LUCIFER follows its title character through a very complicated chronicle. At the outset, Lucifer (Tom Ellis) has gotten fed up with ruling Hell and has opened a nightclub in Los Angeles. He gets himself a gig as a police consultant, to the initial annoyance of LAPD Detective Chloe Decker (Lauren German), but eventually, the pair fall in love – and she finds out Lucifer’s true identity.
For those who may not be up to date with the history of LUCIFER as a series, it’s based on the DC Comics series by Mike Dringenberg & Sam Kieth, spun off from Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN graphic novels. LUCIFER was developed for television by Tom Kapinos; the show runners are executive producers Joe Henderson and Ildy Modrovich.
Fox aired the first three seasons of LUCIFER, 2016-2019, then canceled it in May 2018. Netflix, at least partly in response to the reaction of fans, picked LUCIFER up for a fourth season (the service is now streaming all four seasons). Netflix then announced a fifth and final season of LUCIFER. Then Netflix announced they were adding six episodes to Season 5. Then Netflix decided that they would do a sixth and really, honest-to-Lucifer’s-dad, final season.
The first five seasons are now streaming in their entirety on Netflix, with the sixth intended for some time later in 2021. When the second half of Season 5 dropped on May 28, 2021, per Netflix’s statistics, the series racked up over one billion (with a B) viewing minutes in the first week.
For all five seasons, Kevin Alejandro has played sometimes compromised LAPD detective Daniel Espinosa, Chloe’s former husband and father to their young daughter Trixie (Scarlett Estevez).
In Season 5, Dan finally discovers that not only is Lucifer actually the Biblical fallen angel, and that Lucifer’s brother Amenadiel (DB Woodside) is an archangel, but he meets their father, i.e., God (Dennis Haysbert). Since Dan has had an affair with Charlotte (Tricia Helfer), who was for part of that time possessed by the Supreme Goddess, aka God’s wife, that’s a little awkward.
Then Lucifer decides to play a super-elaborate practical joke on Dan, in the Dan-centric episode “Daniel Espinosa: Naked and Afraid.”
Dan is murdered in the penultimate episode of Season 5. Naturally, nobody is dropping spoilers about Season 6, but in a series where characters move between Earth, Heaven and Hell, it’s not impossible we’ll see him again.
In any event, the LUCIFER cast and crew have definitely seen Alejandro again, since he directed the Season 6 premiere and the series’ penultimate episode. He previously directed the LUCIFER Season 3 episode “Once Upon a Time,” which had all of the main cast playing alternate-reality versions of their characters, and the Season 5 midseason finale, “Spoiler Alert,” which introduced Haysbert as God.
Alejandro, originally from San Antonio, Texas, previously played police detectives on the ultra-realistic police drama SOUTHLAND and on GOLDEN BOY. On the genre side, Alejandro has portrayed a brujo (warlock) on TRUE BLOOD, a man coping with resurrection on THE RETURNED and Sebastian Blood in an arc on ARROW. He has also directed a number of award-winning short films.
In an exclusive phone interview, Alejandro discusses playing Dan and directing on LUCIFER, as well as a few other past projects.
ASSIGNMENT X: You had to shoot some LUCIFER Season 5 and all of Season 6 with COVID protocols. How was that?
KEVIN ALEJANDRO: It was tough. In the beginning, we were all just figuring it out, but I want to say, I think we had one of the strongest COVID teams on any show. They were so strict with us, with goggles and masks and gloves, and all the necessary distance laws and rules, and we had people on set making sure that we were all following those restrictions. It was exhausting, just like any new learning experience is, but once we got the hang of it, we started to feel our rhythm again. So, by the end of Season 6, we had a nice flow. We all understood exactly how everything worked, and we just ran. Even though we had all these restrictions, it felt like there were no more, because it became a routine.
AX: For the audience, there was a break in airing Season 5, with the first eight in 2020, and the second eight in May 2021. Was there a break in shooting Season 5, or did you shoot all sixteen straight through?
ALEJANDRO: We shot all sixteen straight through, and then we got shut down right before we finished the finale [of Season 5]. So, when we came back for Season 6, we had to actually start with the finale of Season 5, so that we would have something to air.
AX: So, in terms of shooting, you actually shot the Season 5 finale as part of shooting Season 6?
ALEJANDRO: Yeah. We started shooting the finale, so there was maybe almost half, maybe a little bit more to be shot after we came back from the hiatus, if you will.
AX: Now, because Dan is not actually in the Season 5 finale, did that give you more time to prep as a director for the Season 6 premiere?
ALEJANDRO: Absolutely, it did. And I think they gave us an extra day already on the schedule, or extra two days maybe, I can’t remember exactly, just because they knew it was going to be a slower process [because of the COVID protocols]. It’s always really cool, I think, to get the premiere of anything, because you always get just a little bit more time than the others [who are directing subsequent episodes]. Which was necessary, because like I said, I almost was a guinea pig, in a sense, of trying to figure out what worked and what doesn’t work, as far as all the [COVID] restrictions go. The scripts were a little different, [because] we had to follow the protocols with how many actors we could actually have on set, which group of actors could be around the other group of actors. So, it was a real separate puzzle format, but yeah, all that extra time that I got, every second was used. And I think we did our absolute best with something that we were super-proud of at the end.
AX: The first LUCIFER episode you directed, back in Season 3, was set in a “what if” alternate universe. But then the one you directed for Season 5, “Spoiler Alert,” which ends with God coming to Earth, and the Season 6 premiere, are regular-flavor LUCIFER. So, was there any difference for you in going from, “Okay, it doesn’t have to match exactly,” to “Okay, it does have to match exactly”?
ALEJANDRO: Yeah. It was a challenge, because the first one I got to do, I got to sort of make up my own rules. [Show runners] Joe and Ildy kept calling it “the re-pilot,” because we got to change some things. But luckily, we’ve all been together for so long that I know the heart and the pulse of our show. So, it was really nice to be able to be right in the middle of the story that people are following, and try to do that justice. So, for Season 6, I got to direct the premiere, but I also got to direct the penultimate [episode] – we have a two-part finale, so I got the first half of it, which was a great, great honor.
AX: When we last spoke, before Season 5 premiered, Dan did not know Lucifer was Lucifer. And you said you wanted Dan to find out, so that the knowledge could cause Dan to unravel. Which he did. Did you go, “Well, how much further can Dan unravel when he meets God, and realizes that he, Dan, slept with God’s wife, and that all-knowing God knows this?”
ALEJANDRO: Absolutely. That’s one of the things about our show, right? Because how far we can go, and still make it within our universe? And I said this last time, and I say it in a lot of my interviews, that I love playing Dan because he’s so human, and one of the most flawed characters, and it was a real exciting journey to see just how far unraveled Dan could be. And I think I nailed it [laughs].
AX: How was working with Dennis Haysbert, who plays God? You got to act opposite him and direct him.
ALEJANDRO: Oh, awesome. At first, he’s intimidating. He’s a big guy with a booming voice, and he’s Dennis Haysbert [laughs]. But one of the nicest, kindest, ready to work human beings. He brought a different – he had the same sort of energy. He just sort of fit into the pocket perfectly.
AX: LUCIFER Season 5, Episode 10, “Bloody Celestial Karaoke Jam,” is a big musical episode. Dan has a solo number – with back-up singers and dancers – which is a cover of the Squirrel Nut Zippers’ “Afterlife,” aka “Hell.” Had you heard of the Squirrel Nut Zippers before this?
ALEJANDRO: Absolutely I have. I’m from Texas, and I lived in Austin, which was at the time the live music capital of the world – I’m not sure what it is now – but I actually knew the Squirrel Nut Zippers. So, I was very familiar with who they were. That was sort of our genre of music back in my old, old, old college days.
AX: Did the LUCIFER producers confer with you about what you’d like to sing, or what you felt you could sing, or did they just say, “Well, here you go”?
ALEJANDRO: They reached out to [everyone in the LUCIFER regular cast], and specifically asked us specifically who was comfortable doing it, and “What style of music do you enjoy singing?” It’s funny, because my answer was actually, “I like old-school country, like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, the Highwaymen, that sort of genre.” And I think this genre, with the Squirrel Nut Zippers, is one of Ildy’s favorites. And it just seems like a correct fit.
AX: You have a little more of Latin accent when you sing “Afterlife” than you do in the other number, or than you do in your speaking voice. Is that because that’s how the Squirrel Nut Zippers sing it?
ALEJANDRO: Yeah. I wanted to pay homage to their style of singing as well, so I tried to mix a little bit of me with a little bit of them, and that’s sort of what came out. That’s the world that I lived in.
AX: As Dan, you also participate in a group sing-and-dance cover of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.” Besides you, Tom Ellis, and Lauren German, there’s also series regular Aimee Garcia, who plays crime scene analyst Ella Lopez, plus a team of football players, cheerleaders and a marching band out on a football field. That looked like it was an epic number to shoot. Was it?
ALEJANDRO: It was so much fun. We had the best dance team and choreographers to come out, and really put together something special. It was a challenge, though, because we were all working on other episodes as well, as well as shooting that episode, so all those pockets of dance happen in between – like right after lunch, we have an hour. “Go, go, go!” But I think we all pulled it together pretty well. And it was indeed epic, and just so much fun to watch all of us be able to let loose. I did theater growing up, all through high school, to college, but I hadn’t been able to do it in a while, so I was super-excited to get the opportunity to do this, because it reminded me of musical theater, in a way, and I got to flex those muscles again that I hadn’t done in years and years.
AX: Yeah, you and Aimee Garcia and Tom Ellis all sing and dance like you have musical theater backgrounds …
ALEJANDRO: [laughs] Well, thank you. Yeah, I’m trained in the theater. A lot of us on the show are. That’s one of the bonds that we had, and there’s a genuine respect and love for that realm of what we do. It was so much fun. And Joe and Ildy, from the very beginning, were like, once they knew that Tom could perform and sing, and Lesley-Anne [Brandt, who plays the demon Mazikeen] could, they just had the dream of doing a musical episode, and lo and behold, there it was.
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: LUCIFER: Exclusive interview with Kevin Alejandro on Season 5B and more – Part 1