Most people know him as Dan on Lucifer. We caught up with actor/director Kevin Alejandro to talk about the new season, but also talk about his short-film directorial debut, Bedtime Story.
The short stars Patrick Fischler and Tricia Helfer and Alejandro has won Best Director and the film won multiple Best Short Awards including the Grand Jury Award at the Mammoth Film Festival. Bedtime Story is about cash-strapped literary agent who hatches a plan to turn a lousy writer into a bestselling author.
Watch the Awards Daily exclusive below and read my conversation with Alejandro as we talk Lucifer and directing.
Lucifer has just dropped on Netflix, talk about what we can expect from Detective Dan this season?
Well, Dan, like all of the other characters in our story is deeply affected by the death of Charlotte Richards. We find him at his most vulnerable and struggling with how to move forward. We follow Dan’s sad journey coping with the loss of yet another element of his life that is irreplaceable.
He’s lost his marriage to Chloe, he’s forced to figure out the world of co- parenting, and now he has to mourn the loss of his new love.
He is lost, searching for answers and seeking someone or something to blame.
We’ll watch him make choices, some good and some bad, in hopes to find a sense of peace within himself and all the while pointing the finger at Lucifer.
What’s it like playing Dan and being so popular with young people?
I absolutely love playing the role of Detective Dan Espinoza aka Detective Douche.
All of his imperfections make him the type of human being most of us can relate to. Dan is one of the few characters that keep our stories grounded. It’s realistic to watch him make choices, fail, pick himself back up, and hopefully learn a lesson. This is something we have to endure in our real lives, which is why Dan (in my opinion) has gone from just a “douche” to a man who’s just trying to navigate his way through life by trial and error.
It’s been wonderful to watch his evolution as a character and make his way into the hearts of our audience, young and old.
Lucifer is your co-star, were you religious growing up?
Religion played a very big part of my life growing up. I come from a small town in West Texas called Snyder and have two younger sisters. We grew up pretty poor financially, but rich with love and support from our mom and dad. We were taught that we were blessed and God had provided us with exactly what we needed (each other). We attended church services every Sunday in either our living room or one of my uncle or aunts’ living rooms.
My father came from a big family of five brothers and four sisters, so we alternated who’s home Sunday services would be held at. I have since converted out of Christianity for personal reasons, but I think upon these days fondly. Our prayers gave us hope and deep love and respect for each other. I was blessed with the courage to follow my dreams no matter how big or small they might be.
I wouldn’t change it for the world.
So, you directed an episode of Lucifer, what was it like going behind the camera for the show?
Getting behind the camera is an invigorating experience, but things can change in the drop of a hat. This can be terrifying. So, one of the things I learned very quickly 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 creating the project you’re acting in. It’s an amazing feeling to watch a story unfold, but you have to be ready and open for changes to happen. Luckily I was surrounded by so many great filmmakers who were also my friends, and I wasn’t afraid to ask for their advice. We all wanted the same result and fortunately, they all wanted me to succeed, so together, we created a pretty damn cool piece of television.
What had you learned observing directors that helped you?
I’m inspired by all kinds of styles by many different directors and actors. 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 storyteller. One of the biggest things I learned by observing my favorite directors is that it’s okay not to have all the answers. It’s okay to lean on the ones you trust to guide you towards the right outcome. Most importantly I learned that the job was stressful, and it’s important to find the joy in all the madness!
This leads us to your own short Bedtime Story? How did that happen?
As my curiosity for directing continued to grow, I started to shadow all of my favorite directors on the show. Towards the end of our second season, I learned about THE WARNER BROS. DIRECTOR’S PROGRAM.
It’s an intensive program that teaches and prepares you to direct an episode of a network television show. It covers everything from pre-production to post-production and everything in between. I was fortunate to be one of the few that was accepted into the program.
While in the course, I learned that I had been approved to direct an episode of my show (Lucifer). I was both ecstatic and terrified! This is why I decided to direct Bedtime Story. I wanted to direct something challenging before I took on the responsibility of a network television show. My friend Adrian Cunningham (writer of Bedtime Story) approached me with his script. I loved it and it was as if it was meant to be.
Honesty and illusion are central themes, talk about creating your world of Bedtime Story – how long did it all take to come together especially if you were working on the show?
Bedtime Story is an anecdote about point-blank honesty in a world where illusion, delusion and dishonesty are the norms. The story focuses on misplaced optimism, ageism, unrealistic dreams and unfulfilled ambition. It’s a familiar emotional struggle, but told with the unique voice of getting what you want but not in the way you expected. I immediately knew how to tell this story. So, I reached out to my friends and put together the most amazing group of people and created what I think is a beautiful, funny, and simple little story.
I was fortunate that my friend and Director of Photography, Luis Gomez had access to one of our favorite cameras the Black Magic Ursa mini, which is so great to use for many independent filmmakers. Once we were able to solidify the use of it, the look of our picture came together.
Through the use of lenses and camera movement, I wanted to create subtle elements of surrealism to symbolize the lead character, Melvin’s (played by Patrick Fischler) struggle in his journey to success. We prepped for two solid weeks and shot it over 3 days.
It is definitely a highlight of my life. And that the audience appreciated it during the festival circuit run and won several Best Shorts and myself Best Director was mind-blowing for my first attempt.
What appeals to the Actor Kevin and what appeals to the director Kevin?
They are one in the same when it comes to what interests me. I’m interested in a great story, Something I can relate to and something heartfelt and relative. I love storytelling because it’s extremely intricate. There are so many elements that have to come together to tell the right story and it’s a true miracle when it all comes together.
What were some influences for you growing up?
My biggest influences growing up are my parents and my high school theater teacher.
My parents gave me the notion that I can accomplish anything I wanted as long as I worked for it. And my theater teacher showed me and helped me to believe that I had what it takes to succeed as an actor. He taught me that my persistence and inspiration to grow would be my greatest tools in accomplishing my goals.
How do you separate an actor from the director – what worked for you and what was your biggest lesson?
It’s funny, being an actor, I thought my instincts would just kick in once it was time to shoot my scenes. Not the case! I was so focused on the directing aspect that I don’t think I allowed myself the appropriate time to dedicate to the acting part. I pulled it off but if I had it to do over again, I would have given myself more preparation for my scenes (in reference to Lucifer episode).