Life is about to get very interesting for writer, director, actor Sugith Varughese as he takes on Steven Soderbergh new show The Girlfriend Experience. The seasoned Renaissance man plays a partner in the law firm of the main character and will be a driving force throughout the show. With over 80 credits to his name in films, TV programs, radio drama and theater, Varughese has been nominated for several prestigious Canadian film and television awards. Selling his first script at the age of 21, he has screenwriting credits for multiple episodes of the Muppet series “Fraggle Rock” among many others. He is best known for his role as ‘Faisal’ in the successful Canadian TV series “Little Mosque on the Prairie,” a sitcom now seen in over 85 countries and currently available on Hulu (as “Little Mosque”), “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” and films including Best of Both Worlds, Orphan and Mission to Mars.
Q:Were you a fan of Soderbergh’s film before you took the role?
I was and am a HUGE fan of Soderbergh’s work before I ever learned about this series. I have the original published version of his screenplay for Sex, Lies and Videotape and it kills me that I didn’t cross paths with him on the right day to try and get him to sign it! What I love about his films—beyond the tremendous range in style of story—are the performances. He understands how to work with actors and he’s able to cast them perfectly then let them do work they have never done. I’m thinking of Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in Behind the Candelabra and Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich, for example. Award-winning performances aren’t an accident in his movies.
Q:What sort of research did you do to prepare for the series?
I had very little time to prepare as I was cast in the part just a few days before we started filming. So I didn’t worry about the legal aspect of the character at all. I let the writing worry about that. I focused on what I could bring to the character that was uniquely me. Being the son of immigrants myself, I felt Tariq Barr would have a similar background and as such would not be in that job because of any old boys club. He’d have had to be twice as good as anyone else to get that position. That isn’t in the script per se, but it’s something I felt strongly about and so that coloured my approach. He is a touch arrogant because he knows that he is the smartest in the room. And he doesn’t even dress quite like the other lawyers. I spent a lot of time with our amazing costumer talking about him and she came up with little touches in my wardrobe to set him off in that light. For example, you might notice that I always wear a pocket square unlike the other lawyers. It’s the little things like that which enhance the storytelling, I think.
Q:As both an actor and a writer how do you approach a role like this?
I’m a journeyman actor and a journeyman scriptwriter and I’ve also directed short films. I’ve come to realize that they are all the same job: storytelling. But they use different tools. Acting requires a sense of self—what is the aspect of me that is the character? Because I’m a writer, I rely on the script to do the heavy lifting, so for the acting, I try and do the things that the script can’t do. For example, when I act, I find it really important to figure out how a character walks. The physical stuff, the wardrobe, the way you speak, if you can understand what makes sense in terms of the story, then distill them so that when you are acting, it all happens subconsciously, then I think you’re doing your job as an actor.
Q:What is your dream role?
I would kill to be in the new Star Trek series! Science Officer? Or even Captain? Time for a desi Captain of the Enterprise!
Q:Since you are an actor, writer, and director, do you have any interest in writing/directing an episode of the series?
Of course, I’d love to write and/or direct for the show. Mostly because of the chance to work with the incredible cast and crew again. You hear that a lot at awards where the cast and crew get thanked but believe me, this one was one of the best I’ve ever been a part of. I saw Paul Sparks at the premiere of the series in New York City and we both agreed that we missed the show. It was fun!
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm