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.”]


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.


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.”


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.”


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.


“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

toy story game show TLC streaming Lucasfilm remakes DC Comics slashers 1990s Captain marvel Interview YouTube archives psycho blockbuster The Arrangement 2016 space Mudbound TV One twilight Rom-Com free movies New York Comic Con book adaptation WGN Paramount PBS cars El Rey streamig NBA mutant trophy Amazon deadpool SXSW 2022 dogs know your critic Marvel Studios james bond cancelled 73rd Emmy Awards Marvel Television werewolf based on movie Election Pirates mcc anthology Walt Disney Pictures critic resources Sundance Now President A&E festivals worst Year in Review stop motion Marathons YouTube Premium Paramount Plus franchise biography Syfy singing competition Best and Worst CMT Discovery Channel Film Mystery 24 frames Watching Series basketball RT21 french live event crime thriller adenture richard e. Grant Tumblr sequel VH1 ABC Family Acorn TV Amazon Prime Black Mirror Martial Arts spinoff X-Men Mary Poppins Returns DirecTV Comics on TV 99% comedies Trailer stand-up comedy diversity LGBTQ spanish 93rd Oscars Heroines royal family best Peacock legend Fargo blockbusters GLAAD serial killer kong Freeform The Witch summer preview BAFTA summer TV preview Musicals Travel Channel TV Land festival harry potter Musical Sneak Peek zombies transformers directors National Geographic Mary poppins Chilling Adventures of Sabrina OneApp razzies Paramount Pictures MTV golden globes HFPA gangster TV comic books telelvision Shondaland PlayStation Photos concert batman Disney streaming service 2019 Hallmark Summer Indigenous period drama spain black foreign 007 First Look USA E3 Columbia Pictures Polls and Games CBS All Access FX award winner ratings hidden camera teaser medical drama American Society of Cinematographers heist movie Biopics Writers Guild of America nfl BBC One A24 Esquire casting video on demand Oscars Disney Channel Calendar Tokyo Olympics Superheroes aliens Emmy Nominations Pacific Islander Apple TV Plus Adult Swim psychological thriller live action cults Amazon Prime Video hist cops screen actors guild Tomatazos YA Disney Plus Arrowverse hispanic docuseries TIFF Christmas rotten stoner dexter Horror boxoffice Ghostbusters First Reviews rt labs interviews Alien Cannes IMDb TV lord of the rings South by Southwest Film Festival screenings DC streaming service Schedule Rocky high school Creative Arts Emmys VICE Kids & Family obituary Teen Sci-Fi target scene in color 2021 critics Paramount Network Winter TV zero dark thirty Red Carpet fresh SDCC Lifetime Holiday dreamworks scary movies TruTV feel good 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards 94th Oscars mockumentary fast and furious pirates of the caribbean films Image Comics Sundance TV Trivia Women's History Month Black History Month IFC Films Winners Star Wars Celebration Endgame summer TV children's TV art house game of thrones movie Spike football boxing halloween breaking bad kids Superheroe ViacomCBS TV movies History finale Nickelodeon Turner Classic Movies Crackle Wes Anderson Binge Guide 2020 independent 2015 Geeked Week Prime Video Lionsgate AMC Drama spider-verse kaiju sag awards crossover HBO 2018 Dark Horse Comics Rocketman 4/20 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Spectrum Originals true crime Funimation hollywood TCM Video Games king arthur monster movies Sony Pictures canceled Emmys TV renewals name the review VOD Fox News Exclusive Video Amazon Studios Fox Searchlight DGA toronto cartoon witnail Sony Star Wars Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Sundance new star wars movies green book BBC Epix classics Starz leaderboard discovery The Walking Dead Comedy Film Festival Logo all-time FX on Hulu BET Extras RT History target NYCC golden globe awards 79th Golden Globes Awards Instagram Live a nightmare on elm street CNN spider-man talk show blaxploitation Holidays strong female leads technology Masterpiece broadcast Legendary series news Shudder Stephen King science fiction CBS marvel cinematic universe adaptation Anna Paquin Comic-Con@Home 2021 halloween tv Apple scorecard Disney NBC 71st Emmy Awards rom-coms Toys superman rt labs critics edition doctor who 90s Country IFC TCA Action The Walt Disney Company jamie lee curtis Podcast MCU video robots See It Skip It suspense Best Actress facebook ABC Signature justice league Best Director APB romance TCA Awards Disney+ Disney Plus criterion streaming movies ABC USA Network Countdown Premiere Dates asian-american scene in color film series OWN australia Oscar Best Actor Netflix Christmas movies Hulu Mary Tyler Moore Television Critics Association Classic Film anime what to watch GIFs Mindy Kaling die hard travel comic Warner Bros. Cartoon Network ESPN Native thriller new york BET Awards Song of Ice and Fire child's play tv talk 21st Century Fox zombie indiana jones Opinion Turner sitcom sequels TBS genre italian San Diego Comic-Con Lifetime Christmas movies AMC Plus japan TCA 2017 Bravo Character Guide saw book Neflix Box Office international CW Seed comiccon Pop TV Star Trek nbcuniversal young adult latino Trophy Talk Thanksgiving natural history BBC America Comedy Central Super Bowl dark Broadway venice social media trailers HBO Max Vudu quibi Rock war sopranos HBO Go ID Fantasy universal monsters christmas movies Avengers canceled TV shows Fall TV cooking 20th Century Fox nature satire The Purge laika docudrama SundanceTV sports slasher elevated horror Food Network Baby Yoda Hallmark Christmas movies composers 2017 Pop romantic comedy Valentine's Day documentary Tarantino police drama historical drama Marvel binge The Academy Focus Features olympics Hear Us Out Television Academy Set visit hispanic heritage month Universal Pictures GoT The CW Pet Sematary Brie Larson black comedy Spring TV spanish language scary superhero Ovation debate miniseries SXSW YouTube Red prank scene in color action-comedy animated wonder woman FOX MSNBC worst movies parents Cosplay versus Elton John LGBT Universal E! joker Reality Competition MGM vs. crime Reality south america mob japanese cinemax WarnerMedia Showtime DC Universe reviews theme song Grammys crime drama Nat Geo disaster emmy awards reboot unscripted women rt archives comics ITV Britbox spy thriller Tags: Comedy biopic TNT Best Picture new zealand dramedy cats 45 Awards Tour Music marvel comics rotten movies we love Academy Awards Family jurassic park 72 Emmy Awards ghosts dragons politics godzilla Netflix popular vampires supernatural Quiz Nominations mission: impossible Tubi Apple TV+ Ellie Kemper PaleyFest movies aapi Pixar documentaries Western Chernobyl Pride Month indie chucky cancelled TV series revenge king kong obi wan adventure Crunchyroll Infographic cancelled TV shows Comic Book Certified Fresh dc political drama scene in color series cancelled television Awards comic book movie FXX TCA Winter 2020 dceu posters television comic book movies renewed TV shows Animation