[Editor’s note: The following interview contains spoilers for “The Other Two,” Episode 8.]
Josh Segarra has been that guy for too long. Now, it’s time to get to know the actor who truly is everywhere.
So far this year, the breakout star of “The Other Two” has appeared in “Scream VI” playing “hot neighbor guy” love interest turned key survivor, entered the MCU with Disney+ series “She-Hulk,” as well as led TV series “The Big Door Prize.” To track Segarra’s screen roots back further, he can even be spotted in Amy Schumer’s “Trainwreck” as the (very memorable) Staten Island hook-up.
Segarra isn’t just that guy anymore: He’s almost synonmous with his iconic lovable “The Other Two” character Lance Arroyo, whose relationship with longtime girlfriend Brooke Dubek (Heléne Yorke) provides some of the best laughs in the critically acclaimed series.
Below, Segarra tells IndieWire how he landed the Sexiest Man Alive title in “The Other Two” and why the best comedy prep happens off the page.
The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
IndieWire: When you learned what was happening in Episodes 8 and 9, what was your initial reaction? Lance is now a superstar. He always was to the Dubeks, but now he’s legit famous.
Josh Segarra: My honest reaction was, “Let’s go!” a big ol’ Lance “Hell yeah!” I was excited about a couple of things: getting to meet Lance’s family, I think that’s a pretty cool element of all of this, getting to see Aunt Connie. We’ve spoken to Aunt Connie on the phone before, but now we actually get to meet Aunt Connie.
It’s always a fun experience when you get to play an action hero. I think we just see Lance as an action hero all of a sudden. We get to see his relationship with his building mates, his neighbors, just get to see him in his daily life. It’s a fun lens into Lance’s life outside of what we’ve seen of him already on the show. He relates to the Dubeks, but now we see him relate to everybody else in the world.
Lance’s trajectory across the show, starting at a Foot Locker to now the Sexiest Man Alive, has been wild. Do you have any input to the building out of your character or insight into where Lance is going?
I definitely don’t have a hand in where he goes as a character. That’s all [co-creators] Chris [Kelly] and Sarah [Schneider]. They’re the ones tracking him for me. Before this season, I shot them a text. I was like, “Alright, so we end with a fashion show. So where are we at now? Are we doing this or are we doing that?” And they’re like, “He’s a nurse!” And I’m like, “That’s awesome!” He’s good, just in his heart, he’s good, so he realizes during the pandemic that he wants to do good.
Even when he was doing fashion, going back to Episode 1, “Folks want to look like a million bucks but now they can sound like a dollar!,” he wants people to feel sharp, to feel their best, and now he decides to do that through nursing. But I will say I was told by Chris and Sarah, when I first auditioned for the part, Lance worked at Medieval Times. They told me after they met me, they definitely massaged him. Now he worked at the Foot Locker, so they changed his entire occupation. They said that one day they came up to me with a note and said, “Will you try this first?,” and I said, “Hell yeah!,” and he said, “Well, now obviously Lance says ‘hell yeah’!”
There are certain Lance-isms that I think they took from Josh-isms. Any good writer will allow an actor to play as much as they can inside this world, but any smart actor understands that the writing is always going to be better than what you come up with yourself. It’s a marriage between the two, for sure.
OK, I’m clearly talking to you right now, but you do another voice for Lance, right?
It definitely wasn’t on purpose but when you’re playing any character, you try to imagine — you do all your nerdy homework before you start — and then once you find your rhythm, once you find who this person is, certain things start taking over. The way they write him, he’s such a positive guy. He’s always looking at the glass half full. I like to think of him as just loyal and supportive. Whatever you may think is ugly about you, Lance thinks is beautiful about you.
Certain things start taking over and I think that does come out in his voice. He’s always up here a little bit more, he’s always trying to lighten things up. Certain things he says keeps his voice where it’s at.
What’s your definition of “nerdy homework”?
You get your script and the script is your bible, everything starts there. From what other characters say about you to what you say about yourself, that’s your scripture, that’s your notes. So then it goes, “OK, so where were Lance and Brooke through the pandemic? What did they go through?” All this stuff, it’s just for you. It helps bring reality to these characters.
Before the show even starts, who was Lance as a kid? Was he a dreamer? Was he always this positive? For me, I like to think of what if I was raised in these circumstances. Every character that I play, I like to think of, what would I be today if I was raised in the certain circumstances that these characters are raised in? And then you go from there.
You can take it as far as acting school days: What kind of tree would this person be? What kind of body of water would this person be? I don’t necessarily do that for every character, but with the relationship that Brooke and Lance have built out, I think also once you get it off the page and you bring it to the day, you’re running your lines and where did they just come from? Were they in a fight before this scene? Are they about to go into a fight? Were they enjoying themselves before this scene? Where doe sthe character come from and where are they heading? That is the most important thing of any scene: where did they come from and where are they going?
And for a show as tight as “The Other Two,” viewers don’t see so much, but the backstory really comes through. Do you and Heléne collaborate on building out where they are going together?
It’s easy for Heléne and I, because we have a really strong relationship in real life. We’ve actually been buddies for years. We’ve known each other for about 10 years now, just running around New York City. But now she’s one of my dearest.
It’s always fun when you have such a strong bond with your acting partner, because it allows you to be more free when you’re creating these characters. We play best friends, we play lovers. At times we have to be at each others’ throats and as characters say hurtful things to each other. And then in Episode 5 with that big breakup scene, that was a tough day on the page. But in real life, we had a great time with that fight. That’s fun as hell.
How often do you get to really shout at your partner and then at the day be like, “OK, you want to go get some Sweetgreen?” and then head on home? It’s a fun thing because my relationship with Lance is with Heléne, but it’s also with the Dubeks. The first time you meet Lance, Brooke, and Cary [Drew Tarver] show up and Lance turns around and he’s like, “Oh hell yeah, big dab!” So what was Lance doing before? Looking down the street and thinking about some memory he had on that corner, or laughing with some buddies if they came up with some shoe idea right before, and then all of a sudden there she is, the love of his life.
When Cary walks into the gym in Season 1 and he’s sitting on the bench and having a really sad moment before going on “Watch What Happens Live” and Lance walks in and is like, “Oh hell yeah, I didn’t even know my best friend would be here!” He loves them. It’s always fun to think about where he was coming from before into the scene and then immediately have that writing that he is so excited to see his friends, to se his people.
When Chase Dreams [Case Walker] walks in and he’s looking for somebody to talk with and he’s sad because no one has time for him at the fashion show, no matter what, Lance has his back. I have a really close relationship with the whole cast — Molly [Shannon], Case, Drew. When you get to love somebody in real life and then you get to love them hard onscreen, that’s always a gift.
Do you ever get whiplash stepping in and out of Lance? How do you balance the tones of each project?
There is a whiplash for sure. I’ll give you an example: With “Big Door Prize,” there was a little bit of time going into the series. Giorgio is a little bit more brash. He sits more deeper in his voice. Once again, that preparation before, he’s a goalie and he’s been an athlete his whole life. He’s commanding and powerful and he runs a restaurant. So when he’s talking, it’s a much more outward love, punching him in the arm, hugging him hard. Everything a little bit hard with Gorgio, because he’s compensating for some things. He’s looking for love and he wants to be told that he’s doing OK and he wants somebody to love him. He shows it interestingly. He thinks of himself as the most eligible bachelor.
I remember a time I came back and I was working on a show called the “The Moodys” and I was playing Marco, a finance guy who is quick on the phone and he’s a little harder than Lance is. And I walked on the set for Season 2 and there was a little bit of, “Oh man, Lance is a little softer. He’s a little warmer.” So it’s finding that voice, that literal and figurative voice of the character. Maybe the eyebrows come up a little higher. There’s a little more warmth in him than other characters.
Have you been approached yet for any updates on reprising your “She-Hulk” and “Scream” roles yet?
I’ll keep it easy for you: I wish there were talks. I’m ready for there to be talks. For “She-Hulk,” I had such a good time making it. I have not heard a single peep about what’s to come. I’m waiting for them to call me so I can go play with Daredevil. I think Matt Murdoch [Charlie Cox] needs a little bit of help in the courtroom. I would love that crossover.
I think we made something really special with “She-Hulk.” It’s a cool lens to show certain characters in. We all got to know Wong [Benedict Wong] so much with “She-Hulk.” We got to know Matt Murdoch through “She-Hulk.” It’s another way to have characters show their funny sides. I hope there’s more to come because there’s a lot more we can do with “She-Hulk.”
And then same thing with “Scream.” I cannot foresee a future in which they don’t make another one. It did so well at the theater. It was so cool to be a part of something that brought people back to the theater. That was such an honor. I had so much fun playing in that world. It was such a trip to be a part of that world. I’m such a fan of the actors who have come before in that universe, David Arquette and Liev Schreiber. To be on a list with them was really cool. Come on, we walk off at the end of the movie together! He’s a good dude in [Sam’s, played by Melissa Barrera] life. We can’t just let that thing end now, we’ve got to go for it!
Lastly, are you going to make Lance’s storyline a reality? Will you be an action hero onscreen anytime soon, and are you gunning for People’s Sexiest Man Alive in real life?
I am flattered that I even got to do it already in my fake “Other Two” universe, so I’m sure that my mom will tell people that it’s real. I grew up with my mom getting a weekly subscription to People magazine, so I grew up with that one always on the coffee table, so that was a very, very cool honor. As Lance, I got to have a little photoshoot as Sexiest Man Alive. I am sure my mom will have a real physical copy of it on the coffee table in Orlando very soon. And as an action star, that was definitely my little kid dream and I got to live it out. So who knows, maybe I’ll get to do it again someday, and I will be very excited to do so if that time ever comes.