I had the lucky chance to interview Sendhil Ramamurthy yesterday and discuss a little about his role as Jai Wilcox in Covert Affairs.
First of all, I have to say he was very polite and the talk very enjoyable, and his voice over the phone sounds like you are entering and advertisement for an Ivy League College. No wonder he used to be a regular on the London theatre scene, he has a very Shakespearian speaking tone and at the transcript time, there was no word that wasn´t water clear as it usually happens with most interviews in which you need to go over the recording to get it right.
Now to what matters
Interview with Covert Affairs Sendhil Ramamurthy
Sendhil Ramamurthy: Ah, Guillermo.
Guillermo Paz: I guess we have the same curse of difficult names.
Sendhil Ramamurthy: Yes. Well, you know what? I think when people look at our names they get scared but once they hear it pronounced, I think they’re put at ease.
Guillermo Paz: Yes.
Sendhil Ramamurthy: It’s really not so bad is it?
Guillermo Paz: Yes. It’s easier. Your character is borderline villainous we can say. How do you like playing a character that is gray area of both friend and foe?
Sendhil Ramamurthy: Gray area is the way I look at it. I don’t actually see any villainous because it’s, you know, villainous is really from what perspective you’re looking at it. If you look at him as a villain that means that you think that Arthur and Joan and what they’re doing is right and Jay certainly doesn’t see it that way.
And so but the gray area is something that I’m very interested in for Jai and just as an actor. Those are the things that I find really interesting to play.
What – where it becomes hard is that if the gray area becomes all black or all white because then there’s nothing to play. So I really want Jai to balance it and that’s hard. That’s hard to write and it’s hard to maintain as an actor.
It’s, you know, it’s a very difficult thing and there are actually very few shows that are able to do it properly and I think that ours is going to be one of those that’s able to do it because of the, you know, just because of the strength of our writing team.
But, you know, I’d love for it to, you know, when you think Jai is doing something wrong and you think he’s going down the wrong path, for him to prove you right and then when you think he’s doing, you know, great and he’s going to be the good guy, then he’s just kind of – he can’t help himself and his ambitions get in the way.
You know, that’s really what I would like to see, you know, more of because just being a good guy and being the good guy, I just find that really boring to play. I don’t – it’s not something that appeals to me.
So I want to see him teetering on the edge and to be kind of pulled in different directions and for his emotions to be pulled on as well. You know, and we get a little bit of that actually towards the end of the season involving Jai and Henry. You know, I think it’s certainly an avenue that the writers are open to exploring and I think that we’ll see more of that in the third season as well.
Guillermo Paz: All right. And what do you think the audience and the fans think of your character?
Sendhil Ramamurthy: I have no idea. The comment that I get most of the time, just by people walking up to me is, you know, what is he up to because I think it was very difficult for the audience because in the first ten episodes he was, you know, really – he was there but not there. And then all of a sudden he kind of jumped, you know, jumped into the story in the premier of season 2.5 and I think that it was – it was kind of like oh, okay. So he’s coming into the story now.
So I’d like to see Jai be a bit more of a constant presence in the story. How that’s done, I don’t know but you know it’s – I think it’s difficult now to connect with him simply because his appearance is so sporadic but that changes so you know we’ll see how it goes.
Right now I’m not sure that the audience knows what to think of Jai and I actually don’t – I don’t see that as a bad thing as long as that’s kind of resolved.
Guillermo Paz: Okay. Great. Just to finish. How about guest stars. Who would you like to have coming by to Covert Affairs?
Sendhil Ramamurthy: Who would I like to have – I’d love to see Santi come back – to see Santiago Cabrera come back. He’s a very good buddy of mine. I was actually at dinner with him last night and I’d love to see him come back. It’s always fun when (Odette) comes back. You know, he’s certainly one of our favorites.
You know, he and Bailey is really great to work with and, you know, for me personally, you know, my stuff with Greg Itzin is some of – it’s Jai’s juiciest stuff is with, you know, with Henry and I’d love for him to come back.
Who else was cool? Jaimie Alexander who played Reva. That was a fun character. Yes. We’ve had – we’ve actually been really lucky with a lot of our guest stars. We’ve had some really good people and you know I have a feeling that you’ll be seeing more of your favorites hopefully in the third season.
Again, you know, with guest stars it’s tough because it depends if they’re available so, you know, they’re – I know for sure that last season there were people that we wanted to have back but we weren’t able to because, you know, guest stars aren’t under contract. They’re just under contract for the one episode so you have to, you know, you have to make sure that the actor is available. So that’s, you know, that’s – it’s dependent on that a lot.
Guillermo Paz: Okay. Thanks so much Sendhil.
Sendhil Ramamurthy: Thank you.
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