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!
Caesar’s Reign Comes To The Big Screen With New Trailer For Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes
Director Wes Ball breathes new life into the global, epic franchise set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign, in which apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows. As a new tyrannical ape leader builds his empire, one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all that he has known about the past and to make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is directed by Wes Ball (the “Maze Runner” trilogy) and stars Owen Teague (“IT”), Freya Allan (“The Witcher”), Kevin Durand (“Locke & Key”), Peter Macon (“Shameless”), and William H. Macy (“Fargo”). The screenplay is by Josh Friedman (“War of the Worlds”) and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) and Patrick Aison (“Prey”), based on characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, and the producers are Wes Ball, Joe Hartwick, Jr., p.g.a. (“The Maze Runner”), Rick Jaffa, p.g.a., Amanda Silver, p.g.a., Jason Reed, p.g.a. (“Mulan”), with Peter Chernin (the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy) and Jenno Topping (“Ford v. Ferrari”) serving as executive producers.
Masterchef Is Back! For Halo Season 2
A quick recap – Halo is set in a war-torn 26th century, where humanity led by the United Nations Space Command or UNSC and their supersoldiers known as Spartans, fights against the onslaught of the alien conglomerate known as the Covenant. The full dust-up of Halo Season 1, can be found here. Onward into the introduction of Halo Season 2!
It’s been six months since the forced separation of Spartan Masterchief John (Pablo Schreiber) and Cortana (Jen Taylor), and the Silver Team has been sent on a mission to evacuate residents of the planet Sanctuary before the Covenant glasses the whole thing. This comes with its own set of challenges, given the resistance of the planet’s inhabitants, and it doesn’t help that Masterchef starts seeing things right in the middle of trying to save some marines. Or is he? Those energy swords the squad of Elites were carrying looked worryingly real.
Back on Reach, the Silver Team is entirely dismayed to learn they have a brand new Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) representative come in as the new boss, to finally replace the traitorous Halsey, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan). And of course, Ackerson manages to immediately get under Masterchief’s skin, by not only expressing far too much interest in John’s relationship with Cortana but also apparently disbelieving of John’s report of his encounters on Sanctuary. That just means Masterchief has to go around, if not entirely over, Ackerson’s head.
Elsewhere, Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) is trolling the slave markets in his boredom, only to stumble across a soon-to-be indentured servant who claims he knows the whereabouts of the UNSC’s most hunted human, Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). That should bring a huge bounty, but really, Soren should’ve known better by now.
Halo Season 2 premieres Thursday, February 8th, 2024, and will continue to air every Thursday, only on Paramount+!
Reborn as a Vending Machine I Now Wander the Dungeon’: I look forward to your next use!
If the title of this delightful little isekai anime entry didn’t give it all away, our nameless protagonist is a vending machine fanatic who, after being killed by a vending machine, gets reincarnated in another fantasy-style world as one!
Japan has a tendency to give birth to all sorts of crazed fads that can last for decades, and no one does better when it comes to the vending machine industry, too. These days there are vending machines that will serve you sushi you can actually eat, hot pizza in the box, wagyu steaks, freshly popped popcorn, and a whole mind-boggling array of tasty treats, and other non-edible but still useful items! Umbrellas! Condoms! Oxygen masks, sterile bandages, shoes, and emergency clothing! Actually, far more things that we use on an everyday basis, could be considered as technically a vending machine, and the anime explores that beautifully. Into the world of vending machine fanaticism, we dive!
So our poor protagonist never gave a name, and inevitably when he’s discovered by his first official friend the starving hunter Lammis, she dubs him “Boxxo”. Like many isekai that seem to take inspiration from video games and RPGs, Boxxo discovers he ways he can communicate, level up his existence, and even evince magic-like powers and attack and defend against monsters and enemies. Though in the beginning, and as an underlying theme throughout the show, Boxxo is primarily concerned with providing unique never-before-tasted-in-this-world food and drink to the amazed folk, human and otherwise.
Boxxo’s prices are entirely reasonable and hey, he can even choose to give out his wares for free on occasion, so his popularity immediately skyrockets. Lammis with her awkward charm and prodigious strength blessing, introduces Boxxo to other friends of Clearflow Lake Village and associates along the way – Director Bear, an actual bear-monster who’s the head of the Hunters Association; Lammis’ friend Hulemy, the insane genius magic item engineer; the Bearcats Suco, Pell, Short and Mikenne, cheerful hunters with astronomic appetites; even suspicious Kerioyl, leader of the Menagerie of Fools party.
The show approaches the practicality and versatility of the true vending machine with amusement, but also with the love true fans display for things they’re passionate about. Certainly, things like a brothel needing a condom vending machine exist in our world, but to toss them into a potentially more innocent other-world isekai is a welcome and often hilarious treat. The show celebrates the cheerful idiocy and devotion of the fans to their chosen fandom, in this case, yes vending machines, but also the spirit of the lonely otaku finally finding their Tribe!
Pay your coins to watch ‘Reborn as a Vending Machine’ on Crunchyroll now!