Steven Krueger – The Originals
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) What is new this season on “The Originals” and with your character Josh?
A) Well, I’m sure that most fans know there is so much new on the show this season. This is kind of a season unlike what we have done before. It has a different vibe and the fact we only did thirteen episodes this year kind of allowed the writers to really make every single episode as riveting as possible. There is no lag in the action, which is really fun. So, a quick recap for people who have missed the first few episodes…We have jumped ahead five years from the finale of Season Three and among a bunch of other things Hope has grown up into this adorable sweet young girl who is just starting to learn about her family history and the power that she, herself, has. The Originals have pretty much been MIA from New Orleans. Klaus (Joseph Morgan) has been locked in a dungeon as Marcel’s prisoner and Hayley has been kind of traveling the world looking for a cure for the rest of the family. That kind of means that New Orleans has been peaceful, which is nice. It’s something we haven’t really seen to this point in the show. Marcel (Charles Michael Davis) is the king of the city once again, as he was at the beginning of the first season. His ally who has been keeping the peace is Vincent (Yusuf Gatewood) who keeps the witches in line. As for Josh, he has finally been able to get that sense of normalcy that he has been chasing after since he became a vampire at the very beginning of the show. He’s taking over ownership of Russo’s after Cami (Leah Pipes) died, he’s taken over Marcel’s old loft and he has a new boyfriend. Actually, he’s enjoying life which is really nice for him since he hasn’t been able to do too much of that throughout the course of the show. Just to be clear, none of this peacefulness is going to last much longer once we get into the season. The Originals make their way back, which they tend to do. Then, there is a new mysterious enemy that starts to infiltrate New Orleans as well towards the beginning of the season. Lots of new stuff this season compared to do what we have done in the past, which is exciting.
Q) What originally made you want to be a part of the series?
A) I didn’t actually watch “The Vampire Diaries” regularly before I was cast in this show. I obviously went back and watched a lot of it once I was on the show to get the backstory and the context of what was happening. But I will say that when I was preparing to the audition of Josh I did go back and watch the pilot for “The Originals” that they did back in Season Four of “The Vampire Diaries” and I was totally blown away. Every single thing I saw in it – the storyline, writing and overall look and feel of the show. And more than anything the talent of the actors that were portraying the main characters of what would become “The Originals.” I always tell people that watching Charles Michael Davis in his “I am the king” speech with Klaus in the pilot is still one of my favorite moments of the entire series.
Q) How was Josh originally described to you?
A) It was interesting because they left Josh very open ended. When they first gave the character description for him he was essentially a naïve, but serious gay college kid who travels to New Orleans on Spring Break and ends up getting turned into a vampire. They were very clear that they did not want to portray Josh as a stereotype and I thought that was great. Beyond that, I honestly don’t know if they intended Josh to be the character that he ultimately became – kind of the sarcastic, comedic, but also sweet and innocent guy he turned out to be within the context of the show. I guess what has been great for me is the writers did an absolutely fantastic job of developing the character around me a little bit and really giving me an opportunity to run with him in a fun and interesting way. Initially, Josh was pretty much a blank slate. I think a lot of the actors who auditioned for it were able to bring their own kind of vibe to it. Something about the character just happened to click with who I am.
Q) What continues to challenge you about this role?
A) Well, I think the biggest challenge and the thing I love the most about Josh continuing to be a part of the show…It was a relatively easy character to play in the beginning. The purpose of Josh being there was pretty simple. He was the new guy, the one who kind of always got picked on and the funny one. But as the show has evolved and Josh has continued to be a part of it, it has kind of given me the idea of how to work with these two conflicting forces of the character – one of them being that Josh is getting more and more used to being a part of this world. He is now fully enmeshed in the environment of the city and everything going on there. He has been now for almost a decade (in the timeline of the story). Even though he is still much, much younger than The Originals and Marcel, but he’s also not a newbie anymore. He has been through a lot. He’s seen a lot of dark and scary things and had to live through a lot of personal tragedy. It’s really fun to kind of figure out how to balance those circumstances of Josh’s history with his natural upbeat and optimistic personality, trying to figure out how maintain that subtle power of still believing in a happy ending for himself while not falling into that cynicism that kind of provades so many of the other characters on the show. It’s always figuring out a way to evolve while maintaining Josh as the character that he really is.
Q) New Orleans is the setting for the series. How does the city seem to play an additional character on the show?
A) That is a pretty good observation. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard it put quite that way, but it is pretty accurate. From a personal standpoint, the city of New Orleans has kind of grown on me a lot personally since I’ve been working on the show. I’ve been there several times for weddings with friends and family, but it wasn’t my favorite place. I’ve actually grown to really like the city the more I’ve gone there and the more I’ve been working on this show. There is so much history and culture there. Even if it is unfamiliar and foreign to you it is kind of impossible to not be impressed by the passion the people of New Orleans have for their city. That’s really kind of how it becomes an additional character on the show. It’s like a magnet that constantly draws the main characters back to it. So, much of the conflicts on the show really sprouts from that deep love that these characters have for the city of New Orleans itself. So, it’s always there in the background.
Q) What have been some of your most memorable moments from filming “The Originals?”
A) It’s funny because I’ve had too many good memories to honestly count from working on the show. There are a few that stand out from working over the years. I would say the end of Season One really kind of stands out in my mind. When I learned that Josh was going to survive that first season and carry over to the next season. What I think people don’t realize (and Julie [Plec] has talked about this once in a while in interviews) is Josh wasn’t really supposed to be around for very long. I think the writers and producers initially conceived of this character to have a four or five episode arc where he would play the spy for Marcel and then I think ultimately he was supposed to be outed by Klaus after a few episodes and then killed. So, when I found out at the end of Season One that Josh was going to survive and go on to the next season, I thought “What a great opportunity to play a character that could evolve into something fun and memorable throughout the series.” That is something that sticks out in my mind. In season two the Josh and Aiden (Colin Woodell) storyline is one that will obviously stick with me for a long time just because of how beautifully it was written and played. Also, because of how much fun I had with Colin in some unfamiliar circumstances. Then, ultimately I’d have to say that maybe it sounds cliché but the personal relationships that I have cultivated just form working on the show will probably be the biggest thing that I ultimately take form this. I’ve become such good friends with some of the other actors as well as the writers and producers. It’s a really close knit family. It’s something so valuable to have in this industry and something you don’t always find.
Q) With such a large cast you often may not to get to work with someone ever or very often. Is there anyone you’d like more scenes with or to share a scene with that you haven’t yet?
A) It’s funny because one of the funny things of Josh as a character is that he can kind of be inserted basically into any situation seamlessly. It’s kind of a joke between the writers like, “What can we do to splice this scene up? Why don’t we just throw Josh in there!” I’m grateful because they have given me the chance to work with almost every single person on the show at some point or another. I’ve obviously done a ton of work with Charles Michael Davis and Danielle Campbell. In the first season I worked a lot with Joseph because Josh and Klaus had a lot of scenes together. Quite honestly this past season I didn’t get a chance to work with Summer Fontana who is the great young actress who plays seven year old Hope. We got to meet each other and obviously be around each other a few times, but she is an absolute darling nd from everything I’ve seen she is incredibly talented. So, I think in a potential Season Five I would love to push the idea of some Josh and Hope interaction. Probably some hidden gems in those conversations!
Q) What continues to make The CW such a great home for the series?
A) Obviously there is a certain amount of attraction there for our show because “The Vampire Diaries” created our initial fanbase, but at the same time we have also attracted a lot of fans who really never watched “The Vampire Diaries.” I think that people across all age ranges love The CW because it gives them their weekly fix of fantasy and supernatural reality. The direction The CW has gone from when it was doing “90210” and “Gossip Girl” and things like that has kind of gone more cutting edge and a little bit more interesting. It’s not just your nighttime soap operas anymore. It’s really interesting stuff that you don’t really get on any other network. Here and there you will get a superhero or supernatural show. The CW has a bit of a monopoly on those kind of shows and they really seem to thrive on this network with the audience we have. I guess it kind of snowballs when people say, “Oh, there’s a cool new fantasy show or supernatural show and oh it’s on The CW!” So, that’s been great for us and I’m sure The CW will continue to cultivate shows like that since they are so darn good at them.
Q) You are a part of social media. Do you enjoy the instant fan feedback you receive to episodes?
A) [laughs] Um…Well, I’m sure like most actors I have a love/hate relationship with social media. But yes, to be honest, one of the reasons I do it is because of that instant and very real interaction that you can have with fans. It’s honestly hard to imagine what it was like before social media. I guess people were writing letters to their favorite actors and they were going to their agents and then they would have to pass them along to the actors. Not that it doesn’t happen anymore, but the ability to kind of connect instantly and get feedback right away about how they are feeling any given episode or throughout the season is pretty remarkable. It’s nice to be able to answer questions. I have to admit that our fans and specifically fans of Josh are so amazing. They are honestly the reason Josh has survived this long on the show.
Q) Is there anything else you want to be sure fans know about Josh?
A) Luckily Josh is the kind of guy who wears his hart on his sleeve so anything I’d imagine that viewers know a little bit more than they anticipated about Josh overall. But, I think the thing to keep in mind with Josh is he is a small part of this overall fabric of the story and he often has very different reasons and motivations behind what he does than a lot of the characters on the show. I think he stands out because he is a little bit different. I just love that so many people in our audience embrace that.
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) [laughs] The obvious thing to say is thank you so much. I think actors kind of know what they are getting into when they put themselves out there for the world to see, but the kindness and generosity of the people that have followed my career and especially my work on this show has been totally mind-blowing me. Like is aid, when I first got this part of Josh I never imagined where it would end up four years later. I guess I can only say thank you and certainly hope it carries over into whatever comes next.