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Interview with Sendhil Ramamurthy of
Affairs" on USA Network 8/6/10
Media Strategies / Electric Artists:
Network Q&A Session with Sendhil Ramamurthy
August 6, 2010/1:00 p.m. EDT
Sendhil Ramamurthy Ė Jai Wilcox, Covert Affairs
Moderator Welcome to the USA
Network Q&A Session with Sendhil Ramamurthy. At this time all
participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a
question and answer session and instructions will be given at that
time. As a reminder, todayís conference is being recorded. I would
now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Danny Christiansen.
D. Christiansen Good afternoon. This is
Danny Christiansen from New Media Strategies. I would like to thank
everyone for joining us for todayís Covert Affairs Q&A session and
start things off by thanking Sendhil Ramamurthy for being with us
today to answer questions. So, thank you, Sendhil.
S. Ramamurthy Thank you. God, that was
all very official and everything. I feel very worthy right now and
nervous, all of a sudden.
D. Christiansen No, no need to be
nervous. As you know, Sendhil play Jai Wilcox on Covert Affairs,
which airs on Tuesdays at 10/9 Central on USA Network. In a moment
weíll begin the Q&A session. Iíd like to remind all participants
that you will receive a transcript of this session within the next
24 to 48 hours from either myself or Electric Artists.
I would also
like to remind everyone to please limit yourselves to one question
and one follow-up at a time and then re-enter the question queue
later in the session for any additional questions. This will ensure
that we field as many questions as possible within the allotted
I would now like to turn the call back over to our
Moderator to begin the formal Q&A session.
Moderator The first question comes
from the line of Jamie Steinberg with Starry Constellation.
J. Steinberg What exactly made you
want to be a part of this show?
It was kind of a roundabout
thing, actually. While I was still shooting here, they were
shooting this pilot and I put a friend of mine on tape for the role
of Auggie, for Chris Gorhamís part. While I was doing that, I ended
up reading the script and I really liked it, but I was already on a
show and that was that. I kind of read it and filed it away.
Then, I guess
when the showís creators and USA decided to make a little change
from the pilot and bring in the Jai Wilcox character they kind of
approached me about it and I went in and I talked to the creators
and I did a chemistry read with Piper Perabo and I got the job the
next day. It was a script that I really liked. It was a very
different character for me to play from what I had been doing
It was also one
of those things where I was under contract to NBC and it was a way
to do more work without having to try and get out of a contract and
all of that and all the legalities involved with that and it was a
chance to work with Doug Liman, so it was all kind of win-win.
J. Steinberg Well, I hope Chris
doesnít hold any ill will towards you.
S. Ramamurthy No, he shouldnít. Heís
doing an amazing job. Heís doing a great job. Iím really impressed
with him and with everybody, really, on the show. Itís really been
an amazing experience so far.
J. Steinberg Will your character get
to get out in the field at all?
S. Ramamurthy My character does go out
into the field, starting in Tuesdayís episode actually. I think
originally as conceived the character wasnít going to be going out
into the field and once they cast me they saw some merit, some
advantage to bringing me into the field. And itís been a lot of
fun. Most of the stuff I do has been with Piper and a little bit of
stuff with Chris. Itís a lot of fun and itís also a great way to
see Toronto because we shoot everywhere around Toronto, so Iíve
gotten to kind to see Toronto just by virtue of shooting all around
Moderator The next question comes
from the line of Matt Carter with Examiner.com.
M. Carter How would you describe
your character and, most specifically, his relationship with Arthur
because thereís some kind of hidden motive going on there? At least
there appears to be so.
S. Ramamurthy Well, my character, Jai
Wilcox is a second generation CIA man. His father, Henry Wilcox,
was the Head of Clandestine Services, so heís CIA royalty,
basically. And, as weíll find out in Tuesdayís episode, I donít
want to give too much away, thereís some baggage that comes with
being Henry Wilcoxómy characterís fatherís name is Henry
Wilcoxóthereís some baggage that comes with being his son and it
kind of permeates through the CIA. So, you see how Jai kind of has
to deal with that.
He kind of has two father figures in his life. Heís
got his real father, Henry Wilcox, and then heís got Arthur
Campbell, played by Peter Gallagher, who is somebody who, obviously,
he looks up to and respects and he wants to impress the both of them
and impress everybody else in his own right. I think itís very
important for Jai to feel that he is there at the CIA doing a good
job on his own merit, not just because heís Henry Wilcoxís son or
because Arthur Campbell trusts him with specific clandestine
operations that not a lot of people know about. So, the
relationship with Arthur is definitely, you know, heís my boss and I
look to impress him at every turn that I can.
M. Carter Youíve been doing a
lot of research about the CIA and about some if the inner workings
for the show. Was there anything that you found out that kind of
S. Ramamurthy There was a lot that we
found out through doing all the research, from the fact that the CIA
encourages dating within the agency, which I thought would not be
the case to kind of the way that things operate there. I didnít
know even the basic things, like you canít have your cell phone with
you inside the CIA. I didnít know that the CIA didnít carry weapons
on U.S. soil. So itís interesting, we actually just shot a scene
where Iím chasing somebody and theyíre shooting at me and I have no
gun, but I keep chasing them, like I keep going after them, even
though I have no weapon.
So, for me, I
found it really kind of courageous and heroic that these CIA
operatives are going about doing their thing without a weapon. It
could also be looked at as, God, how dumb. But I think itís pretty
heroic. Itís kind of like, well, I guess itís like with anything
like this, like firefighters if you want to look at it like that.
While everybody is running out of the fire, theyíre the ones running
towards it and I think it kind of speaks volumes for the CIA and the
people kind of protecting our country.
Moderator The next question is
from the line of Stevie Wilson with LA-story.com.
S. Wilson The interesting part
about your character is that you are the assistant to the director
and you have access to him that other people donít, and how does
that work in terms when dealing with Kari Matchettís character as,
you know, sheís his wife, but sheís also got a job on the team, but
she canít always get to him the way you can.
S. Ramamurthy Yeah, and that makes for a
pretty interesting dynamic between Jai and Joan, Kariís character,
Joan. Itís pretty antagonistic. Sheís not very fond of Jay and
their interaction kind of shows that. But what I love that the
writers have done with the character is they put in moments where
Jai, he does his job well. Jai is really good at what he does.
Thatís not to say that he makes mistakes. Everybody will make
mistakes throughout any kind of mission, but heís so good at his job
that Joan at certain points in certain episodes canít help but say,
ďAll right, well done. You did it right.Ē
Actually, one of
the instances happens in Tuesday nightís episode, which I wasnít
expecting because you kind of think in TV theyíll set up this one
dynamic and just kind of go in that direction full tilt and that
will be that. But itís really nuanced, all the relationships
between the characters are really nuanced and Iíve been really
impressed with how they balance everything, from my relationship
with Joan to Jaiís relationship with Annie to Auggieís relationship
with Annie; itís a delicate balance and I think the writers are
really doing it well.
S. Wilson I agree, because the
relationships seem real and itís interesting because I would think
that your character and Auggieís character might beóand it seems to
be that thereís a little bit, I donít want to say friction, but the
S. Ramamurthy Oh, thereís friction,
Stevie. Thereís friction. Weíre having a lot of fun with that
S. Wilson Well, itís interesting
because he has a fondness for Annie, but he canít go out in the
field like you can.
S. Ramamurthy No, no he canít and thatís
probably part of the friction. And then I think, well, without want
to give too much away I think that Jai, as the season goes on, kind
of becomes a little bit jealous of the friendship between Auggie and
Annie. They are best friends. They really are. Thereís a trust
between them that Annieís character doesnít have with any other
She can be
completely who she is with Auggie. She canít do that with Danielle,
her sister; she canít do it with me because, well, there are various
reasons that will come out, but itís a relationship not entirely
based on truth and so that kind of makes that impossible. Having
said that, I think thereís an attraction. Thereís definitely an
attraction between Jai and Annie and Annie and Jai and Iím having
fun seeing how itís all playing out.
Moderator The next question is
from the line of Curt Wagner with RedEyeís Show Patrol.
C. Wagner Gregory Itzin plays your
S. Ramamurthy Yes, he does.
How is that? Heís
always so good in everything he does.
S. Ramamurthy Heís kind of just amazing.
I knew him from 24, obviously Iíd seen is work on 24 and thought he
was just amazing in it and when I heard that they were bringing him
on to play my father I thought, okay, interesting choice. I didnít
see that coming at all.
But I was into
it, I was really kind of impressed with it, that the writerís and
USA and the studio, everybody, kind of really got behind it. And
the scenes that we did, especially in Tuesday nightís episode, which
is Gregís first episode with us, thereís kind of one of my favorites
scenes that Iíve done all season, is a scene where he kind of drives
it where itís Jai, and Annie and him, just sitting at a table,
having a drink and talking.
And it was an
amazing experience to kind of just watch Greg work, because heís so
good and heís so specific. Iíve really enjoyed all my scenes with
him. Again, itís a very complicated relationship, the relationship
that Jai has with Henry, with his father. And weíre kind of getting
more into it actually right now.
Thereís a great
scene in the finale, which we just got, which Iím really looking
forward to doing. I think weíre going to shoot it next week. Greg
will be back up with us, so, yeah, itís been a real treat working
C. Wagner So, is this sort of the
start of us seeing a lot more of you and Jai?
S. Ramamurthy Yes, like I said, I kind of
came to the party later. I was cast after they had shot the pilot
and the show had been picked up for 13 episodes and I was cast after
they had kind of broken the first four stories. They had already
written the first four episodes or done very specific broad strokes
of the first four episodes. So when I met with them they said,
listen, weíre going to slot you in where we can in the first four
episodes because weíve put out the structure already, we already
know what weíre going to do in those episodes.
For instance, in
last weekís episode I wasnít even in it because that was actually
the first episode that we shot after the pilot, even though it aired
fourth we shot it first, so there was just no way for me to be in
it. And so, I kind of like am peppered through the first four
episodes and then on Tuesdayís episode itís kind of like the real
introduction to my character where you find out what Jai is all
about, where he comes from, what makes him tick and, more
importantly, what heís doing there and what his kind of general arc
and mission will be throughout the season.
Moderator The next question is
from the line of Melissa Lowery with NiceGirlsTv.com.
M. Lowery I was wondering if you
could tell us if Jaiís relationship with Annie is going to be
strictly professional or if he has interest aside from what weíve
been shown so far?
S. Ramamurthy Again, itís very
complicated. I think one of the best things about this show is that
all the relationships are really complicated. Itís kind of the best
thing that was written in the pilot is the note that the Ben Mercer
character leaves for Annieís character. It says, ďThe truth is
complicated.Ē And that doesnít just apply to Annie and Ben. That
certainly applies to Annie and Jai as well.
Like I said,
everything is not what it seems when you meet Jai and Annie and the
audience knows that Arthur has told him to get close to Annie in any
way possible. And you kind of see a few different tacks that Jai
takes to kind of accomplish his mission and then he can try and go
the romantic way, he can try and go the professional way; there are
a few different avenues and Jai is pretty crafty and he kind of
tries whatever works in certain situations.
And I think
thatís all well and good, but in the end Jai and Annie, theyíre not
robots. There are emotions, there are feelings and when you get
close to somebody it can complicate something that you want to just
be a mission. So, weíll see. I have to be honest, Iím curious to
see where it goes because I donít know yet.
M. Lowery You were talking a little
bit about Jaiís being a second generation CIA agent. Are we going
to see kind of a back story for him?
S. Ramamurthy Yes, you do. You get a
little bit actually in Tuesday nightís episode; you just kind of
hear what heís about, what heís been up to, actually, just prior to
coming to the CIA. You get a little hint as to where he was and
what it was that he was doing and a cool scene that we shot, it was
me and Piper and Eriq La Salle, actually, which was a lot of fun.
He guest stars in Tuesdayís episode and heís terrific in it. And
heís such a nice guy.
I mean, I was a
little in awe. I was acting with Dr. Benton, like what do you do?
But he was really great. And you do, you do find out kind of where
heís from and as the season goes on you actually find out a little
bit more about where he was and what it was that he was doing where
he was, which is kind of important to the overall end game of the
Moderator The next question comes
from the line of Pattye Grippo with pazsaz.com.
P. Grippo What do you find to be
the biggest challenge in playing this particular character?
S. Ramamurthy For me, itís been a huge
challenge just because itís a very different character than what
Iíve been playing on TV before, which Iím excited about. But itís
an incredibly layered character and youíre always kind of second
guessing because you donít want to give too much away in each scene
and so thatís something that Iíve really worked hard at and you
donít want to tip your hand too quickly.
Jai is a
charmer, or he thinks heís a charmer anyway, and everybody around
him reacts that way so I guess he is and you donít what that to just
be it, so there has to be something bubbling underneath it and the
challenge was to not let kind of the end game, which, obviously, I
know where it is, but you donít want the audience to know if the
fifth episode of the series whatís going to happen, so it was a
really tricky balance for me and, again, I hope I got it because we
havenít seen a lot of it, we havenít seen a lot of the episodes, so
itís going to be interesting. So, for me, thatís been the most
The other challenging thing has been itís a very
physical role for me. In Tuesdayís episode I was doing parkour.
Who gets to do parkour on TV? They brought in a guy from Cirque du
Soleil to work with me to kind of work the moves out and stuff. And
I saw the chase scene actually thatís going to air on Tuesday and
itís really cool. I was really excited when I saw it. Itís a very
fun thing and itís what you would expect from Doug Liman, from a
show executive produced by Doug Liman. Itís certainly worthy of
kind of his previous spy stuff.
P. Grippo Talking about you and
the character of Jai, what would you say are your biggest
similarities and biggest differences between the two of you?
S. Ramamurthy Well, similarities, I think
he looks like me; thatís pretty similar. But, listen, Jai is a bit
of a flirt and you can see it as one way in that heís using it to
help accomplish what heís supposed to be doing, but itís kind of in
him to be a little bit flirtatious and Iíve been told that I can be
flirtatious at times by people, so maybe thatís a similarity with me
The kind of
dissimilarities are Iím really bad at kind of not tipping my hand,
basically. Itís hard for me to lie about things or not lie, thatís
the wrong word; not disclose everything upfront. Itís very
difficult for me to do that, but itís no problem for Jai. I mean he
kind of lives in that world. Thatís what he does.
And he doesnít
see a problem with it and other people might, people that heís not
disclosing the information to. It maybe comes across as dishonest,
but thatís what he does. Heís a CIA operative. Thatís what you
do. Youíre required to not fully disclose things to people, like
people close to you, your family, your friends and thatís kind of
the world that these guys live in and itís second nature to them and
itís not something they feel morally conflicted about at all,
whereas I would.
I would feel
conflicted about it and I think thatís the major difference.
Moderator The next question comes
from the Lena Lamoray with LenaLamoray.com.
L. Lamoray What are your thoughts on
the tension that Jai has added to the show, especially between
Arthur and Joan?
S. Ramamurthy I think itís kind of
interesting because heís become an unknowing pawn in the marital
strife between Arthur and Joan and I donít think itís something that
he particularly wants to be involved in. But I also donít think,
because these guys are CIA operatives as well, Joan and Arthuróthis
is what they do, too. They donít really tip their hand too much,
certainly to Jai and not to the rest of the people either as to
whatís going on between them.
everybody knows theyíre married and there can be a little bit of
frostiness between the two of them, but when they interact in front
of the rest of us, in front of Annie, in front of Jai, in front of Auggie, we canít see that. And thatís another instance where these
guys, theyíre able to compartmentalize in a way the me, personally,
Sendhil, Iím incapable of doing that.
I canít kind of
like say, okay, well, Iím doing this, but Iím going to shut this
out. Iím not very good at that, but all of these guys are very good
at that because itís their job. They wouldnít be doing what they
were doing if they were bad at it. So, as far as the tension, yeah,
heís there and Arthur has put him into the DPD, a place where heís
never been and didnít even clear it. I mean, Jai, as we saw in the
first episode I appeared in, Jai is the one who informs Joan that
Arthur put him in.
And we actually
did a different take of it where I was actually kind of ribbing her
a little bit about it, but looking back on it, Iím glad that they
didnít use that take because I donít think it was right at that
time. Thatís another thing, they were developing the character kind
of after they cast me, so the first few episodes I was kind of like,
okay, which direction am I going here? I donít want to make him too
And they were
very helpful, Matt and Chris the creators of our show, were very
helpful in holding my hand and kind of guiding me in the right
directly while they figured it all out and they have, luckily.
L. Lamoray How do you feel Jai will
develop as the series continues?
S. Ramamurthy I think for the first time
Jai starts to have second thoughts; not second thoughts, but he
starts to realize that okay, maybe this deception thing is a lot
more tricky and a lot more difficult and affects people in a
different, sometimes adverse way than he thought and I donít think
he actually really thought about it that much and there are certain
things, the relationship with Annie; there is one thing, in
particular, that happens in I think itís the eighth or the ninth
episode where I kind of made a choice.
conversation between Jai and Annie where they kind of mention past
relationships and I think that thereís a past relationship in Jaiís
life that deeply affected him and I donít think it ended up the way
that he wanted it to end up and I think that Iíd like to see that
explored a little bit more as to why heís able to connect with Annie
in the way that he does. I donít know if that will be this season
or not. I donít know if there will be the time to do that, but I
hope in subsequent seasons, should we be lucky to get one, or two or
three or four or five, I hope thatís something that we can look
Moderator The next question comes
from the line of Lisa Poirier with PopCultureMadness.com.
L. Poirier What was one of your
favorite on set moments from Covert Affairs so far?
S. Ramamurthy Well, the actual filming
stuff, the parkour stuff was the coolest thing for me. That was a
lot of fun. I really enjoy the physical aspects of this part for
me, in general. Iíd love to have a really good fight sequence,
which may or may not be happening. I canít say. But the
hand-to-hand combat, that kind of stuff is something that would be
really interesting to me and Iíd like to see that kind of explored a
little bit more.
But the parkour
was fun and then kind of the offset moments. I mean like me and
Chris Gorham and Piper Perabo have actually become really tight. We
genuinely enjoy each otherís company and we hang out quite a bit up
here in Toronto and from a non-work point of view, thatís been
something thatís been really fun.
Iíve been so
lucky to work with a cast on Heroes that I was so close to and we
all got along really well and we all hung out together and weíre
still all in touch. They all sent me e-mails when I got Covert
Affairs and Jack texted me this morning saying congratulations about
the numbers from Tuesday and it was a really tight cast and Iíve
managed somehow, I donít know how, to land on another show with a
cast thatís just as tight.
And I just
really enjoy both Chris and Piper and Kari. Kari and I donít have a
ton to do together yet, but hopefully thatíll come and when Peter is
up here and Greg as well, itís a really nice bunch of people to work
with and Iím really enjoying that aspect of it, too, because itís
nice to be at work. When youíre at work for 17 hours with people
itís a good thing when you get along with them.
L. Poirier What other upcoming
projects do you have, besides more Covert Affairs?
S. Ramamurthy I did a movie called Itís a
Wonderful Afterlife. It was written and directed by Gurinder
Chadha, who did Bend It Like Beckham. And itís released in the U.K.
already and I believe a U.S. release is happening towards the end of
And then I did
another film called Shor, which I actually shot in Mumbai in January
and February. Itís like a really gritty crime drama. It kind of
follows my characterís descent into a kind of hell, if you like.
And that was probably the hardest thing Iíve ever done, just
shooting, the physical toll of it was enormous. The heat, I was
shooting in the largest slum in Mumbai for a lot of it and it was,
again, just a very different experience for me and working with a
whole different crew and a whole different culture of filmmaking and
Iím really excited for that. I think thatís going to be released in
Moderator The next question is
from the line of Karen Basista with 2Cents.com.
K. Basista You talk about all
this tension that Jai just causes at the CIA and my question is
there is a lot that I noticed between him and Auggie and with both
of you being so flirtatious is a girl involved as far as why he
dislikes you so much?
S. Ramamurthy I think when two guys have
that much friction itís a pretty safe assumption. Only a woman
could do that. But, again, what I like about what the writers have
done in subsequent episodes, there are kind of events that happen
that make Jai and Auggie work together. And they actually, believe
it or not, they work together really well.
Theyíre able to
bounce off of each other and get ideas off of each other. The
episode weíre shooting right now, actually, Jai and Auggie get
together for a very important reason. So, while there is that
friction, and also, a lot of the friction just simply comes from the
fact that Jai is Henry Wilcoxís son. A lot of that comes from
that. Henry was, again, this will come out in Tuesdayís episode so
I wonít give too much away, but a lot of things that Henry did
caused him to have a certain reputation and I think everybody at the
CIA assumes that Jai must be cut from that same cloth.
wanting to try too hard, because Jai is a Yalie and an alpha male
and all of that and doesnít feel like he has to prove himself to
anybody, I think underneath he wants everybody to know that he is
not Henry Wilcox, heís not that guy.
Heís very good
at what he does and Henry was very good at what he does, but I think
thatís where the similarities kind of stop. Heís nowhere near as
Machiavellian as Henry Wilcox is and I think everybody at the
beginning thinks he is. And as the season goes on weíll see how
that perception of Jai changes or doesnít change.
K. Basista I had some help from
Chris Gorham to ask this question. He suggested that I ask if there
was going to be a Heroes movie and can Gorham be in it?
S. Ramamurthy Can Gorham be in it? You
know what, if thereís a Heroes movie, Iím guaranteeing that weíll
get Gorham in it. Right here, you heard it here first. I donít
know if thereís going to be a Heroes movie. Iíd love for there to
be one. I think that it would be great for the fans to have the
story wrapped up properly because that finale was a season finale;
that was not a series finale and I feel like we owe it to the fans
who were incredibly loyal and supportive of us through all the ups
and downs of Heroes, it would be nice to do it for them to have some
sort of closure.
I donít know if
itís going to happen. If Iím being 100% honest, I donít see how it
can, just scheduling-wise itís going to be really, really
difficult. But if anybody can do it Tim Kring will pull it together
Moderator The next question is
from the line of Christina Kovar with Maverick Media.
C. Kovar Weíve already seen
Piper with a lot of accent and language work. Are you looking for
that with Covert Affairs? Have you actually already done some
languages and some accents that we get to hear?
S. Ramamurthy Boy, thatís a tough one to
answer. There might be some accent stuff coming up. Iím not sure,
to be honest, because there are some rewrites going on right now,
but itís a possibility.
As far as
languages go, I havenít had to explore my unfortunately incredibly
limited language skills. Piper has a really great facility for
languages. Sheís great with it. But me, Iím not so great with it,
so if they happen to be reading this, the writers, and read this,
they should feel free not to give me any language stuff. Accents
Iím good with; languages not so much.
C. Kovar If you were to put your
iPod on shuffle right now and press play, whatís the most
embarrassing song that would come up?
S. Ramamurthy Wow, thatís a great question
because I have a shared iPod with my wife. I actually had it on
shuffle just now in the gym and Iím trying to think what came on.
Oh, whatís that guy, it was an Enrique Iglesias song, which I would
usually probably never listen to, but it popped on. And I am not
ashamed to admit that I listened to it all the way through. I did
not fast forward it.
Moderator The next question is
from the line of Clyde Johnson with SpoilersTV.com.
C. Johnson I love the character of
Jai. I was wondering will we learn more about him through action
scenes or more like in the office.
S. Ramamurthy You kind of learn, I think,
personallyóthis is just my own personal viewóI think you learn the
most about Jai when heís out in the field with Annie. Because there
are times in the field where you have a little downtime and you just
have a little chat. And I think those are the times where you see,
where you learn more about Jai.
Now, what makes
that more tricky is the audience already knows what Jai, like one of
his missions is to get close to Jai, so when heís talking to Annie
and kind of revealing stuff about himself or trying to find out
stuff about her, how much of it is real and how much of it is part
of his mission and thatís, again, thatís been the tricky thing for
me is how much to give away in these conversations that I have with
And itís kind of
the most fascinating and difficult and frustrating part of playing
the character, which I love all three of those things. Like, itís a
good thing to have all those things happen in one character when
youíre playing it because you donít want it to be easy. You donít
want it to be a cakewalk, like something you could do standing on
your head. Iím having to work really hard at it.
C. Johnson Since you came to the
show kind of late, how long did it take you to find your groove, to
be relaxed on the show and everything like that?
S. Ramamurthy To be honest, like probably
not until the sixth episode. Yeah, it took a while because, you
know, they were forming the character as we were shooting it really
because, again, the character was a different person before. This
character is fulfilling the same role and has a lot of the same
character traits as the Conrad character from the pilot, but it is a
And so, once
they cast me they were actually kind of writing the character to fit
me, Sendhil Ramamurthy, and so that took a little bit of time and
there are definitely some growing pains and there are a couple of
things that I look back and I think, oh God, I wish I had done that
because now I know this and I would have done it differently, but
thatís just the way it goes in series television and I just feel
fortunate to be a part of it and all that stuff gets ironed out and
I think it takes a few episodes to settle in because in that second
episode and the third episode where I appear, I think I only worked
one day on the second episode and I think I worked three days on the
third episode. It took me a while to find my groove, definitely.
Moderator The next question comes
from the line of Michelle St. James with Daemonís TV.
M. St. James Iím wondering why Arthur
chose you to get close to Annie. Does Jai have some sort of history
with the mysterious Ben Mercer that makes him a good choice? Or is
it just that he is so good at getting under other peopleís skin and
is such a good operative in his own right?
S. Ramamurthy Arenít you a clever girl,
Michelle. Iím not going to answer that question in any way that
youíre going to find satisfying. Iím going to just say that upfront
right now, but yes. Thatís my answer. Thereís a lot, like I said,
thereís a lot there, which is why Iím so excited to play the
character. My parents, actually, were talking to me the other day
and they were like, ďWhat the hell is your guy doing? I donít
understand. Whatís happening? Heís like kind of there, but not
And I was just
like, ďJust relax. Itíll come out.Ē And, again, thatís probably
one of the frustrating things for viewers of series television is
you want all the answers right away, but then you donít. You want
something more and from a writerís point of view, they donít want to
burn through too much story. Theyíve got to crank out 13 episodes.
So, the one
thing I would say is itís a very slow burn for the Jai Wilcox
character and as far as, you can probably tell how much Iím trying
not to answer your question, there are definitely things in Jaiís
background and what he was doing prior to arriving at Langley that
make him a really, well, the only choice to be dealing with Annie
and the Ben Mercer situation.
M. St. James Is the spying leak story
line going to be wrapped up soon, or is that going throughout the
S. Ramamurthy That is something that I
think definitely kind of goes through and it grows in importance
throughout the entire season. And I donít even know whether it will
be resolved or not resolved by the end of the season. Again, should
we be lucky enough to go more seasons, it could be something that is
If you could
read the 12th episode, which is sitting on my kitchen table right
here and Iím looking at it, you would know that thereís an opening
there for it to continue should the writers decide to go in that
Moderator The next question comes
from the line of Rosa Cordero with Accidental Sexiness.
R. Cordero For the record, I
tweeted out that you said that Chris Gorham would be in the Heroes
movie. He just re-tweeted it for the win, so heís very excited.
S. Ramamurthy Oh, good. Now Iím going to
have people from NBC calling me saying, ďWhat the Ö are you doing?Ē
Iím going to be getting e-mails from Tim Kring in about five
minutes. My BlackBerry is going to light up.
R. Cordero Well, weíre really
enjoying seeing Chris and your co-star Ann Dudek and Peter
Gallagher. Theyíre all on Twitter. We only hear about you through
Wendy Lynn. So, when are you going to make the move to Twitter? We
want to hear from you.
S. Ramamurthy You can hear from me by
talking to me right now. The Internet scares me. Iím not very
Internet savvy, to be honest. Iím not very computer savvy. Iím not
a big Web surfer. Itís just not something I do. I canít see why
anybody would be interested in what Iím doing during my day. Like
Iím having a coffee at the coffee shop; like, who cares?
R. Cordero Well, we care, like when
youíre listening to Enrique Iglesias at the gym.
S. Ramamurthy After I said that, I just
realized what a giant mistake that was because I shall never hear
the end of that.
R. Cordero And I sent it out to Twitterverse, so Iím sorry.
S. Ramamurthy Of course you would. I
would be disappointed if you didnít, quite frankly. Because thatís
a nice embarrassing bit of detail. But no, I wouldnít count on
seeing me on Twitter any time soon. But what I do do, if I have
something that I, on the rare occasions when I do have something
that I want tweetered, how do you say it?
R. Cordero Tweeted.
S. Ramamurthy Tweeted. On the rare
occasion when I want something tweeted out I pop Wendy a text and
she tweets it out for me.
R. Cordero Okay, well, maybe youíll
change your mind in the future, but weíre loving you on the show.
S. Ramamurthy Well, thank you very much
and maybe I will change my mind. You never know; you can sometimes
teach an old dog new tricks.
R. Cordero Yes, Iím going to have a
chat with Chris. Iím sure he can get you going.
S. Ramamurthy Oh, heís been working on me
and Piper already, donít you worry about that.
Moderator The next question is
from the line of Scotty Coppage with Cinemaniac.
S. Coppage How much access do you
guys have with the real CIA?
S. Ramamurthy The guys who did the pilot
had access to the CIA. Like I said, I didnít do the pilot so I had
no access to the CIA. I had questions, obviously, once I came on
board and through Piper and Chris who had had; Valerie Plame, was
our CIA advisor on the pilot, and so they had access to her and were
able to ask her all sorts of questions.
And I know that
Piper went to the CIA before starting shooting of the pilot and met
with them and got to meet with a CIA agent that was her age who was
kind of her and got to ask her questions to help her with the role.
And thatís one of the disadvantages. Youíre certainly at a
disadvantage coming into a show and not being in the pilot. Iím not
going to sit here and pretend that youíre not.
hard to come in, and my character is really coming in the fourth or
fifth episode of the season and so it makes your job a little bit
more difficult, but challenge is good. Iím into that. And,
hopefully, should we get another season I already spoke to the
creators of the show, Matt and Chris, and said I would love actually
some access to the CIA to be able to speak to somebody or to go down
there, especially for this character because he is CIA royalty.
Itís his second
home. Heís been surrounded by the CIA from birth really and it
would be really helpful to me to have that time at the CIA, but I
flew straight from London from the premiere of my movie to start
shooting on Covert Affairs. There was just no time from the time I
was cast to starting shooing on Covert Affairs to meet with them.
S. Coppage Have you done any
research or do you want to do any research on CIA just to help get
your character beefed up or anything?
S. Ramamurthy Yes, we have definitely done
all that and learned. The CIA is about protocol and so a lot of the
questions that weíll have are about the protocol. Okay, what would
a CIA operative be doing in this situation? What are the steps?
Everything has to be run up the ladder, you know, run up the flag
post and what are the steps to get what you need done? Even the
littlest things, you can call it bureaucracy I guess if you want.
There are certain things that need to be done and Jai is very
conscious of the hierarchy at the CIA, of the protocol of the CIA
and I think, and this is one thing, another thing one of the
bloggers asked me this question.
Itís one of the
things Iíd like to see explored in future episodes and seasons, is
Jaiís pretty by the numbers as far as following the rules and all
that and Iíd like to see there be some instances where heís faced
with maybe having to do something, that yes is ďwrongĒ but will
accomplish something that he knows is right and Iíd love to see what
decision he makes and how he goes about making it to do that. And I
hope thatís something that we get to explore and it may be something
that we get to see in the finale. We just got some pink pages, so
weíll see. Itís something I brought up already, so weíll see.
D. Christiansen At this time we are going
to take one last question. Thank you.
Moderator And that question is a
follow-up from the line of Curt Wagner with RedEyeís Show Patrol.
C. Wagner So you say itís a very
physical role, are you going to find that Jai has any kind of super
S. Ramamurthy I think Iím done with that
for a while. Iím very grateful to the sci-fi fan base for all the
support that theyíve given me and Heroes throughout the past few
years, but I think Iím going to pump the brakes a little bit on the
sci-fi super strengths, walking through walls, being indestructible
cheer leader, which I tend to be on my days off and take a step back
and try and be a kick ass CIA operative for a while; kick ass spy
sounds like a nice little change.
C. Wagner A Twitter follower asked
why you were sporting a professor beard last year? They were
S. Ramamurthy Professor beard?
C. Wagner Now, I donít know if
thatís true or not, but they apparently saw some photo of you in a
S. Ramamurthy I did grow a beard there for
a while. Oh, professor as in my character on Heroes. There was a
whole storyline that I kind of pitched for Dr. Suresh to the writers
of Heroes and Iím not going to go into it. It involved being a
mountain man with a grisly beard and I thought it was really fun and
cool. They didnít and I showed up on the set and they were like,
ďShave immediately.Ē And thatís kind of what happened. And I
actually did press where I said that the beard was part of the story
before they wrote it so that they would be forced to write it and
they so werenít forced to write anything. Theyíre like, ďSendhil,
go to make up and have Wendy shave you. Thatís it.Ē
D. Christiansen Ladies and gentlemen, that
will conclude todayís session. Iíd like to once again thank Sendhil
for joining us and remind everyone to tune into an all new episode
this Tuesday, August 10th at 10/9 Central on USA Network.
another quick reminder. There will be a transcript sent out of this
call within the next 24 to 48 hours from myself or Electric
Artists. Thanks, again, everyone and enjoy your weekend.
S. Ramamurthy Thanks a lot, everyone.
Thanks for chatting and please come and visit the set soon,
hopefully on a day when Iím there.
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