Selena: The Series is one of the most-watched shows on Netflix right now, and Jesse Posey is part of the incredible ensemble cast. He plays Chris Perez, Selena Quintanilla’s bandmate who later becomes her husband. HollywoodLife talked EXCLUSIVELY with Jesse about taking on such a major role.
Jesse admitted that he wasn’t too familiar with Selena before signing on to the series, but he loved the “freedom” that gave him as he embodied Chris. He also opened up about how much he’s learned about music from Selena: The Series, his effortless bond with Christian Serratos, and more. Read our Q&A below.
How familiar were you with Selena and her music before playing Chris Perez?
Jesse Posey: To be honest, I didn’t know much. My mom’s side of the family is Mexican, so I grew up on that side hanging out at my grandparents’ house, and there was always mariachi music playing. We had a little bit of a Mexican culture in there, but we didn’t get into Selena that much. I really didn’t start learning about her until after I got the role, but I’m kind of glad that it happened that way. Because for my character, I think I only needed to know a couple of things: that he loved the guitar, and he loved his girl. He wasn’t in love with the legacy. He was just in love with the person. So it gave me the opportunity to really learn about their love, learn about Selena the person, and not just the icon. I kind of love that it happened that way. It gave me a lot of freedom to do what I wanted with the role and what they wanted me to do with it. But now I’m a huge fan because I know so much about it.
There’s so much information out there about Selena and Chris. What was the research process like?
Jesse Posey: I watched a lot of videos on YouTube from when he was younger. There’s this really long interview he did that I went back to a lot, and I think it was his first time talking to anybody publicly after her death. I wanted to get that one because it just seemed like the rawest form of him that I could find. It was really insightful. It showed a lot of emotions. When Selena was alive and they had done interviews, it might have been kind of hard to grasp how he really felt about her and the situation, but when you see him and how he was following her death, you really get a good idea of how he felt and what kind of impact it had on him. So I looked at that one a lot. I also looked at stuff of him from before her death, just to see the happiness in him and how much he loved music and kind of get a gauge on how he talked and how he interacted with people. It was mostly YouTube videos. He wrote a book that I read and that was really insightful. I was lucky enough to know a few people who have come across him personally in the past, so I asked them about how he was.
You are no stranger to music. What was it like for you to dive deep into Selena’s music?
Jesse Posey: It was so cool. It was really, really, really fascinating. I’ve been surrounded by music my whole life. I have two older brothers who are really good guitar players, one who’s in a band. I was in a band a couple of years ago. Something that my brother told me that I didn’t really notice while I was watching the show is that it’s so educational about how music is done, how ideas are come up with, and how the recording process goes. We kind of show every aspect of making a song. It’s really cool for people who are interested in music, and I have learned a lot from being on the show, from working with our music teachers, from talking with my castmates in the band. Just being up there learning about timing, learning about why a certain part of the song goes a certain way, it’s been really educational for me. I’m sure it has been for the rest of my castmates, and hopefully for everyone watching the show.
Was there anything you learned about Chris’ experience with the guitar and his musicality that you’ll take away from this experience?
Jesse Posey: I know that he was a big rock and roll guy, and he kind of had to put that aside while he was with Selena because playing the guitar in Selena’s band isn’t much of a lifestyle that Chris was really accustomed to. It’s admirable to watch somebody who is so into one style, into shredding and playing metal and rock music, and put that aside for a little bit while he does this thing with Selena. We get into a part where that kind of comes out that he wants to dive deeper into his style of music and who he really is and what he really wants to do.
Especially over the course of the first part of Selena: The Series, the show showcases how Selena and Chris had to keep their relationship a secret. As you researched their relationship, what was the most touching aspect of their relationship to you?
Jesse Posey: I think what was most touching was how much he respected Abraham. He really did. It shows in how he wanted to be very careful about this relationship. He was kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. He has so much love for this girl that he wants to be with, but then he really respects the guy who is giving him this great opportunity to be with this big band. Chris really admired how he raised his family, how he put the band together, and everything he’s done. I don’t think Chris would probably be as old school as Abraham was in raising a family or having a wife, but he loved what he did with the family. So Chris was walking a thin line of how do I maintain this relationship while trying to respect this guy as much as I can? I can only imagine how stressful that was. When we were filming, I felt that all the time. We were always trying to just tiptoe around the big elephant in the room and not let our love show. Finally, when we were able to in the second season, there was no more stress. It was kind of easy to do our thing. But it is hard, and I’m sure it was really hard for him in real life.
Even after almost 30 years, there’s still so much love for Selena. With playing Chris, did you feel any pressure playing a real-life person?
Jesse Posey: There was definitely pressure in the beginning. I think everyone probably felt this, but I came in late, and everybody already knew each other. There was already camaraderie on set, and I was kind of a new guy. So I had doubts. I was wondering if maybe I wasn’t the right choice and if I should be here at all. There were a lot of those emotions going on. But after we kind of got rolling and I got to know everybody, I felt really comfortable on the set. I felt confident that I was the right choice. I know that there’s going to be a little bit of negativity here and there for different reasons, and that’s okay. As long as I know that my friends dig it, everyone on the set digs it, and real Selena fans dig it, then I’m happy. I think I can say that I did it justice.
What was it like establishing Selena and Chris’ bond with Christian Serratos?
Jesse Posey: Our relationship was really easy. For some reason, we just kind of clicked. We worked well together as actors. We both had to put our heads together a lot and think about how to make a scene better and how to make it work. And it was just really easy. We loved each other’s opinions and thoughts. Plus, on top of that, we’re really good friends. We can laugh outside of the work and just talk about different things. Just her as an actor inspired me every single day just to come in and bring my A-game. We both had fun with each other. She’s so committed to every choice that she makes and everything she’s doing, it really did motivate me to come out and do my best every single day. I’ve never seen somebody work the way she does.
I’ve known your brother Tyler Posey for years with Teen Wolf. Have you always been interested in acting, too?
Jesse Posey: My dad is also an actor. He’s been acting for years. I think he got both me and my brother interested in it when we were kids. At one point I didn’t really want to do it anymore, so I had a career playing baseball until I was about 21. But obviously, my brother stuck with it. I always admired just both of them the way they handled themselves on sets the way they treat people, and how much work they put into what they do. I always knew that if I was going to come back to this, I would have two very good role models to look up to. And I do. As soon as I stopped playing baseball, I kind of thought, what the hell, I’ll get back into it. I’m very, very lucky to have them in my life. The work that they both do really inspires me. For someone kind of just breaking into this, I have two people that I can go to for anything I need. They always have the right answers, so I do consider myself very lucky.