Josh Segarra on Saying Goodbye to 'Arrow' & Working With RuPaul on 'AJ and the Queen'
Josh Segarra has become a familiar face on some of your favorite shows in recent years. Among the ones the 33-year-old is most excited about is playing RuPaul’s boyfriend and shady business partner in the upcoming Netflix series AJ and the Queen.
We caught up with the busy actor before the holidays to talk about it all.
In AJ and the Queen, you play the catalyst that sets the story in motion. What was it like working with RuPaul on a project that seems very near and dear as his first scripted series?
Josh Segarra: It was an honor to work on this. Working with [co-creators and EPs] Michael Patrick King and Ru was amazing. Throughout the process I learned how much love they had for this project, how much they wanted it to succeed. In the beginning, I just wanted to do a good job to the best of my abilities, but once I got to work with Ru, I saw how much he cared about this and how much he had invested in this. Once I got to know Michael Patrick King, I saw how much he cared about us as a cast and telling this story. [I saw] how much love I have for Izzy G., our little homie that plays AJ. I’m excited for the world to see it and for everyone to join us on this ride.
What can we expect from Hector as the story unfolds?
You meet Hector, who is going to open a club with Ru. However, you quickly find out all of Ru’s money is stolen — $100,000 that you find out I stole. Then hilarity ensues. Now Ruby Red is traveling club to club to earn money to open a new club. I’m chasing, so you’re wondering what’s going on, why is this chase happening, why is he running from the cops. All that starts going on. Hector is a nutty cat. You think he is pretty level-headed until you start to realize there are a little more neuroses there. It was a fun character to play.
Speaking of fun characters to play, a lot of people were surprised to see you return to Arrow as this final season opened up. What was it like to step in the shoes of Adrian Chase one more time, only this time as Earth-2’s Hood?
It was awesome. I got to do the salmon ladder. I loved preparing for that. I hit up some parkour gyms in Atlanta where I was working on a movie that is coming out next Christmas on Netflix with Dolly Parton called Christmas on the Square. When I got the call about Arrow, I started working on the salmon ladder and knocked that out with some respect on my name. I didn’t want them to do that edit. I wanted that s---. I did it, and it was awesome. When they first told me about using me in the premiere, I thought, “Cool, let’s rock.”
They called me two weeks before and said, “You’re going to be the Hood.” I thought, “Let’s go. It’s game time.” The Arrow character is one of the best onscreen adaptations. Of course, our boy [Stephen] Amell has really brought it to life. He is the Green Arrow. So, to know they were going to have me play the Arrow in a different universe, I wanted to respect Steve. I wanted to respect the Hood, literally and figuratively. I didn't want to drop the ball. I wanted to start the season off with a bang.
In the past you talked about how much you bonded with Stephen. What will you remember from your time on the show? Is there a favorite scene that you will take with you? You really got to flesh out the Adrian Chase character from beginning to end.
What I learned as an actor is probably what I will remember the most. I learned so much from Steve, Paul Blackthorne, David Ramsey. I got to watch a show that was five seasons in has to find their legs again, which you have to do every season with a whole new set of characters. The season I joined is the same season Rick Gonzalez joined, Juliana Harkavy, we had all this new energy there. Then we were going to create this whole new ship with the same lumber and a new design. The hand Stephen extended me. How kind he was to me and my family. He did us favors and bent over backwards for me. I will forever remember that and the bond we created will last forever.
I got to craft this character through 22 episodes... It was crazy to be able to build a character, introduce him and chronologically speaking, we will be getting nuttier as we go because at some point we had to reveal this dude is the villain. That was a cool experience to have. I felt like I was in a way back machine at acting school and taking on a new challenge. I will forever remember the cast. That whole experience in Vancouver. We had our little man Gus out there with us. That was just a really good time in our lives.
Have we seen the last of you on Arrow?
I think that’s going to be it for the life of Adrian Chase. I think that’s the end of that story.
We talk about killed off characters. A lot of people remember you in Chicago P.D. You had quite the arc there. What did you enjoy most about that character, and what about Justin Voight stands out?
What that was is I was out in Chicago working on P.D. and Sirens at the same time. P.D. happened because I had tested for the pilot the year before, didn’t get it, went and shot the characters. What I learned was no experience is wasted. A year earlier I was in Los Angeles testing for an NBC show I didn’t get. Then I tested for a Chicago show, which I didn’t get. I remember calling my manager in L.A. just so upset and having gone through that wave everyone in show business goes through when they get a couple of no’s in a row.
A year later that test I didn’t get leads to a role on Chicago P.D. and that relationship with NBC has only flourished since then. It’s funny because when you think one door closes another opens. Sirens I got because a year earlier I shot a pilot called Bronx Warrants that I shot for FX that didn’t get picked up. That production company made Sirens.
That’s quite a journey that led up today. Recently you were on The Moodys. Is Marco a role you want to come back to for a potential second season? If so, what would you want to explore with your character or character interactions you want to have?
Absolutely. Sirens was written by a guy named Bob Fisher. Denis Leary was a showrunner for that. Fast forward to today, and I’ve worked with Bob three times because he directed Overboard with his partner Rob Greenberg. Here we are on The Moodys working with Rob and Bob with Denis acting on it. It has been a fun ride. The thing I hold dearest is we finish one job and hug each other and say, “I’ll see you in a few.” We can’t wait to see what we got next. With Moodys, I can’t wait to come back to Marco. Maybe there is a wedding on the horizon or Thanksgiving Moodys, Easter Moodys. I would love it.
When it comes to The Other Two, are you going to be coming back Lance?
Lance, I think, has a few more shoe designs in the pipeline. I’m just excited to see what happens with him and Brookie monster. Maybe him and cook Brooke can figure out their differences. Maybe he is doing well on his own? Maybe he flourishes on his own? We’re going to see. I love working on The Other Two.
You have such a variety of roles going for you right now. Worlds collided recently with when you guest starred on Greg Berlanti’s God Friended Me working alongside fellow Arrowverse alum Violett Beane. It’s the closest we’ll get to Prometheus and Jesse Quick interacting.
It’s a really great set. For Greg to keep showing love. I really appreciated all he has done for me. You can always tell his energy on every set he has. It’s always focused work. That one felt good for my mom and pop, who love the show. My mother-in-law and father-in-law love that show. I geeked out going over there.
How are you enjoying the holidays? Going to catch any wrestling shows?
My biggest plan is to figure out what live event I’m going to get to next. We have a baby arriving some time soon. We’re hunkered down right now. Within the next month baby will be here. We’ll see where we end up. I think the New York swing for WWE is happening soon. I’m going to get to something, maybe at The Garden. Are you watching AEW? I’m loving what they are doing. I know that it’s new faces, new characters, but the feel of it all. I’m digging it.
AJ and the Queen, Series Premiere, Friday, January 10, Netflix