Covert Affairs Interview/Podcast: Sendhil Ramamurthy Talks About Working on Covert Affairs Part 2

This is part 2 of the round-table interview with Sendhil Ramamurthy about his role as Jai Wilcox in the new USA Network series, Covert Affairs on Tuesdays on 10/9 PM. This series is sort of like Alias meets La Femme Nikita but more modern and definitely with some sass. Annie is a newbie agent with CIA and is walking a minefield of intrigue on assignments and in the office. The trick is can she handle this high-wire balancing act in the field and in her personal life as well as in the office as she learns who all the players are and what are the hidden (or not-so-hidden) agendas of the various people she works with.

Moderator The next question comes from the line of Lisa Poirier with

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. I’d love to have a really good fight sequence, which may or may not be happening. I can’t say. But the hand-to-hand combat, that kind of stuff is something that would be really interesting to me and I’d 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 other’s company and we hang out quite a bit up here in Toronto and from a non-work point of view, that’s been something that’s been really fun.

I’ve 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 we’re 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 I’ve managed somehow, I don’t know how, to land on another show with a cast that’s just as tight.

And I just really enjoy both Chris and Piper and Kari. Kari and I don’t have a ton to do together yet, but hopefully that’ll come and when Peter is up here and Greg as well, it’s a really nice bunch of people to work with and I’m really enjoying that aspect of it, too, because it’s nice to be at work. When you’re at work for 17 hours with people it’s 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 It’s a Wonderful Afterlife. It was written and directed by Gurinder Chadha, who did Bend It Like Beckham. And it’s released in the U.K. already and I believe a U.S. release is happening towards the end of this year.

And then I did another film called Shor, which I actually shot in Mumbai in January and February. It’s like a really gritty crime drama. It kind of follows my character’s descent into a kind of hell, if you like. And that was probably the hardest thing I’ve 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 I’m really excited for that. I think that’s going to be released in October..

Moderator The next question is from the line of Karen Basista with

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 it’s 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.

They’re able to bounce off of each other and get ideas off of each other. The episode we’re 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 Wilcox’s son. A lot of that comes from that. Henry was, again, this will come out in Tuesday’s episode so I won’t 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.

And without wanting to try too hard, because Jai is a Yalie and an alpha male and all of that and doesn’t feel like he has to prove himself to anybody, I think underneath he wants everybody to know that he is not Henry Wilcox, he’s not that guy.

He’s very good at what he does and Henry was very good at what he does, but I think that’s where the similarities kind of stop. He’s nowhere near as Machiavellian as Henry Wilcox is and I think everybody at the beginning thinks he is. And as the season goes on we’ll see how that perception of Jai changes or doesn’t 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 there’s a Heroes movie, I’m guaranteeing that we’ll get Gorham in it. Right here, you heard it here first. I don’t know if there’s going to be a Heroes movie. I’d 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 don’t know if it’s going to happen. If I’m being 100% honest, I don’t see how it can, just scheduling-wise it’s going to be really, really difficult. But if anybody can do it Tim Kring will pull it together somehow.

This is a trailer of the 8/17 episode.

Moderator The next question is from the line of Christina Kovar with Maverick Media.

C. Kovar We’ve 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, that’s a tough one to answer. There might be some accent stuff coming up. I’m not sure, to be honest, because there are some rewrites going on right now, but it’s a possibility.

As far as languages go, I haven’t had to explore my unfortunately incredibly limited language skills. Piper has a really great facility for languages. She’s great with it. But me, I’m 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 I’m good with; languages not so much.

C. Kovar If you were to put your iPod on shuffle right now and press play, what’s the most embarrassing song that would come up?

S. Ramamurthy Wow, that’s a great question because I have a shared iPod with my wife. I actually had it on shuffle just now in the gym and I’m trying to think what came on. Oh, what’s 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.

Jai Wilcox played by Sendhil Ramamurthy

Moderator The next question is from the line of Clyde Johnson with

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.

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