On the HBO vampire series True Blood, actor Kevin Alejandro plays Jesus, the handsome nurse who caught the eye of Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) when he was taking care of his mother. As Season 4 has brought the witches to the forefront of the story, and Jesus and Lafayette have been learning just how powerful they are, they’ve gotten closer and their relationship has gotten stronger, their love for each other only growing while they try to save the humans in their tiny town of Bon Temps from an inevitable vampire showdown.
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, Kevin Alejandro talked about how cool it is to be a part of a show he was already a fan of, that he feels this season has found a good balance between all of the stories and characters, how much he enjoys playing scenes with Nelsan Ellis, how flattered he is by the fan reaction to the show, and that everyone is sure to be amazed by the craziness of the season finale. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
KEVIN ALEJANDRO: Yeah, actually. But, it was something that my wife and I had been watching from the beginning, so it was cool to get to go in there and be part of a show that I was already a fan of. When it happened with True Blood, I was like, “Yeah, this is so cool.”
Did the fact that the relationship between Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) and Jesus is not in the books and therefore wide open in its development, help in making this role less nerve-wracking, since there were no preconceived notions about this character?
ALEJANDRO: I think so. And the way they’ve written both Jesus and Lafayette, just leaves more room for people to form an audience relationship with them and grab onto the characters.
In the same way that it must have been intimidating to be one of the new cast members last season, was it equally validating to be asked back and told that your role would be expanded with the focus being on the witches this season?
ALEJANDRO: Absolutely, yeah! When I found out, it was at the season wrap party last year. Alan Ball told me and I just hugged him and said, “Thank you!” It’s a great show to be a part of. It was intimidating at first because the show is surrounded with amazing character actors. There’s so much going on and there’s so many different storylines going on, but I think there’s a pretty good balance. I think they’ve balanced it out pretty well this season, as far as everyone getting something really meaty to do. This year was crazy! And, it’s the season of the witches, so the witches had a lot more to do this year.
With the year jump in time this season, did you talk about how the relationship between Jesus and Lafayette changed and evolved over that year?
ALEJANDRO: Yeah. It’s one year later, so a lot happened during that year. Also, Nelsan and myself are comfortable with each other as friends now. We’re a lot closer as Kevin and Nelsan, so we play off each other more and we just feel a little freer. I’ve learned so much by working with that guy. He is a genius, when it comes to our craft. He’s one of the best at it. I love working with the dude. I might be a little biased because I had a lot more to do, but the writing was really good this season. The stuff that Nelsan and I got to go through together was really great this year.
ALEJANDRO: Without giving anything away, Jesus is considerate, kind and loving, and he’s so in love with Lafayette. But, there’s a darkness in him, too. He’s a well-balanced character. With everybody, there’s good and bad. It’s to-be-determined which one prevails.
In learning about this character, what aspects of him have most surprised you?
ALEJANDRO: It was not necessarily surprising, but getting into his backstory, figuring out where he came from and who he was as a child, and the different parts of the world that he lived in, was intriguing to me and interesting to learn.
Did you ever think you’d be breaking ground on TV, getting to play a male witch who is also a male nurse?
ALEJANDRO: I had no idea. If you had asked me a year and a half ago whether I’d be doing this on TV, I’d have said no. I would have had no clue. But, I’m loving every moment of it. I just love being there. It’s one of the biggest ensemble shows I’ve ever been a part of, and it’s great. It’s a great time.
ALEJANDRO: Absolutely! It’s so cool. It’s very fun. With this show, in particular, it’s not very often that you get to play with everyone. This season, everyone has been all over the place. There are relationships with everyone now. I get to go through all the Bon Temps people.
With such a large ensemble, is there anyone that you haven’t gotten to work with much that you wish you could have some more scenes with?
ALEJANDRO: They did a good job of putting me with everybody this year. I really like Ryan Kwanten. He’s a good actor and he’s really funny. I would like to do more stuff with him. But, I’ve loved every moment of it, with everyone I’ve worked with.
In being a fan of the show, along with being a part of the show, are there any of the other characters that you wish you could be for a day?
ALEJANDRO: I don’t know. I like Jesus. I must say, it would be really cool to be a vampire. That would be a fun thing for me to do.
ALEJANDRO: Oh, all the time. We’re constantly laughing at messed up lines or things falling. There are constant things like that, and it’s fun because you’ve got to keep it light. With a show like this, you can’t be too serious about it. You’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself and have fun on set.
What do you enjoy most about being a part of this show, and have there been any challenges with doing it?
ALEJANDRO: With everything, there are challenges. This is a role unlike anything I’ve ever played. I haven’t had a male lover before, so that was a challenge, in figuring out how to make it real and believable, and not step on anybody’s toes. It was a challenge to figure out the right balance there, for both of us, and understanding each other’s comfort zones. But, as a whole, working on the show has been amazing.
ALEJANDRO: From Episode 5 to the season finale. Everything just blows up. When I was reading it, I was like, “Oh, my god!” I haven’t seen any of it, but if it shows anything like it read, everyone is going to just be amazed. It’s pretty cool!
When you work on a show like this, with all of the effects, is it fun to get to see the final product?
ALEJANDRO: Yeah, it’s cool. It’s very interesting for me to go and act the part and do that, and then watch it and see just how cool it really is with whatever other effects they add to it in post. I’m always really interested to see how it turns out. It’s so technical. Depending on what the thing is that you’re doing, you have to be really still and they bring in another camera to match it. So, when you watch it on the screen, it just becomes magic. That six hours for a 30-second scene with a two-second effect really works.
Having had the Comic-Con experience and being at PaleyFest, what’s it been like to get that feedback from devoted genre fans, and what do you enjoy about the fan reaction to the show?
ALEJANDRO: I’m very new to it, so I’m in awe and flattered and just amazed that people can latch onto True Blood so profusely. It’s amazing that the show touches people like that. It’s a little bit overwhelming, but I’m not jaded by it. I think it’s cool. I’m giddy when it happens. I’m a big dork. It’s great, though, because it means that the show is doing what it’s supposed to do. Without the fans, we’re nothing.
Are you looking to fill your hiatus with guest spots and film roles, or are you looking to take time off?
ALEJANDRO: I absolutely love spending time with my family. We’re beach bums. We live out in Venice and we’re always on our bikes. We’re neighborhood kids. But, if someone will hire me to do a movie, I’d like to do something. A little movie here or there would be great. I’m just going with it right now. I want to do all kinds of things. I want to do some comedy. I’d love to do a romantic comedy, and I’d love to do some period pieces with classical text. I’d love somebody to cast me as Macbeth, but for a film. I just want to be all over the place.