Joshua J. Williams talks research for THEM: The Scare

Joshua J. Williams takes on the role of Kel, a teenager in 1991 Los Angeles in THEM: The Scare. He talked to us about the research he did to get into the mindset of a Black teen during this time period.
THEM: The Scare -- Courtesy of Prime Video
THEM: The Scare -- Courtesy of Prime Video /

THEM: The Scare is set in 1991 Los Angeles. This was a difficult time for the Black people of Los Angeles, and it was only a year later that the LA Riots happened. We see the build up to that throughout this season.

Joshua J. Williams shares that he was born in 2000, so he definitely has no memories of the ‘90s. That meant he had to do research to get into his character.

He plays Kel in THEM: The Scare. Kel is the son of Dawn Reeve, and he’s keeping a secret from his mother and grandmother. He’s also trying to figure out his place in the world, but the supernatural threats are certainly making that difficult.

Joshua J. Williams discusses the research he did for THEM: The Scare

Amazon Adviser: Let’s just jump into where Kel is in life. What does he want, and how’s he feeling as we start the series?

Joshua J. Williams: Kel is in a situation where he has to figure out how to really navigate this lifestyle that he’s living. He’s dealing with a lot; the force of anxiety, stress, loss of friendships. He’s haboring his secret from his grandma and his mom, so, he’s at this place just navigating how to manoeuver through this madness.

AA: What was it like for you delving into the 1990s and bring out all the emotions of that time?

JJW: It was really cool. It just studied but it didn't really feel like studying; it really felt like a party. I feel like the ‘90s is like a party era. It just looks so fun.

I was born in 2000, so like I really had to do my research. I watched a documentary called LA 92…and I watched a few movies, a few music videos during that time…I was just studying as much as I could just to be able to resonate with something.

I just wanted to really capture who Kel really is to be in his life.

AA: From what I’ve heard, Little Marvin in great on set in telling you how he wants it. Did that help?

JJW: Yes, especially for his episode. He directed Episode 7. He knows how to talk to actors. I think he was an actor at one point—I think that's what he told me—if he was then it makes sense. He knows how to talk to actors, and he knows how to get what he wants.

So with the episode that he directed, Episode 7, it just made me feel so good because he understood the character so much. It was really easy for him to translate it to me. He's the best.

Take a look at the full interview below:

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All eight episodes of THEM: The Scare drop at once on Thursday, April 25 on Prime Video.