Nelson Leis
Photo credit: Kristine Cofsky

PopHorror Interviews Actor Nelson Leis Who Plays Beelzebub in ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’

Here at PopHorror, we are lucky to interview some amazingly talented people. I couldn’t be happier to reconnect with Nelson Leis, who is a brilliant actor, writer, and producer. One of his biggest projects right now is working on Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina I just recently binged Part 3 and I can’t get enough of it! I enjoyed chatting with him about how he got involved with this series, his character Beelzebub, and more!

Nelson Leis
Photo credit: Kristine Cofsky

PopHorror – It’s great to chat with you Nelson! I see that you’ve worked on a lot of projects. Do you have a favorite one you worked on?

Nelson Leis – Hi Tori! Nice to hear from you. Before we get going, I’m not sure if you’re even aware, but back in 2017, PopHorror reviewed Letters (read our review – HERE), a short film that I acted in and produced with my wife Vanessa Walsh – so, good to be back in the Pop Horror universe again!

Okay, favorite projects…that’s a tough one. I’ll break it down to a few categories. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is straight up the most fun I’ve had on a TV series. The world is so fantastical and rich, and bringing Beelzebub to life is such a pleasure to sink my teeth into. When it comes to TV movies, working with Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick on Story of a Girl was a highlight. They’re both at the top of their game. The collaboration on set was everything you want as an actor. Kyra brings her actor’s toolbox when she’s directing and that creates an atmosphere of jamming and playing. Let’s see…last category – stage. In 2018 I did the play Almost, Maine. That was as beautiful an experience on stage gets – working with an ensemble that gels, having a blast telling the story and living in the world, and then to have people deeply moved by the piece was the icing.

PopHorror – Oh man! You just made my day. I’m so glad you remember us and I’m incredibly grateful to have you back in our universe! What made you want to become an actor?

Nelson Leis – There were a few tipping points along the way. My mom wanted to be an actor and pursued it for a short time, so it’s in my DNA. I was also a curious kid – fascinated by why people did what they did. I think the investigative part of acting came before the performance component. I wasn’t one of those triple threat song and dance wunderkinds. I don’t think I was even a single threat! Then I met Michael J. Fox, and everything solidified. I realized that acting was actually a job and a craft that I could pursue. I was 10 at the time. I had this desire to act but didn’t really get the confidence to step on stage until I auditioned for a school play in the 10th grade.

PopHorror – That’s awesome. I don’t think the acting world would be quite the same without you! How did you get involved with Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina?

Nelson Leis – I auditioned in Vancouver and then found out a few days later that I booked the job. After episode 1 of part 2, Beelzebub was banished to hell, so that was the end of my work for that season. I was excited when I got the call from my agent last year telling me that I’d be going back for Part 3. Once we got rolling and I realized that Hell was a major part of the story arc, I had a pretty good feeling I’d be in most of the season.

PopHorror – Yes, yes you are! Beelzebub is a pretty big character in Part 3. Tell us about him and what’s the best part about playing him?

Nelson Leis as Beelzebub on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Nelson Leis as Beelzebub on Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

Nelson Leis – He’s the Lord of Flies, and one of the Demon Kings of the Infernal Realm. Specifically from the city of Pandemonium. That’s quite the business card, huh?

Because Beelzebub is not bound by the constricts of human emotion or physicality, I feel like I have incredible freedom to explore every facet of him from episode to episode. I mean at the end of the day, these demons, have an immaterial quality – they can morph and vanish at will. Not that you see much of that from Beelzebub, but the capacity is there. So I have fun with that. I also play with what I see as a reptilian quality.

PopHorror – I love him. He has so much personality – a hilarious demon. What can we expect from Beelzebub in the next season? Without giving away any spoilers.

Nelson Leis – You see Beelzebub and the other Kings adjusting to a new Hell ruled by Sabrina. Beelzebub’s a survivor. He knows who to keep close to him in order to stay alive.

PopHorror –  Do you have any favorite characters on the show or favorite episodes?

Nelson Leis – Everyone on the show is top-notch. I only worked with him in one scene, but I get a kick out of Father Blackwood, played by Richard Coyle. He’s very dynamic and alive. He commands attention. I love working opposite, Michelle Gomez who plays Madam Satan. I relish how she seems to have a disdain for Beelzebub and the demons and just barely entertains them.

Screening for Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 3
Photo credit: Scott Little

PopHorror – Love them both especially Madam Satan. She is everything! Do you have a dream role?

Nelson Leis – I have a list of collaborators who I’d love to work with – Paul Thomas Anderson, Greta Gerwig, Alejandro Innaritu are a few. If I’m involved with world-class talents who collaborate well, that they’re good people, they communicate well, and we’re telling compelling stories, that’s the dream.

PopHorror – Great answer! Any upcoming projects?

Nelson Leis – I’m in the feature film The Curse of Willow Song, written and directed by Karen Lam.

PopHorror – I’ll definitely have to check it out now! Thanks again for doing this interview, we love you here at PopHorror and will continue to support you any way we can!

About Tori Danielle

Tori has had a passion for Horror and music ever since she was a little girl. She got bit by the writing bug in high school where she was involved in both the school newspaper and the yearbook. While getting her Bachelors degree, she took Journalism and Creative Writing classes where her passion grew even stronger. Now, in between work and family, she spends all of her spare time indulging in music, Horror movies, and nerdy fandoms, all while running/assisting one of the biggest Horror groups on Facebook and writing for various websites.

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