Kevin Alejandro Talks True Blood, Jesus and Lafayette, and His Exciting New Projects — Exclusive!
Because we're still suffering from serious Jesus withdrawal on True Blood, we're eager to see actor Kevin Alejandro in any context. So we were definitely excited when he and his friends started a Kickstarter campaign to crowd-fund a new superhero series titled The Keepers.
And Kevin just upped the ante this morning with a new True Blood-related reward package. For a $5,000 donation, you get a personalized letter from Kevin, True Blood's first three seasons and soundtrack, True Blood comic books including a copy of Issue #6 signed by the entire cast (which Kevin actually used as a prop in a play), a picture of Kevin with Stephen Moyer and Nelsan Ellis on his last day on set; and the actual prosthetic the production used for Jesus's sewn mouth.
In preparation for the final push of the campaign this weekend, we talked to Kevin about The Keepers, his new role as Det. Christian Arroyo on CBS's Golden Boy, and — yes indeed — playing Jesus opposite Nelsan as Lafayette on True Blood.
How did The Keepers came about? My really close friend Stephen Taylor approached me with the idea a little over a year ago for something to showcase him and his friend Adam Conger and their comedic abilities. I took a look at it, and I was like, "Man, this is pretty freakin' awesome. Let's do it. How do we get it done?" So we decided to shoot a two-minute trailer.
And that's what people are checking out right now on our Kickstarter page and on our website, and that's what we're using as a small example of what the show could turn into and what it could look like if we had more money. That's why we're asking for $30,000 — to do the project right. It's crunch time now. Sunday night at 11 pm ET/8 pm PT is our deadline.
Are you still filming Golden Boy? We are done with the first season right now, and we should find out by the end of this month, I think, whether we're coming back for Season 2. The fans seem to keep getting stronger on the show. The fans are becoming more loyal. It's a grower, you know? It's growing on people; and that's a really good, positive sign. So fingers crossed over here.
What attracted you to this show? The script was so cool. I hadn't seen one like that in a long time. And the character, nobody has seen me play this guy before. And it was a good challenge to see if I could actually play someone like Arroyo and in such a way that the audience won't completely want to put a bullet in his head after the first couple of episodes. It was a real struggle and a real challenge, and that's what we like to do as actors.
What do you like about playing Christian Arroyo? His arrogance is pretty fun to play. Later in the season, you get to see personality traits come out. This is the first opportunity in a long time that I've gotten to create a whole human being with not a lot of Kevin Alejandro in the guy. From his walk to his swagger to his accent to his facial expressions... there's not a lot of me in that guy!
What do you miss about your time on True Blood? Uh, everything. [Laughs.] I love that show, and it's just this surreal world that we get to make-believe in. And the people were great, and I really enjoyed working with those guys. You know, I miss everything about it. It's a fun show. The fans are amazing. Those guys are just so loyal, and I'm lucky to have them.
So what do True Blood fans say to you when they see you on the street? Mostly it's "Oh, my God, it's Jesus! I love you! I love you! Are you going to come back? Why did they have to kill you? Why did they have to kill you?" [Laughs.] I'm like, "I don't know!"
You said in another interview that you came up with the idea of Lafayette stabbing Jesus. Yeah, you know, i thought it was an interesting idea. Me and [co-executive producer] Alexander Woo were talking one day, and — knowing that the ultimate demise of the character was coming — I just threw it out there. "Hey man, wouldn't it be cool if Jesus had to be killed by the person he loves the most?" And he was like, "Yeah, maybe there's something there." And next thing you know, there it is. Lafayette had to end up taking the love of his life's life! It was cool to have that influence, absolutely. I was telling Nelsan about it, and he was like, "That's a good idea, bro. You should pitch it!"
What did you like most about the relationship between Jesus and Lafayette? What I liked most about it was how pure it seemed — and genuine. Nelsan and I formed a legitimate friendship and relationship, and that carried through on-screen, I think. The two character themselves felt this very pure kind of love, and Nelsan and I formed a very pure respect for each other, and the two married each other very well.
And then you came back to the show in Season 5! Yeah, that was awesome. I went back to them right after I finished shooting the pilot — literally the second day after I finished the pilot for Golden Boy. It was just mad love, like I had never left. It was great.
What's the set like once the cameras stop rolling and the blood stops spilling? We make jokes and trip each other and... yeah! [Laughs] That's what we do. I've been really fortunate to work with people who are serious actors who are serious about their jobs, but once they call cut, they are playing around and keeping it light and keeping it loose and making the atmosphere fun for everybody.
What was your favorite scene in True Blood? There are so many, you know? I gotta tell you, though: Being strapped to that chair — my last moments of playing Jesus — and watching Nelsan play both people, and the way he was able to be Lafayette and be Marnie — just to watch the trigger and to see how he was able to separate the people and genuinely be scary was a pretty outstanding moment for me as an actor learning something from another actor.
Assuming the writers could write Jesus in, would you go back for more True Blood? Oh, absolutely, man, anytime! Anytime. I enjoyed that show so much, I would absolutely go back.
How was Jesus first presented to you? There was a character breakdown and a couple of scenes that they made up. I didn't even know that I was a brujo, I didn't even know I had powers at that point... Mostly what they were auditioning for was to see who worked well with Nelsan, who had the best chemistry with him. So I auditioned two or three times... and I ended up landing it, luckily.
What's been the highlight of your career so far? My career in general is a highlight, man. I am so freakin' lucky, you know? It's been a really good because one job has begot the other, and it's continually gotten stronger and better. It's been the perfect ladder of events.
Don't forget to contribute to The Keepers on Kickstarter before Sunday night. Besides his role on Golden Boy, Kevin also has two movies in the works: he plays an alcoholic pimp in Truck Stop opposite Evan Peters and Juno Temple, and he portrays a man having a destructive affair — full frontal nudity alert! — with a deaf woman, played by Catalina Sandino Moreno, in Medeas. Kevin says he also has aspirations of directing and producing — are you listening, True Blood?