Smoldering actor Josh Kelly returns to season 2 of Lifetime’s award-winning sensational scripted drama series “UnReal”, as ‘Jeremy Caner’ opposite Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer in this provocative titillating drama which gives a fictitious behind-the-scenes glimpse into the chaos surrounding the production of a dating competition program.
We took some time out with Josh to talk about the series and his career which has seen him serving some time in the US Army.
UnReal see’s you in your breakout role as Jeremy Caner why did you want to be involved in the series?
Shortly before auditioning for the role of Jeremy, I had become friends with a reality TV star while working on OLTL. At the time, I was also taking an online college psychology class. When I found out some of the stuff that they put people through on those shows, I decided to change my thesis paper to how reality TV would be illegal were it done under the guise of a psych experiment, but if you throw some cameras on people and show the world, you can do anything to them. When the opportunity for the show came along a few months later, it felt like kismet. I didn’t get a good grade on the paper, but I got the role.
Season 2 of UnReal premiered at the beginning of June on Amazon Prime in the UK and you return as Jeremy but you’re like a completely different person. As an actor, how do you go from Mr. Nice Guy to someone full of vengeance?
I think its fun to explore the different ways you can feel, that’s one of the benefits of acting, you get to be different people and see how you handle things in a multitude of situations. Everyone has a vengeful side to them, and on stage and screen, you actually get to act out on those impulses without being a “dick” in real life, it’s fun, and scary sometimes.
The new season comes with an important political and social conscious with the introduction of an African-American Character and also Mental Health Issues. How strongly do you feel you have a responsibility as an actor to support these issues?
When you are put in any sort of public position, it is your responsibility to understand that people “hear” you. I think a lot of actors get pretty heavy handed with this understanding and as a result, they lose the power of their messages by inundating people or they tune them out. I try to be somewhat selective about the messages I “support”, with these two issues, I am extremely proud to be on a show that is drawing awareness to them.
Unreal pokes a finger at Reality TV but how do you feel about it?
I find it very entertaining. I don’t like being lied to, or others being lied to, so If people know what they are getting into, “entertainment” then I think reality TV is awesome! If a show is lying to its audience and trying to trick them into believing that everything is ‘REAL’ then it doesn’t sit well with me.
Let’s discuss that poster where you and your co-stars appear nude with just a tablet covering your naughty bits. How comfortable were you posing for that photo?
Haha, the infamous billboard… I wasn’t supposed to be on that poster, I was brought in to work on our day off, Veterans day (one of the few holidays I care about) “in case” they were going to use me. I used my frustration to show how “Jeremy” might feel ‘being exposed’. It was pretty cool though, and funny, it was on Sunset Boulevard a few hundred meters away from my first ‘couch surfing’ apartment, my first billboard.
Ryan Gosling has come out in favour for the role reversal where it’s now women’s turn to objectify men. As you’re a bit of a heartthrob what are your views on the subject?
I love it! I’ve always said that women run this place; they can make men do anything. It’s about time we were honest about it on television.
We’ve also seen you in films such as Zero Dark Thirty and Transformers Revenge of the fallen and Dark of the Moon – What else can we expect to see you in, in the future?
Who knows?!?! It can be tricky planning other work when you are both on a series and love adventuring during off time. I would love to do another action movie.
You were an Army Ranger who took part in four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan – How did you make the transition from the Army into the showbiz fuelled world of acting?
I had always planned on becoming an actor, ever since I was 3yrs old and did a play called ‘Froggy Gone a Court’in’ at the little red school house in preschool,… I was Froggy. I did theater growing up, but my parents said I couldn’t attempt it professionally until after high school. I joined the military, partially because I needed some discipline and structure, and partially because I loved action movies and wanted to see if I could actually do it. Through going to war, I really learned the value of entertainment and how important movies and TV shows are to the men and women in this world who REALLY need to escape and unwind. It’s nice to believe in what you do.
Because of your military background, you’re an advocate for the charity Wounded Warrior Project, can you tell us a bit more about this?
It is a really good organization that I have always tried to promote and support. It grew very quickly and as a result, ran into some problems, but I sat down with one of the board members not too long ago, and they are working on making sure that they will continue to help wounded veterans and their families. I also try to help another veteran organization as much as possible called, Gallant Few, they help with re-assimilating veterans into the civilian world, and in dealing with some of the mental obstacles that we deal with.