Zane Holtz as KO Kelly and Lucy Hale as Katy Keene in KATY KEENE - Season 1 - "Chapter Three: What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" | ©2020 The CW/Barbara Nitke

Zane Holtz as KO Kelly and Lucy Hale as Katy Keene in KATY KEENE – Season 1 – “Chapter Three: What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” | ©2020 The CW/Barbara Nitke

KATY KEENE, which premieres on The CW Thursday, February 6, is a spinoff of RIVERDALE, a fellow adaptation of an Archie Comics property. Set in New York City, KATY KEENE follows its aspiring fashion designer title character (Lucy Hale), her good friend, fresh from Riverdale, aspiring singer Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray), their roommate, aspiring Broadway performer Jorge (Jonny Beauchamp) and his drag persona Ginger, plus all those in their orbit. The show is not only upbeat, but has musical numbers.

Katy Keene’s boyfriend is K.O. Kelly, an up-and-coming boxer who (as we see in the premiere) is willing to sacrifice a lot for love. K.O. is played by Zane Holtz, whose previous credits include the films HOLES, THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, and HUNTER KILLER. Originally from Canada, Holtz spent three seasons playing quasi-good guy/quasi-unhinged vampire Richie Gecko on the TV series version of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN.

ASSIGNMENT X: At least at first, K.O. is the love interest rather than the lead. Did you have any qualms about that?

ZANE HOLTZ: No. I had seen RIVERDALE, and I thought that it was a great show, and I wanted to work with a good team, and so the ensemble nature of it didn’t really bother me. I thought that I could play the character well, and I was just looking to do something that I thought, again, I could do well, and that could potentially perform well. And I think this show has that. So I wasn’t concerned about where I am on the call sheet.

AX: Did you have to learn how to do anything to play K.O.? I think you already knew how to box, but was there anything else?

HOLTZ: I’m taking [singing] lessons. I boxed in high school. The majority of what I do now is Brazilian jiu jitsu [Holtz has a black belt in the form]. That’s something I actively still do on a weekly basis. I’m definitely going to start hitting the bag and doing a little bit more boxing, though. Because I take all my roles seriously, and if this is such a big part of the character, I’d be not doing my job if I didn’t.

Zane Holtz as KO Kelly and Lucy Hale as Katy Keene in KATY KEENE - Season 1 - "Chapter Two: You Can't Hurry Love" | ©2020 The CW/Barbara Nitke

Zane Holtz as KO Kelly and Lucy Hale as Katy Keene in KATY KEENE – Season 1 – “Chapter Two: You Can’t Hurry Love” | ©2020 The CW/Barbara Nitke

AX: Do you get any boxing scenes in KATY KEENE?

HOLTZ: There wasn’t anything in the pilot, but I think that’s definitely going to be something that happens this season. We’ll see where it goes. I mean, that is such a core part of who the character was in the comics. His name is literally Knock-Out Kelly [laughs] I think that’s something that’s going to have to happen, and I’m excited for that. Boxing stories are always so empowering, and that sort of following a fighter, especially an underdog fighter rise, and seeing him try to get to the top, is always an interesting thing to see.

I’m excited to get back and do some more boxing, because I think that’s something that will probably eventually happen in the show. I know that’s part of why I was so attracted to K.O., wsa that he had this clear dream and goal to be a professional fighter. And I guess that will become my version of dance or singing. Truly, fight choreography is pretty similar to choreographing dance. It’s something that I’ve done a bit of, and I love to do, and that’s one of the main things that I was pumped about for this show.

AX: You were just talking with Katherine La Nasa, who plays Katy’s department store boss, Gloria Granville. Do your characters have much contact?

HOLTZ: We were on set together. So far, K.O. and Gloria haven’t met, but I think that’s probably something that’ll be in the future. I know that that happened a lot in the comics, so we’ll see. I think she refers to me as “a brute” in the pilot, “that bruiser.” She’s aware he exists.

AX: Gloria can be really awful to Katy. Does K.O. want to punch her out for being so mean?

HOLTZ: No, absolutely not. This is a fun, happy show. I don’t think there would ever be anything like that. If anything, I would imagine I’d probably end up – I feel like [Gloria] would try and befriend me to get at Katy, in a weird way. It’s actually funny. I have a good friend of mine who’s an avid comic book collector, and when he found out I got this part, he sent me a piece of original artwork from the KATY KEENE comics. They would hand-draw the old panels, and then they would use that for the prints. And the one that he sent me is actually Gloria and K.O. And she’s training me to box. If I remember, in the panel, she’s driving her car, and I’m running after it to get some road work in, if I remember.

Zane Holtz as KO Kelly in KATY KEENE - Season 1 | ©2019 The CW/JSquared Photography

Zane Holtz as KO Kelly in KATY KEENE – Season 1 | ©2019 The CW/JSquared Photography

AX: To switch gears for a moment, were you happy with the way FROM DUSK TILL DAWN wrapped?

HOLTZ: You know, I think we were all hoping to maybe get one more season, or have a little bit more of a definitive ending. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but I know [creator] Robert [Rodriguez] and [show runner] Carlos Coto have always thought that maybe in the future we could wrap it up in a Netflix movie or a limited kind of run to finish it off. And in this age of streaming, and series revivals, they do that all the time. So I don’t think anything is ever completely out of the question.

AX: And what would you most like people to know about KATY KEENE, the show?

HOLTZ: I feel like it has a magical quality to it. It’s very aspirational. I was smiling watching it. It made me feel happy. And I hope that this show can bring that into people’s lives for an hour every week.

This interview was conducted during The CW’s portion of the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour.

Related: RIVERDALE: Skeet Ulrich on Season 4 and playing Jughead’s Dad – Exclusive Interview

Related: RIVERDALE: Mädchen Amick on Season 3 of the CW Archie comics inspired series plus what she thought of that TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN ending

Related: RIVERDALE: TWIN PEAKS star Mädchen Amick on her new role in the ARCHIE universe

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Article: KATY KEENE: Zane Holtz on Season 1 of the Archie Comics TV show adaptation – Exclusive Interview

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