Josh Segarra is becoming a Hollywood go-to scene-stealer

March 23, 2023 GMT
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FILE - Josh Segarra, a cast member in the Apple TV+ television series "The Big Door Prize," poses for a portrait during the Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, at The Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, Calif. (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)
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FILE - Josh Segarra, a cast member in the Apple TV+ television series "The Big Door Prize," poses for a portrait during the Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023, at The Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, Calif. (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)

Perhaps you know Josh Segarra from his scene-stealing role as Lance on HBO Max’s “The Other Two,” or remember him as a crooked district attorney of Star City in the CW’s “Arrow,” or you caught him on Broadway when he originated the role of Emilio Estefan in “ On Your Feet! ” However you know him, Segarra is becoming more and more recognizable and this month adds two new projects to that list.

First, Segarra appears in “ Scream VI ” as Danny, the boyfriend of Melissa Barrera’s character. Segarra says when he auditioned he had two wishes if he got the part: he would either be the new Ghostface killer or he would die a spectacular death on screen. His callback audition scene seemed to grant one of those dreams.

“They sent me a whole monologue confessing that I’m the killer. So I’m sitting there and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m the killer.’ I tell my wife, ‘I’m the killer.’ I tell my team, ‘Yo, I’m the killer.’”

After he was cast, he found out everybody auditions with the killer’s monologue.

“That’s part of their callback process. So everybody thinks that they’re the killer and everybody is telling all their friends that they’re the killer in the new ‘Scream’ movie. And then everyone gets the script and realizes not everyone is the killer.”

The “Scream” franchise, has always cast buzzy stars including Drew Barrymore, Sarah Michelle-Gellar, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Joshua Jackson for cameo roles, and also enlists up-and-coming talent for its main roles.

For the current “Scream” filmmakers — Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett directing and Chad Villella executive producing — the casting process is “simple” because it comes down to “casting people who are cool.”

“We were fans of him on ‘The Other Two’ and as soon as Josh auditioned, we were like, ‘Oh, Josh has to be that character,’ says Bettinelli-Olpin.

“You couldn’t not see it,” adds Gillett.

The movie’s recent premiere had a special meaning for Segarra. It was held at the New York movie theater where he and his wife, Brace, had their first date.

“That’s when I learned that she likes the worst candies in the world: Hot Tamales, Junior Mints and Whoppers. I wanted Reese’s Cups, M&M’s and Sour Patch Kids,” he says.

Next up is the series “ The Big Door Prize ” debuting March 29 on Apple TV+. Based on a novel by M.O. Walsh, it follows the residents of a small town — led by Chris O’Dowd as a local teacher — where a machine appears that can predict a user’s true destiny. With quirky characters and a lot of heart, the show is created and written by David West Read, who was a producer and writer on “Schitt’s Creek.”

Segarra plays Giorgio, a former hockey player who now owns a cheesy Italian restaurant — offering gondola rides — that doubles as an arcade so customers can eat pasta and play Dance Dance Revolution. His character is a former schoolmate of O’Dowd’s character Dusty and his wife, Cass. Like his restaurant, Giorgio is tacky and in your face. He’s also hopelessly in love with Cass and makes no effort to hide it. As the episodes roll out, a loneliness to Giorgio is revealed and viewers may end up rooting for him.

“In the hands of a lesser actor, Giorgio could easily come across as a one-dimensional, egomaniacal bully,” says Read. “But Josh has such a big heart that he finds the beating heart of Giorgio, bringing unexpected vulnerability and compassion to the role. It takes an incredibly intelligent actor to play someone who occasionally talks and acts like an idiot with such warmth and sensitivity. But like Giorgio, Josh goes big or goes home, and his unbridled passion and enthusiasm is contagious on set.”

If he had the chance, Segarra says he would try out a machine like the one in “The Big Door Prize.” He’s happy with his career as it is but says if it told him he was meant to be a professional wrestler, he’d “flip it.”

“My first introduction to theater was pro wrestling,” said Segarra. “They were my first superheroes. I used to escape into it without realizing that’s what I was doing. I’m pretty sure that’s how I became an actor,” he says.

Segarra fell in love with the drama, stunts and spectacle of pro wrestling. “My first acting lesson was trying to imitate The Ultimate Warrior in the mirror or Macho Man or Hulk Hogan. It all started like that for me.”