“The first time I saw The Exorcist I was around 12 years old,” Alfonso Herrera, one of ET’s fall TV breakout starswho plays Father Thomas on Fox’s TV adaptation of the 1970s film franchise, says about watching the original at home in Mexico City, where he was born and raised. “My little brother was around 8 years old, so I think he was a little more traumatized than me.”
Now, the 33-year-old actor admits he’s someone who scares easily. “When I’m watching, when I’m a spectator -- oh, yeah,” he says, revealing that the first episode, which premieres Friday, Sept. 23 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, spooked him. And that’s a good thing.
“That’s one of the purposes: to scare people,” Alfonso says of the thriller, which is packed full of suspense and jumpy moments. “Even though it was a film that was made in 1973, it was very potent. We’re trying to maintain that, so in a certain way, that [scariness] is a very positive thing for the show.”
“I’m not a person who gets spooked out very much,” Geena Davis, who plays Angela Rance, says of making the show, while ratting out her co-stars, Herrera and Ben Daniels. “[They] researched exorcisms and stuff online and had nightmares. They couldn’t sleep after that. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m glad I didn’t do any research.’”
“We did some research about things that occurred around the world. There were two events that I saw -- a boy in Chile and a woman in Spain -- it was very, very intense,” Herrera reveals. But he says it was all about getting into the head of Father Thomas. “I was very interested in understanding my character, because if you understand the character you can react very easily to an external factor.”
Beneath all the fright and the priest cloaks is a hunky young man. Though, based on what ET has seen of The Exorcist, it doesn’t seem like fans will get to fully appreciate it. For that, they’ll have to check out Herrera’s other recurring role as Hernando on Netflix’s Sense8.
His part is notable for the onscreen romance he shared with Miguel Ángel Silvestre, who plays closeted Mexican actor Lito. Their relationship (and sex scenes) quickly made them fan favorites among gay viewers. “You have to let your ego go in a way,” Herrera told Out last year about bringing authenticity to the relationship. “I think the aesthetic of it was quite beautiful. The whole deal was trying to show that we were totally in love.”
As handsome as Herrera is, it won’t be hard for fans to take notice -- or appreciate his presence onscreen. But sadly, he’s off the market. Wearing a wedding ring while talking to ET, he says “there is someone,” and, according to Instagram, a baby on the way. But no demons, of course!