Rick Yaeger: Hey everyone. This is Rick Yaeger here with “One Question Interviews,” the show where I ask famous people curious questions. My guest today has been a fan favorite on such shows as “Heroes,” “Covert Affairs,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” and you’ll soon see him in an independent feature called “In Momentary Lapse of Reason.” Please welcome to the show Mr. Sendhil Ramamurthy. Thank you.
Sendhil Ramamurthy: Hello.
Rick: Thank you so much for being my guest today.
Sendhil: It’s a pleasure.
Rick: Tell us all what you’ve been up to.
Sendhil: I’ve been working in Canada now. For four years, I’ve been up in Toronto for various things. For ”Covert Affairs” and ”Beauty and the Beast.” It’s been since 2010 that I’ve been working up there and I just finished ”Beauty and the Beast,” I guess, about two months ago now, we finished.
Rick: With ”Beauty and the Beast,” I understand that your character’s finally been thwarted. [laughs]
Sendhil: I’ve been thwarted, yes. It was fun. It was a fun run. I loved the cast on that show and the director, EP Stuart Gillard is so just a really great guy. I had a blast on that show, I really did. I had a lot of fun, but it was time to go. It was becoming increasingly difficult to play the character because he was like, “He’s bad, he’s was good, he was bad.”
I was getting schizophrenic so I think I just ran out of steam. There wasn’t really anywhere else to go with them. We decided to make him just loose his marbles.
Sendhil: I just got absolutely crazy, which was really fun to play actually. I just kind of went for it, I’m not going to lose even if sometimes it’s like, “I don’t know if this makes sense, because it’s like it doesn’t matter. You’re crazy, it’s irrelevant.” It was fun.
Rick: I went through your big credits “Heroes,” ”Covert Affairs,” ”Beauty and the Beast,” I imagine you spend the summers at Comic Con?
Sendhil: I have. I’ve been to Comic Con five times now. We went for the first season for ”Covert Affairs,” which I thought was interesting because it’s not Sci-fi, but I enjoyed Comic con. For the first year, I was nervous.
I just didn’t know what to expect. We were never allowed to go anywhere. You can’t go on the floor or stuff like that.
I remember me and Masi one year tried to sneak off, you know across the red [inaudible 2:52] from ”Heroes.” We tried to sneak in and the security guard people came running after us, like we can’t guarantee your safety.
Sendhil: Like easy. I went on the floor during ”Covert Affairs” and nobody stopped me. I went and it was the first time that I got to see Comic-Con, because they usually bring us in underneath the building, through the back. You’re walking around through the kitchen and stuff.
They bring you up in a freight elevator and then you leave by the same freight elevator and get on a bus and go back to LA. During ”Covert Affairs” is the first time that I got to sneak onto the floor. It was cool.
I really enjoyed it. There were some awkward moments. You know where I thought this may be a bad idea.
Sendhil: But, is all it was just to see what all the fuss was about, because we’re just up there on the panel, then we leave and that’s it. It was cool to see.
Rick: That’s very cool. “Momentary Lapse of Reason”.
Rick: Tell us about that if you can.
Sendhil: It’s a family drama. The stories about a family after the patriarch, the father passes away. It’s me and Kunal Nayyar from Big Bang Theory. We’re playing brothers, I play his older brother.
It’s mostly set in Los Angeles. We’re doing a tiny bit of shooting in India, but the majority will be in LA. It’s about Kunal’s character growing up and spreading his wings and moving off. I represent the old word, like my father’s views and the way he viewed the world.
Whereas, Kunal is a bit more of a free spirit and I always think he’s screwing everything up. We have a family business and there’s some shadiness going on in the family business that Kunal’s character doesn’t want much to do with, and he ends up getting involved in it anyway.
In Los Angeles, he tries to go away and trouble follows him and I end up following him to Los Angeles and it’s slightly violence ended.
Rick: Archaic. [laughs]
Sendhil: Basically, the director is named Aditya Bhattacharya.
Rick: I won’t try to say that. [laughs]
Sendhil: Yeah, he did a movie in India in Hindi in the late ’80s. It was called “Raakh.” R-A-A-K-H, I think. It’s “Ashes to Ashes,” that’s basically the English translation. It was the first movie and it made a huge star out of…he’s probably considered one of the biggest if not the biggest stars in Bollywood right. His name is Aamir Khan. He’s a giant, giant star over there. This movie spawned his career.
Aditya actually took a bit of a break from film-making after that film. I think the success of it and everything overwhelmed him. He comes from a huge dynasty of Indian directors and producers who are very, very, very well-known in that country. He just escaped. He’s made more films since, but this is more like a continuation of ”Ashes to Ashes.”
There’s actually some very cool references to the film in the script. I think I’m allowed to say that. Which I think is very cool. The difference being that this film is 100 percent in English.
It’s an international cast. I don’t know who I’m allowed to say is cast yet. I know that Kunal and I can say it. But there’s Russian actors, there’s Mexican-American actors. It’s a very wide range of characters that wind its way into this story. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s something very different for me. I’m looking forward to it.
Rick: It sounds really interesting, and it brings up something I’ve been noticing in Hollywood lately, is more than ever the acceptance of diversity in Hollywood. There’s a lot of roles out there that probably would have been cast with Caucasian actors that are being cast with Asians and Mexican-Amer…
Sendhil: The last few roles that I’ve done… “Covert Affairs” is written for a guy named, I forget the character’s name originally, it was like Conrad Sheehan III or something like that. They had actually cast somebody. I was still on “Heroes” when they shot the pilot for ”Covert Affairs.” ”Heroes” hadn’t been canceled yet. They had cast another guy and for whatever reason they decided to recast that character after the pilot.
They saw white people, black people, me, Hispanic, everything for that role. I ended up getting it. It wasn’t written that way. Same with “Beauty and the Beast,” actually. The characters name is Gabriel Lowan. I know that they looked at a bunch of people and, I don’t know, somehow settled on me and called me. Yeah. No, there’s no question that there’s definitely been some big strides made, which is really nice.
Rick: I saw, I guess it was a talk you gave on Asians in Hollywood. You mentioned that for South Asian actors, it’s been the two ends of the spectrum where you’re either the corner store owner, taxi driver, or you’re the smart doctor. I thought it was interesting because Mohinder was both. He was a taxi driver who was a doctor.
Sendhil: He was packed it all into one.
Sendhil: That was a cool thing about what Tim did, especially in that pilot. When I read the pilot I was like, “OK, these could be stock characters, but they’re not.” You’ve got the stripper, but with a heart of gold. You’ve got the African American ex-con, but he’s not just that. I liked it because it was taking those images that we have in our head and saying, “Yes, people can be this, but there’s also these other facets to them.”
Rick: There’s more depth.
Sendhil: Exactly. That’s what I really liked about it. It really took all these archetypes that we have on American television in particular and mess with them a little bit, which I thought was very cool.
Rick: Very good. I’m grabbing the hat.
Sendhil: All right.
Rick: As you know, the show is called “One Question Interviews.”
Rick: I have almost a thousand different questions ranging from the profane to the profound.
Rick: I will choose one at random. I’m just going to grab a handful here. We’ll choose one at random and you’ll answer it seriously or in a funny voice, if you like.
Rick: Everyone goes home happy. Sound cool?
Sendhil: All right. Sounds good.
Rick: I’m just going to scroll down the side here. Just tell me when to stop. You always wait till the bottom.
Rick: You want the top or the bottom?
Sendhil: The bottom.
Rick: Bottom. Sendhil Ramamurthy, what is the worst movie you’ve ever loved?
Sendhil: Oh, wow. [laughs] The worst movie I’ve ever loved. God, there’s quite a bit of them. God, that’s a tough one. I would say “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” with Whoopi Goldberg is definitely a contender. Not the greatest movie, but I just, I loved Whoopi Goldberg in that film. I thought she was fantastic. Let’s see. I guess that’s the one that’s sticking in my head right now.
I remember I saw that movie only because of the trailer. Because it had the song. It had the Rolling Stones singing and it’s not a great movie. It’s really not a great movie, but Whoopi Goldberg won me over and I bet she probably watched it two or three times. That’s…you know what else is up there? “Armageddon.”
Rick: Armageddon, right.
Sendhil: Armageddon’s up there.
Rick: That’s a Michael Bay movie, right?
Sendhil: Michael Bay movie. That’s not a great movie, but I watch that…I’ve watched that movie more times than I care to admit. If it’s just on on cable, or whatever, basic cable…
Rick: Just sucks you in anyway?
Sendhil: No, it does. It really does. It’s mediocre at best. That’s another one that really…if it’s on. I’ll end up watching it, or at least part of it. Kind of anything with Jean-Claude Van Damme. I went through a serious kind of action movie, martial arts type thing. That probably, I would say, in those categories. Those two movies specifically and anything in the Jean Claude slash Seagal library.
Rick: That kind of genre there.
Rick: Very good. That, that’s it. That’s your one question.
Rick: Thank you so much for coming on the show.
Sendhil: It was a pleasure.
Rick: Everyone, look for Sendhil in ”Momentary Lapse of Reason.”
Sendhil: And “Brahmin Bulls.”
Rick: And ”Brahmin Bulls.” We didn’t talk about that. Do you want to tell us a bit about that before we…
Sendhil: Yeah. No, Brahmin Bulls is a movie that’s with a really talented with a young director named Mahesh Pailoor who I’ve been working with, really since, I left drama school. I did one of his short films when he was in undergraduate from NYU. Then, even after I was on ”Heroes,” I was going back to AFI where he graduate from and doing his thesis movie just because I really believed in it and in his talent. He ended up writing, he and his wife, ended up writing this script for me called Brahmin Bulls.
They finally got it made and it did the Festival Circuit. We ended up doing all right in the Festival Circuit. We’re hoping for a release this summer at some point in L.A. and New York. Then, there’ll be an On-Demand release as well, like, on iTunes and on your cable On-Demand and hopefully Netflix, if we can stream that. Please keep a lookout for that. I’m actually really proud of that. I think it’s probably some of the best work I’ve done.
Rick: Excellent. Follow Sendhil on Twitter. You are @Sendhil_Rama.
Rick: You can keep up with the latest Sendhil news at sendhilramamurthy.net.
Sendhil: Yes, that is run by three fans, actually, who are just the sweetest ladies, Jenn and Meaghan and Alicia. I give them a shout-out. You can go to that website and they also have a Facebook page, I think. Sendhil Fans is the Facebook page.
Rick: I’ll link it up right below your face.
Sendhil: They have a Twitter account, too. They’re very savvy, social media people, unlike myself. They do a really great job, so I just want to mention that.
Rick: I’m going to link them up on the screen, but if you guys go to onequestioninterviews.com, I’ll have the transcript of this whole interview there and I’ll put all the links there so you can find everything. Sounds cool? Sounds cool.
Sendhil: Very cool.
Rick: Everyone that’s it. This is Rick Yaeger from One Question Interviews. Thank you so much for watching and subscribe to the show and iTunes or on YouTube. Either one’s free. It’s cool and you won’t miss out on the next episode. OK. All right everyone. Bye-bye.