Jesse Posey on Bringing 'Selena: The Series' Version of Chris Pérez to Life
Selena: The Series continues to light up Netflix with Part 1 of Selena Quintanilla's story. Along with focusing on her rise to fame and her family's bond through music, the show also introduces the singer's relationship with guitarist Chris Pérez.
Throughout the season, their early introduction and eventual bandmate status make way for a sweet romance that is abruptly shut down by Selena's (Christian Serratos) father, Abraham (Ricardo Chavira). Played with shy honesty by Jesse Posey, Chris was kicked off the family tour bus in Part 1's final moment, leaving fans with a cliffhanger that's sure to have them counting down the days until Part 2 arrives. Until then, Posey opens up about his role, how he got into character, and the challenges of learning guitar among other things.
What made you get involved with this project?
Jesse Posey: The Selena story was not near and dear to my heart in the beginning, but once I got the role, I started doing a lot of research. I just tried to get a good feeling of what everyone else felt towards her, and that really drew me in. It felt special. I'm really into music and the feeling like you're connected to a certain band or artist. This is like the most I've ever seen fans connect with their favorite artist, and it's just really touching. So that really meant a lot to me.
Speaking of fans, have you had any fun interactions or exchanges with viewers?
Yeah. It's all been good. I'm hearing from friends that I didn't even know would watch the show or be interested in it. A lot of them are reaching out and saying good things, which is really cool. A lot of Selena fans have reached out and said I did a good job and that'd we all really did her story justice. That always means so much coming from a real Selena fan, someone who's been connected to that story for so long, for them to take time out to recognize what we've done on our show.
How did you prepare for your role? Were you able to speak with Selena's husband Chris Pérez or did you prepare by watching videos?
I did not get a chance to speak with him, but I knew that there were a lot of materials on YouTube. I did watch the movie a little bit just to see what was going on and see what the feeling was. I didn't pull from that because we're telling a story through a different set of eyes, so I wanted to see what our people wanted and how we are going to do it.
There's a ton of stuff on YouTube to look at. There's an interview that I love watching with him, which was pretty close after Selena's death. You can really tell how much he cared for her, how impactful she was with him, and how impactful her death was. It was just so raw, so emotional. I read his book To Selena, With Love, which is really, really insightful. And then I talked a lot with the directors and asked what they wanted. The two things I know that he really cared about in that timeframe was how much he loved that girl and how much he loved his music. It was not easy, but I'm glad I had those two references to always fall back on.
Part 1 ended with a cliffhanger as your character was kicked off the tour bus. Is there anything you can tease regarding Part 2?
All I can say is that going back to the two things that he loved — Selena and music — and him in that moment losing Selena and music — he's not going to let go of that that easily. So he's going to do everything he can to get those two things back.
Chris is into rock and punk music but plays in a Tejano band. Would you say your musical tastes align with your character or do you prefer Tejano music?
I'm really into like the punk rock scene where it started out in like the early '90s with Blink-182 and Green Day and all of them, and now it's evolved into this huge world of punk with all these new bands. When I got this role, it was cool. Chris, he loves his heavy rock and that's kind of who I am. So that worked well for me. But yeah, my music taste aligns more with his and not so much the Tejano music, although I am a huge fan of Tejano music now after being immersed in it for so long.
Because Selena and Chris' relationship is such a big part of the story, what did you do to foster that bond with your costar Christian Serratos?
Well, we didn't force it. We were super lucky that we had a good friendship. I hadn't really thought about this until the end of filming, but there's always a chance that you and your love interest or best friend on camera may not be [offscreen]. We were lucky enough to have a good relationship with each other.
It started with the acting and our first few scenes on set. We bounce ideas off each other that we both really always liked. Sometimes we disagreed and then would take it to the director and see what they thought. But we always worked well together. Towards the end of shooting the second part, we were in quarantine, so we weren't allowed to go out and do anything, so we were all huddled together. And so all we had was each other, and we became really close then. Me and Christian and a few other members of the cast, we would hang out all the time.
Chris is a guitarist — did you have to learn for your role or were you already musically inclined?
Yeah, I have two older brothers [including fellow actor Tyler Posey] who are like crazy on guitar. They always have been, and so I've been around them my whole life. I think I never got into it because I was so intimidated by them. As long as I can remember, they've always just shredded on everything and I just thought, "Okay, I'm never going to be that good. Why even try to pick it up?"
I am lucky that I have both of them, because after my second audition for the show, they said I was great. They loved me, but they wanted to see if I could play guitar, and I told them I could when I really couldn't. So I ran up the street to my brother's house and said, "Dude, you got to work with me for the next three days on something that I can send them." And so we worked on a Green Day song.
But after that, they set me up with a guitar teacher in LA, and there was one in Mexico when we were filming that I worked with for hours, and it was a lot of fun. I have a much better understanding of music now. I can hear different things in the music when I listen to it. It's really cool. I was really glad I got to have that experience.
That's awesome. Now you have a party trick up your sleeve if there's ever a guitar laying around.
Yeah, that's the really cool thing about acting. I hope my next role is a skateboarding movie [Laughs].
What's been so rewarding about being part of a show like Selena: The Series?
Every single day I saw how hard every person on set was working, not just actors. And just to see all the recognition that this show is getting is really special, because the actors kind of get all the recognition. We're kind of the main focus, and a lot of people forget how hard everyone else is working on set. I believe that a lot of us may not have worked as hard as we did if it weren't for everyone else putting in the hard work. They inspired me.
It's just great to see everyone getting the love that the show is getting, because a lot of times, they don't get the recognition that they deserve. I think they're getting it, and they're really feeling the love, just like we are. For me, that's one of the most rewarding parts.
Selena: The Series, Part 1, Streaming now, Netflix