5 Things to Know About Jack Kesy’s New Role in Season Two of The Strain

by | August 17, 2015 | Comments

As Gabriel Bolivar on FX’s The Strain, Jack Kesy has gone from playing a beloved shock rocker and would-be “survivor” of the doomed flight that started it all, to a bloodsucking vampire henchman for the villainous Master. (Let’s see Ozzy Osbourne try to top that.) And now, in Sunday night’s latest episode, Bolivar undergoes another major transformation that should shift the balance of power in the vampire plague-ravaged New York yet again.

Back during our set visit in Toronto earlier this year, Rotten Tomatoes was part of a roundtable discussion with Kesy about his recently expanded role in The Strain’s second season. Here’s what the actor had to say about Bolivar’s surprising metamorphosis into the show’s new big bad – and what’s coming next. [Warning: Contains spoilers from last night’s episode, “Identity.”]


BOLIVAR’S BEEN A LOYAL SOLDIER

From The Strain’s first season into the first five episodes of season two, we’ve seen Bolivar go from a self-obsessed rock star to one of The Master’most trusted lieutenants, the vampire put in charge of Eldritch Palmer’s personal security detail.

Much like Natalie Brown’s Kelly, Bolivar has clearly been an important part of The Master’s, well, master plan. “He’s been eyed by The Master as someone special, with qualities that are important,” said Kesy. “He’s been under his wing, watched after.”

“He’s been a loyal henchman,” he continued. “He’s strong. He’s kind of embraced this outbreak as a survivor. He definitely caught The Master’s attention in that sense.” And that loyalty has paid off in the form of a major promotion: as we saw on Sunday night, Bolivar’s tapped to become The Master’s new-and-improved vessel, after the ancient vampire’s previous body was severally damaged by Setrakian (David Bradley) and his gang during last season’s finale.


EICHORST WAS THE RUNNER-UP, BUT ISN’T A SORE LOSER

In doing so though, The Master passed up someone else in his organization that’s potentially more qualified than Bolivar, and certainly more willing: Richard Sammel’s Eichorst, who had previously been promised the position. And it’s a tough pill for The Master’s right-hand man to swallow — at least initially, said Kesy.

“There’s a disappointment, naturally, because he was so eager and earnest, and he had this whole plan in his head because he worked alongside The Master for so many years. It just seemed like a natural fit,” Kesy explained. “As opposed to this rock/pop star who comes out of left field and usurps this position. But I think he comes to terms with it.”

Because as we’ve seen so far, Eichorst is nothing if not a team player. “There’s a grand master plan to it which is not about him, but about the big picture. He’s intelligent enough to know it. He’s been around for thousands of years,” said Kesy. “He’s got to have some kind of brains.”


KESY WASN’T EXPECTING THIS EITHER

When Kesy first signed onto the series, he says The Strain showrunner Carlton Cuse and co-creator Guillermo Del Toro didn’t let him in on what exactly was going to happen to his character in the show’s second season. “When we spoke about it, it was just kind of an arc of Bolivar, beginning to end — vague. Not super vague, but not super specific,” he said.

And even though he’d read the first book in Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s literary trilogy, the fact the show has departed somewhat from the source material made him unsure what to expect going forward. “As the scripts were being delivered, I noticed they were not exactly tailored to the books,” he explained. “So, no, I wasn’t sure where we were going to go with it. I’m fine with that. I like surprises.”

“Just seeing what they’ve thrown my way and rolling with the punches is exciting,” Kesy said. And whereas on any normal show, you’re typically only playing one role, The Strain offers a whole lot more potential variety. “Here it’s going from one body to another body,” he said. “It’s exciting coming to work.”


BOLIVAR BRINGS SOME ROCK ‘N ROLL TO THE MASTER

While Kesy wouldn’t say if his version of The Master will ditch his previous attire of heavy, hooded robes for Bolivar’s leather jacket and signature black wig, he would say that some of the rocker’s swagger does rub off on the ancient vampire.

“He’s been in that body for a long time. He’s been burned, he’s been around, he’s been weathered. He’s in a fresh body, and things are fresh,” he explained. “From biological makeup to the bone structure to the skin.”

“He is in the vessel of a rock star, so there’s a physicality to it,” Kesy continued. “I think people will miss a little bit of Bolivar. But hey man, a snake’s gotta shed his skin and move on.” Still, the old Bolivar that fans grew to love won’t be gone completely. “He’s ready to rock and roll again. In a different way,” he promised.


EXPECT THIS NEW MASTER TO GET HIS HANDS DIRTY

“The other Master suffered from gigantism, so he was limited to some extent,” said Kesy. But taking over Bolivar’s body gives The Master a new lease on life. “He’s in a healthy, athletic body,” he explained. “He certainly is a lot more mobile, and he can do things more hands-on, instead of letting the minions have some action. He can put up his dukes a little bit.”

That makes for a bolder, stronger — and more dangerous — Master. “He comes out of the shadows a bit more, he’s not so hidden. He feels he can come out; he has a fresh new body. He shows his face a little more. He makes some dangerous moves here and there,” promised Kesy. Setrakian and the others had better watch out.

Tag Cloud

Set visit Box Office Horror Stephen King Paramount Ellie Kemper DC streaming service travel Starz WGN serial killer Captain marvel spy thriller thriller teaser Superheroe Red Carpet See It Skip It New York Comic Con docudrama Watching Series MCU blaxploitation Awards Amazon Prime TLC E! Esquire Disney war CW Seed Disney Channel comiccon Brie Larson Mary Poppins Returns psychological thriller Hulu cats based on movie Biopics Election Star Wars ITV Crackle SDCC LGBTQ medical drama Animation Fox News facebook Apple 24 frames richard e. Grant Rocky The Arrangement Food Network Adult Swim Premiere Dates Valentine's Day social media Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt GLAAD unscripted mutant RT21 cops Ghostbusters psycho Winter TV cooking GIFs Martial Arts Lifetime RT History Spectrum Originals Shondaland Country A&E Shudder Mary poppins 2015 Anna Paquin Masterpiece Reality Summer Columbia Pictures FX TCA what to watch Marvel Pirates Nat Geo Mindy Kaling television zero dark thirty Holidays History Sundance Now VICE Dark Horse Comics Writers Guild of America ABC Family police drama Comedy Central Calendar CBS dceu Universal Trivia Super Bowl NYCC comic diversity crime thriller Awards Tour USA Network Reality Competition doctor who Fantasy The CW dragons elevated horror award winner Pixar talk show Nominations Character Guide biography Showtime Lucasfilm CNN E3 President BET spider-man Song of Ice and Fire El Rey Toys Sundance NBC supernatural SXSW green book Women's History Month MSNBC Western transformers Photos Warner Bros. 007 Sneak Peek Infographic crossover Spring TV HBO ratings harry potter Quiz festivals Mary Tyler Moore Freeform Superheroes binge robots Teen First Look Britbox Tomatazos DC Comics 2019 theme song jamie lee curtis Acorn TV Rock finale YouTube Premium BBC streaming Cartoon Network Trophy Talk Countdown DirecTV American Society of Cinematographers Amazon miniseries Action Opinion Drama DC Universe TV Land Creative Arts Emmys adventure Syfy OWN Pet Sematary Comics on TV Bravo adaptation Comic Book sitcom Rom-Com GoT Walt Disney Pictures IFC science fiction Interview Schedule 2016 ESPN Chilling Adventures of Sabrina discovery Pop aliens boxoffice Video Games Sony Pictures Oscars romance CMT Mystery TCA 2017 TV natural history Spike YA Year in Review Black Mirror Lionsgate PBS TIFF FOX Marathons period drama sports technology anime zombie Cosplay Ovation Nickelodeon PaleyFest Christmas AMC Music mockumentary singing competition TCM justice league true crime dc golden globes composers X-Men TruTV witnail Sci-Fi Tumblr 20th Century Fox anthology IFC Films MTV politics VH1 Star Trek Mudbound SundanceTV Emmys Kids & Family San Diego Comic-Con CBS All Access vampires dramedy ABC zombies YouTube Red 2017 2018 historical drama Netflix Trailer Comedy hist crime drama TBS Polls and Games Certified Fresh Logo Grammys Musical Extras DGA sequel Musicals Thanksgiving FXX 21st Century Fox Epix Best and Worst cinemax Paramount Network Fall TV Winners cults nature APB BBC America USA National Geographic casting TNT political drama 45 crime Podcast