Interview with Steven Krueger

Steven Krueger on playing fan favorite Josh Rosza on "The Originals", his point of view on Josh's relationships within the series and his experience of having a castmate as a director on set.

Foto: Steven Krueger - Copyright: Jenny Duckworth Photography
Steven Krueger
© Jenny Duckworth Photography

June 5, 2017 by Annika Leichner @callisthenic

Your character Josh Rosza immediately became a fan favorite on "The Originals". What do you like most about playing the character?

The easy answer is that I love offering those moments of comedic relief in an otherwise very dramatic and intense story. It's always fun to play a character that is unlike anyone else in the show and Josh gives me an opportunity to contrast some of the seriousness of the characters. That said, the most thrilling part about playing Josh is that I think he's the character that most resembles the point of view of much of the audience. Being a fairly new vampire, he reacts to much of what he sees and experiences in the story the same way an ordinary person would react if they saw these things... with shock, disbelief, fear, awe, etc. So in a way, the character of Josh makes it easier for the audience to believe what they're seeing.

With Josh being gay, but his storyline never being focused on him 'being gay', do you think we're finally at a point where a gay character's story is no longer predominantly focused on their sexuality?

I certainly think our industry has made a lot of progress on this front. More and more we're beginning to see LGBT characters being written and portrayed in a fully three dimensional way rather than simply being a token. Obviously there's still a ways to go to make sure that minorities in general in TV and film are not just there to check a box. I've always commended the writers on our show for making sure that Josh wasn't defined solely by his sexuality and that he has a lot of other personality traits that are front and center in his storylines.

Everybody thought Josh would only stick around for a few episodes at first. Why do you think is he still alive and important to the show?

The funny thing is, everyone was right! Josh was only supposed to stick around for a few episodes. I remember talking with Julie [Plec] and some of our writers and initially they had planned on Josh being killed by Klaus as a way to send a message to Marcel. I think there are a number of reasons why those initial plans changed. I think the audience response was a big factor. As I mentioned, Josh is very relatable for people watching the show and it's always fun to see a character who's entirely different than everyone else. Of course there is also the comedic element. It's nice to hear a joke or a bit of sarcasm amidst all the dark brooding once in a while. I also think the writers realized that the character of Josh was potentially very versatile. He could intermingle with a lot of the other characters in a unique way and that provided a lot of intriguing possibilities. And overall, I think I was very lucky that the way the character had been written just meshed really well with my own personality and I was able to bring something to the character that was perhaps unexpected and attention grabbing.

His friendship with Davina has always been a great part of the show, that is missing since Davina was killed. Has any other character on the show the potential to be Josh's next bff?

Yeah Josh has really struggled to replace Davina as a bff since she's been gone. He is of course very close with Marcel but that's almost more of a father/son mentor type relationship than it is a true friendship. In some ways, losing Davina has forced Josh to find his own way in this world and make a path for himself amidst all the craziness that constantly encircles him. But I also think there are some very interesting possibilities for relationships between Josh and other characters like Freya and Vincent. We started exploring those a bit in Season 4 and I'm looking forward to see how they evolve in the fifth season.

Josh's relationship with Aiden was beautiful and heartbreaking. His new boyfriend Eddie hasn't been around much. Will we learn more about Eddie? And for what kind of guy does Josh fall for in general?

I'm not sure Josh will ever truly get over Aiden. It was such a well done storyline in Season 2 and I was really proud of the way it was written and the way that Colin and I were able to play off each other to really make it a compelling part of the show. Eddie doesn't end up being around a ton in season 4 but that's mainly because there is so much else going on that we didn't get a chance to really develop that relationship. I think there's great potential for another love interest in Season 5. Josh is generally attracted to people who are kind of the opposite of him. Whether it's a wolf or a human, he likes to explore and now that he's becoming more comfortable in his supernatural life, I think it will give him even more of an opportunity to branch out and find someone that challenges him but is ok with who he is.

Some of your castmates like Daniel Gillies and Charles Michael Davis got to direct an episode this season. What was it like to have them as a director on set? Is this something you'd like to do, too?

Directing has always been a dream of mine and while I'm way too inexperienced to be able to direct an episode of our show, I am going to spend more time shadowing some of our directors in Season 5 so that I can learn as much about is as possible. It will definitely be something I do in the future. Working with cast members as directors is endlessly fascinating to me because you have a such a close relationship with these people already and then for a couple weeks, there is suddenly a different dynamic. I think the benefit of that situation is that your castmates know you, they know your work, they know what you're good at and they know how to challenge you. Both Charles and Daniel were able to say things to me that I'm not sure other directors could have because we've acted together in so many scenes before. Of course, because we have that history I also felt very confident to challenge them and make it more of a collaborative process than I might with a director that I had never met. I hope to have more members of the cast directing in Season 5!

To say it in Julie Plec's words: Your character Josh brings "delightful humor and a refreshing lightness" to the show. Are you in talks to reprise your role in season 5?

If you couldn't tell already, Josh will definitely be around in Season 5! I'm very much looking forward to seeing what direction both Josh and the show in general will take in this new season. I think there are endless possibilities and I know the writers and producers are really excited to tell a unique story this year.

If you hadn't pursued the career as an actor, what would you've done with your life instead?

I was very close to going to law school when I decided that I just couldn't ignore the little voice inside me that was dying to pursue something more creative. I still am fascinated by the practice of law and read about it endlessly. I guess the dream would be to play some sort of lawyer on TV or in a film someday.

On "Pretty Little Liars" you played Ben Coogan, who tried to rape his girlfriend Emily. What is your best memory of being on the show?

That was a very intense experience and something different than I had ever had to do as an actor before. It was an excellent lesson as an actor for how to not judge the character that you're playing. Of course, I myself hated what Ben was doing to Emily and the way that he chose to handle that situation. But as an actor I had to really dig deep to figure out what Ben was thinking and justify the actions that he was taking. It was a difficult thing to do and an incredible learning experience. I also was still very new to the world of acting at that point and it was such a pleasure to work briefly with all of the people on that show. You could feel even at the very beginning that they were going to be a huge success and I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of it for a couple episodes.

You are quite passionate on Twitter about the political situation in the USA right now. How important to you think is social media for political education?

For a long time I was afraid to voice some of my opinions in such a public forum because I wasn't sure that it was my place. I gradually began to realize that I almost have a responsibility to do so. I know that there will be a lot of people that may disagree with what I'm saying and I think that's fantastic. I'm always up for listening to those with different opinions and ideas. But the beauty of social media and Twitter especially, is that it can be a forum for everyone and everything. Politically you'll find people all across the ideological spectrum. And the reality is that this is the way many people consume news these days. It's important to remember that young people especially aren't often watching the news or reading the newspaper. They read stories on social media and then look to see how others react to it. I commend anyone who chooses to participate respectfully in educating themselves about politics or anything else on social media. Being informed is the most important thing in the world right now and I encourage everyone to consume information through whatever forums they possibly can. And feel free to engage me on Twitter and start a conversation. I'm always up for a good debate!

When you started out as an actor you probably had some ideas about the job. Did it turn out how you expected it to be?

Like many young actors I think I glorified the industry to a certain extent. I wanted to believe that it was all about being an artist and expressing myself. Of course, in a perfect world that is what it's about and I still seek out opportunities to do just that. But the truth is we are in a business just like any other business. You have to accept that and sometimes to be willing to play the game that is going to get you the furthest in the business. Ultimately, you play the game to try to get to the point where you can start making your own calls creatively. I certainly hope to be able to land a job at some point that affords me the luxury of then being able to have some creative control over the projects and roles that I play down the line. That's the real dream of any actor I think.

And last but not least, what kind of series, films and music do you like?

I'm so all over the place that it's hard to define when it comes to music, TV and film. I'm a content guy so I love anything that offers me a compelling story that challenges me and makes me think. Political dramas like The West Wing and "House of Cards" are always top choices but I also love comedies like Silicon Valley and Catastrophe. And I've always been a huge fan of "Friends". That show will never get old for me. With films I prefer the smaller indie dramas to the big budget blockbuster. I think films can be both entertaining and thought provoking. Musically, if it's catchy and I can sing along, I'll listen to it!

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