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Categories: Interviews

Hannah Greenwood talks to actor Kevin Alejandro (known for his roles on Lucifer, Arrow and True Blood) about moving behind the camera and what inspires him.

Kevin Alejandro is known for his performances on hit shows and cult favourites like Arrow, True Blood, and The Retuned; but has recently stepped behind the cameras and into the director’s chair. Currently starring in Lucifer as detective Dan Espinoza, Alejandro has been working alongside his acting career, making his own short films on his You Tube channel Alejandro Films, often writing, directing, starring in and shooting an entire short film. In Alejandro’s most recent achievement Bedtime Story, a struggling writer ironically garners unexpected success from The National Insomniacs Association for his writings remarkable ability to put people to sleep. The film was winner of Best in Festival and Best Director at The Hollywood Short Film Festival as well as The Grand Jury Award for Best Short Film at Mammoth Film Festival.

He took the time to talk to us about his experiences shifting between acting and directing.

Congratulations on the recognition you’ve been receiving for Bedtime Story. You gained notoriety from your acting work on hit television shows like LuciferArrow and The Returned, what inspired you to turn to directing?

Thank you so much! I think being on set for so many years inspired my curiosity about how to tell a story. I’ve slowly become enamoured and obsessed, if you will, about having the opportunity to evolve and grow as a filmmaker. I’m honoured to also have the opportunity to direct an episode of Lucifer this season.

What kind of films and TV shows do you love to watch? What stories and styles inspire you?

I’m inspired by all kinds of styles by many different directors. There are so many great people to look up to in this business, and I’m fortunate to be able to surround myself with great people and directors who are willing to help groom my own growth as a story teller. I’m influenced mostly by true stories or stories with a twist or an edge. This is why you’ll find me binge watching shows like Black Mirror or The End of the F***ing World.

How did it feel to get behind the camera for the first time? Were there things you thought you knew from having seen directing on set as an actor that you were surprised to find were different once you put yourself in the director’s chair?

Getting behind the camera is an invigorating experience, but things can change in the drop of a hat. One of the things that I’ve learned by being on set as a director is how truly important the preparation is. As an actor you don’t really get the chance to be a part of all the prep that goes into directing something. It’s an amazing feeling to watch a story unfold, but you have to be ready and open for changes to happen. You’re surrounded by many great film makers so don’t be afraid to take their advice. 

From your directing work so far, it seems that you are often drawn to dark and comedic stories – what is it about such stories that draws you to them?

I’m attracted to all kinds of stories especially ones with a twist because as an audience member I love to be taken on journey. The humor in a script is also very important because I love to laugh and the mix of the two (dark and comedy) allows me to go on a full emotional ride. 

Do you find you are attracted to different projects as a director than you are as an actor? What appeals to your actor-self as opposed to your director-self?

This is a great question. But honestly, as an artist I am attracted to a story that I can relate to. It gives me the opportunity to express a part of myself that I wouldn’t ordinarily have the chance to reveal. This is how I choose all of my projects. I ask myself how much of me and the way I think will help influence a particular story. 

It’s said that actors have a unique perspective of directing.  Do you find that your experience as an actor gives you a different perspective on directing?

Actually, I would say that this adventure of becoming a director gives me a different perspective as an actor. It has helped me to dive a little deeper into the story and handle a role with a lot more responsibility. The breaking down of the script is a little more technical which, in turn, inspires me to be more creative. Sounds weird, I know, but somehow it’s opens up a different emotional portal for me.

Kevin Alejandro and Tom Ellis in Lucifer.

Are you looking at acting roles differently now that you are accustomed to seeing things from the director’s point of view?

Actually I’m not looking at roles differently. I’ve always been moved by the story. So this will always be the deciding factor on my next character or directing job.

Bedtime Story delivers a touch of twisted humour whilst engaging the viewer in the plight of its endearing protagonist Melvin. What was the biggest learning curve in your development as a director that enabled you to bring this story to life?

My biggest learning curve was to trust myself!!! But most important TRUST MY TEAM. As a director you take on sort of a captain’s role. A good captain knows where you have to go, but has to rely on his/her crew to get him/ her there. So, I had a vision, and I made sure my team understood that vision well enough to have the confidence and freedom for them to create within our collaboration. They are all pros at what they do, so I just let them do what they do. By listening to their ideas and combining them with my own, I think we were able to pull off a pretty compelling journey for any audience.

I hear you’re to be directing an upcoming episode of Lucifer– how do you overcome the challenge of separating acting from directing on set?

Yes!!! And I’m extremely excited! I can’t think of a better group of people to make my Network directorial debut with! I’m confident that my responsibilities as an actor will only benefit from sitting in the director’s chair. I will prep the episode to best of my abilities and trust the opinions of my cast mates Tom Ellis and Lauren German to keep me honest and give the best performance necessary for each scene!

 

Hannah is a Kings College London BA Film Studies graduate originally from West Yorkshire. A fanatic film lover, she is working with Cinema Jam whilst writing Freelance alongside.

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Posted on Feb 27, 2018

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