There are teenagers who spend their time swooning over their latest crush, trying to juggle their homework with having a social life and, well, if you’re also a newbie vampire, let’s just say everything is just a tad more complicated.
That’s the story with Josh Rosza on the CW hit vampire drama, “The Originals.”
Josh came to French Quarter in New Orleans (where the show is set) with his BFF to have a good time but quickly saw his bestie get killed and then he was turned into a vampire. Definitely not the kind of good time he was looking for!
Josh is also gay, which was established early on on the show and while we’ve yet to see him have a love interest, he is definitely in the mix with The Original vampires including Klaus (Joseph Morgan), Elijiah (Daniel Gillies) and Rebekah (Claire Holt). He also has forged a friendship with teen witch Davina (Danielle Campbell), which doesn’t keep him any further away from life-threatening danger.
Actor Steven Krueger has brought Josh to life and I recently asked him about Josh’s ability to bring to a lightness to otherwise dark circumstances, what he thinks the future holds as well as how his own path went from a career in law to one where he hopes to play a lawyer (and he already has the show picked out!).
While Josh often brings a little humor and a little levity to these really heavy moments on the show, I feel like that’s a skill an actor has to have to be able to do that.
Steven Krueger: Yeah. Yeah. I agree. To be totally honest with you, I wasn’t sure whether Josh would be a very popular character. I also kind of saw it from the perspective of, you’ve got all these really serious people and this guy’s just kind of annoying with his jokes all the time. And it hasn’t gone like that. People have really enjoyed that kind of levity and lightness that I bring to otherwise very intense moments in the show. I think that’s kind of the easy answer for why people like Josh.
I think one of the other things is he’s probably the most relatable of the characters to the audience, as far as he’s kind of thrust into this world against his will and he’s approaching everything with a) being terrified b) not knowing what to expect, not knowing what to think, and anytime you have a supernatural show you’re kind of banking on the audience’s suspension of disbelief. I think Josh kind of validates that, because he’s really approaching it with the same point of view that any normal human being would. ‘What is going on? Does this world really exist? I can’t believe all this is happening.’ I think he kind of gives the audience and the fans a little bit of that validation to say ‘okay we’re a little reluctant but yeah, this is still pretty amazing.’
And remind me who turned him? Rebekah? So much has happened since then!
SK: So it was actually Klaus who technically turned him. Yeah. It’s a little bit convoluted because I was in the very beginning I was bit in Marcel’s nightclub. So I had vampire blood in me. Klaus then killed me and then I woke up in transition and then they fed me, so I made the full transition.
Will we see Josh’s loyalties be tested, because it definitely seems like everybody wavers to whoever’s in charge whether it’s Klaus or Marcel or even sometimes Elijah.
SK: I think one of the things with Josh that’s becoming a recurring theme is, he’s just being manipulated left and right. So I think he’s kind of being pulled in whichever direction of who’s in front of him. His loyalties are being tested for sure as his first season goes on. I’m hoping we get to the point where Josh can settle in and take a deep breath and figure out for himself who he wants to be loyal to. Figure out where he wants to settle into this world, rather than just being kind of pulled in all these different directions.
How are you dealing with the social media side of the business?
SK: The Twitter thing is very new to me, I have to say. We were on set back in November and Danielle tweets something out and tagged me in it, used my handle. And at the time I think I had like one follower. She was like ‘Are you on Twitter?’ I’m like ‘Yeah I am, but I never really use it.’ And she’s like ‘Well, that’s going to change.’ And then sure enough I was like ‘okay I guess I better start doing this Twitter thing.’ So, my ability to interact with the fans is still growing, figuring out what do I want to say to all these great fans, and what do I not want to say.
It’s a skill.
SK: It is.
And Julie Plec [creator of “The Originals”] can be your best teacher because she is so on top of it.
SK: Oh my gosh, she is so good at it! I think it’s kind of why television has come into this golden age is because there’s so much more of a medium for fans to interact with, not only other fans, but with the actual people involved with the show. Which ten years ago didn’t exist.
Do you like vampire stuff? Some of the stuff you do on the show can be pretty gory so I wasnt’ sure if you were into it or not.
SK: Before I got the show I wasn’t a huge vampire guy. And I had so many conversations with Joseph Morgan when I first got there because he’s such an expert about all the mythology now from fan questions and being on the show for so long. And as soon as he started talking about it I was captivated. I was like ‘wow, this stuff is actually cool.’ I never realized how cool this supernatural vampire/werewolf type stuff is.
So to answer your question, I’m totally into it now. This stuff that we see on set…they’re always calling for ‘More blood. More blood.’ Like ‘Cut, we need a little bit more blood on the mouth, on the shirt.’ And ‘Bite him harder’ and that kind of stuff. I’m happy to embrace it now and it’s been a great time. So I’m looking forward to seeing where we go from here, because I have a feeling it’s going to get a lot bloodier.
You were originally on the path to be a lawyer. What drew you to that field of work?
Steven Krueger: I actually don’t think the two fields are that much different when you think about it. I mean acting and law, I have this vision of being a courtroom lawyer and kind of standing up in front of a judge and a jury and I mean besides the humanitarian and philanthropic aspects of the law, I always found that really kind of exhilarating. And I think there’s something about the law as well that…I like to think of myself as an academic and an intellectual and there’s just so many different corners and nooks and crannies of the law that are so interesting. So, yeah, since I was very young it just always kind of appealed to me. So now of course my dream job is playing a lawyer on television.
Are you serious?
SK: Right. Right.
You could be on “Suits!”
SK: I see, I literally see Patrick J. Adams on “Suits and I’m like ‘Awww’.
Doesn’t he need a younger brother or something on the show?
SK: No, it was my role. If only I was a few years older that could be my role. I loved ‘Boston Legal’ when I was growing up in high school. I mean shows like that always spoke to me, so that’s where we’re heading after we get out of the vampire world.
I read that your mother pushed you into acting? Did she see something in you? Or is it something that she wanted?
SK: You know, I think there was always something about me growing up that I was never quite satisfied with the norm or the usual. And so even though my parents always wanted me to have that college education and that strong background, there was something that she saw where I just wanted to kind of be outgoing and be silly and have fun and for whatever reason she saw it and I didn’t, which I guess is mother’s intuition. But you know, it’s worked out.
And I think when I first meet people a lot of times I put on kind of that intellectual academic persona, which I absolutely am. But the more I get to know people, the one thing they always say is ‘You’re a lot sillier than I thought you were when I first met you.’ I think acting has kind of given me an outlet to display that, and just kind of embrace it.
So when you got to LA and decided you were going to take a stab at acting, was it just about getting into classes and just do that whole thing?
SK: I got a very good piece of advice from a family friend who has been a producer out here for a long time and he actually agreed to meet with me when I kind of pitched this to my family and I said ‘You know, I’m thinking about ditching the law school thing and getting back into acting.’ And [my parents] said ‘Do us a favor. Meet with this producer who’s a family friend.’ And for about 45 minutes he tried to talk me out of it. The first thing he said was ‘Is there any way I can stop you from doing this?’ And, of course, I thought, ‘Why would you say that to me? That’s, you know, that’s harsh.’
But the point that he was making and the thing that he kind of battered into my head was, ‘if you’re going to do this, don’t think of it as just taking a stab at it or trying it for a couple of years and seeing what happens. He said ‘If you’re going to do it, it’s a career. Make it a career, and say “I’m going to do this for the rest of my life. There is no back-up plan.”‘ Once he told me that, it was a shock to my system.
I spent a solid two weeks of soul-searching. The intellectual in me, the analyst in me, was writing out pros and cons lists, silly things like that. It was a decision that was not made lightly. And once I kind of realized that deep down this is what I wanted to do, then it was really easy. Then it was like ‘Okay, I have that background of college and pre-law and all that kind of stuff.’ Yeah, after that it was ‘I better go back to school for acting.’ As I was approaching the business side of it I also was very, very much involved in class and studying and all that kind of stuff.
Well, I know people who say they want to be actors but they don’t study. I think they just want to be stars and do the Hollywood thing.
The other good thing is this producer friend told me was, ‘don’t get out there before you’re ready.’ He said the worst thing you can do is get in front of a casting director before you’re ready. And then they’ll close the door on you for a long, long time. So really, I had no problem going out for little co-stars and stuff like that. But I really made a conscious effort to figure out what I was doing and really get back into the study and the craft of it before I got out there.
It’s funny too because one of the big mitigating factors for me with acting was the fame aspect. It actually scares me a little bit, the idea of fame and all that kind of stuff. The fortune I’m totally fine with. Everybody wants to make a lot of money. But the fame aspect of it always kind of gave me a little bit of hesitation, a little bit of reluctance. So, yeah, I think you’re absolutely right. There’s people who want to be stars and want to be famous, and people who just want to be actors. And with success in that industry comes fame and I think you just kind of have to deal with that.
“The Originals” airs Tuesdays at 8pm on the CW. Check out other gay teens on television (vamps and humans) here.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.