at the Arconia. Mabel teams up with Charles (Steve Martin) and Oliver (Martin Short) to solve murders at the Arconia. To Gomez, Mabel has a major connection to her Wizards of Waverly Place character, Alex Russo.

'Only Murders in the Building': Selena Gomez wears a yellow coat in the art gallery as Mabel, whom she says is Alex Russo of 'Wizards of Waverly Place' all grown up
Selena Gomez | Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu

Gomez was a guest on Entertainment Weekly’s The Awardist podcast on June 27. She said Mabel is like her Wizards of Waverly Place character all grown up. Only Murders in the Building Season 2 episodes premiere Tuesdays on Hulu.

Selena Gomez: ‘Mabel is an older version of Alex’ from ‘Wizards of Waverly Place’

Gomez was a teenager when she played Alex Russo, a young sibling competing to be her family’s next wizard on the Disney Channel series. There’s no magic on Only Murders in the Building, except for the chemistry between Gomez, Martin and Short. However, Gomez sees parallels to Wizards of Waverly Place.


RELATED: ‘Only Murders in the Building’: Selena Gomez Still ‘Not Getting a Lot of Demanding Phone Calls’

“1000%, I feel like Mabel is an older version of Alex in a way,” Gomez said on The Awardist. “But I adored being on that show so much. I felt like I did learn a lot. We actually had great writers. We had two writers that were on Friends. We had an incredible director that we used for most of our seasons and they were incredible. So we got really lucky. That, I still look back at that and laugh at certain things just because I thought it was so fun and we tried.”

Selena Gomez takes after ‘Only Murders in the Building’ character Mabel

Not only is Mabel a grown up Alex Russo, but she’s very much like the real Gomez, too. Only Murders in the Building Season 2 highlights Mabel’s sarcasm, even in the face of police. Gomez said she’s taken after Mabel. 

“She’s rubbed off on me a little bit,” Gomez said. “I love being quick. I kind of steal Steve and Marty’s jokes every now and then. She’s fun.”

Gomez is also learning about Short and Martin’s humor, but she doesn’t think she can do what they do.

Even when we’re off camera, they’re keeping me on my toes. They are so quick. It’s unbelievably charming and it’s so witty and smart. Their humor is very smart. It’s not necessarily crass. It’s quick. I think it’s very hard and I don’t want to say they were constantly on. I think it’s just in their innateness that they completely know how to bounce off each other really well. We applied that to the show of course. We would have these freedom takes if you will where they would throw something at me and my reaction was honestly genuinely what my character would do because half the time I’m like I don’t really get what you’re trying to do. But it works. Yes, I’ve been stuck a few times but they give me some good advice and lines to throw back at them. 

Selena Gomez, The Awardist, 6/28/22

‘Only Murders in the Building’ made her nervous 

Even though Gomez has been a star since she was a teenager, she was still nervous going into Only Murders in the Building

RELATED: ‘Only Murders in the Building’: Selena Gomez’s Kissing Scene Was ‘Annoying’

“It was my first project back from being on any sort of show in years,” Gomez said. “So I was definitely nervous for that, being able to create this character from scratch with the writers has really been so much fun. But I would say that I don’t know, I think that I was nervous for multiple reasons. I just wanted it to be great and then of course I didn’t know how I was going to fit in with Steve and Marty. I was like I hope they like me and I hope we get along. Sure enough, they made me feel so welcome and now I feel like the third amigo.”

Martin and Short put her at ease on the first day of filming Only Murders in the Building.

“My first scene was actually the scene where we do meet in the first episode,” Gomez said. “So it actually worked out really well because it was the actual feelings of meeting someone new and giving them no sort of reaction was really fun. Yes, I think the first day, I felt so much better. I felt like the jitters had gone away but throughout the whole season I was just anxious because you never know. You never know what’s going to be good or what’s going to be bad.”

RELATED: Selena Gomez Met Selena Quintanilla’s Family in ‘the Surrealest Moment’