Interview: Anjli Mohindra on ‘Dark Heart’ & ‘Bodyguard’

ANJLI MOHINDRA has recently starred in the BBC smash-hit thriller ‘Bodyguard’, with a pivotal role at the center of the series which gripped British audiences to the edge of their seats. The show (written by the creator of ‘Line Of Duty’) has since become the most-watched UK drama in a decade, positioning Anjli as a rising star.

After landing her first major TV role a decade ago in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ (CBBC), Anjli has had supporting roles in several television dramas including ‘Cucumber’ (Channel 4), ‘Paranoid’ (Netflix), ‘The Boy with The Topknot’ (BBC Two) and ‘Bancroft’ (ITV).

Anjli is about to star alongside Tom Riley in ITV crime drama ‘Dark Heart’. Alongside this, she will lead the cast with award-winning actor Simon Callow, of BBC Four’s forthcoming ghost story ‘The Dead Room’ – written and directed by Mark Gatiss.

We caught up with Anjli Mohindra to talk about her recent roles as an actress.

AC: Let’s talk about ‘Bodyguard’ – what a twist! Going into it, how much did you know about your character?

ANJLI MOHINDRA: I knew there was a twist – and was told there was more ‘more to her than meets the eye’. I guessed she might be complicit in some way but what I did know from the scripts I had was that some internal police parties were at the heart of it all too.

What do you look for in a script?

A challenge! A layered character who feels three-dimensional and whose intentions aren’t immediately obvious. Or really beautiful and intricate characters who go on an adventure. If I feel a little bit intimidated by the research and preparation involved in bringing the character to life then I know it’s going to stretch me in some way!


You’re also starring in ITV’s ‘Dark Heart’ – what can you tell us about the show?

‘Dark Heart’ follows the journey of Detective Will Wagstaffe as he gets to the bottom of a series of grueling murders happening in London. He’s incredible at his job but he’s really consumed by the mysterious deaths of his own parents when he was a child, and so the three strong women in his life; his partner in (fighting!) crime, his on/off girlfriend and his sister, prop him up in ways he can’t even see, and enable him to fight not only the demons of London, but the ones in his own heart too.

How does your character fit into the story?

I’m his second in command – Detective Josie Chancellor!


Can you tell us about your role in ‘The Dead Room’?

I play Tara Lohia, an ambitious and no-nonsense radio director who wants to crack on with the recording an audiobook to meet a very tight deadline, but much to her annoyance the main actor of the radio drama – Aubrey Judd (played by Simon Callow) is playing up and revelling in his own world and causing havoc. But all is not quite as it seems…

What was it like being directed by Mark Gatiss?

Oh an absolute dream! He’s a wonderful human being and so brilliant at what he does. And I’m a big fan of ‘Sherlock’, so yes it was a real pinch-me moment.

Next year, you have a guest role in DC Comics’ ‘Legends Of Tomorrow’ – is this your first role for American television?

Yes. And I loved every single minute! I don’t want to give too much away but I play a trouble-making true-punk from the sixties and had a Mo Hawk, serious Doc Martens and fishnets.

What kind of stories do you find yourself attracted to?

I’ve never really thought about that! I guess I’m most attracted to stories that bring the unexpected. I also love stories where a character goes on a voyage of discovery and learns things about themselves they never knew existed, because I think it reflects a bit of all of us, in life, as we continue to grow and evolve.

Catch Anjli Mohindra in ‘Dark Heart’, starting October 31 on ITV

PHOTOGRAPHY: MONTANA LOWERY

INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES

STYLING: HOLLY OUNSTEAD

MAKEUP: ADELE SANDERSON (FRANK AGENCY)

HAIR: STEFAN BERTIN (FRANK AGENCY)

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Interview: Tyler Alvarez on ‘American Vandal’ & ‘Orange Is The New Black’

From the streets of the Bronx to the steps of Hollywood, 20-year-old TYLER ALVAREZ has positioned himself as the ‘one to watch’ as he stars in the lead role of hit Netflix series ‘American Vandal’ for a second season. The show is a true crime satire that explores the aftermath of a costly high school prank. The new season of ‘American Vandal’ – which has just launched on Netflix – is being praised by critics for its subtle humor and engrossing plot, citing Tyler’s performance as having an incredible sense of authenticity. Tyler recently also had a role in another acclaimed Netflix show, as fan-favorite Benny Mendoza in ‘Orange Is The New Black’.

AC: What was it like growing up in the Bronx?

TYLER ALVAREZ: I felt a real sense of community when I lived there. I hung out with all the kids on the block and was a real “stoop kid”. We would play kickball in the street during the day, and manhunt at night.

Where do you feel most at home now, in New York or Los Angeles?

LA. I have created such a fun and exciting life for myself that all really takes place here. NY is my home and will always be at my core. However, it’s tough being away from family for such long periods of time. Definitely miss the sense of family being in NY and the free food that comes along with it. But my hearts in LA.

Tyler Alvarez

What do you think fans can expect from this new season of ‘American Vandal’?

In season two, we see Peter and Sam solving a new crime at St. Bernadine Catholic high school where the Turd burglar is terrorizing the students, tainting the cafeteria lemonade causing everyone to poop uncontrollably. The stakes of this crime are way higher than anything we have done before. It is by far Peter’s most challenging case to date.

With your role in ‘Orange Is The New Black’, you work alongside some more mature actors. Who would you say that you learn from the most?

I have learned the most from Selenis [Leyva] who plays my mom on the show. What I’ve picked up on, is how active her and the rest of the cast’s imaginations are. As if it was taffy that they had been pulling at for years. Also, the constant grace and humility that the ‘Orange Is The New Black’ cast demonstrates daily. One of the stars helped me carry my lunch back to my dressing room one time, because of course I had over dosed at the crafty table, and it was a simple gesture, but it meant a lot to me being such a such a small fish in this big sea that is ‘Orange Is The New Black’. Everyone really made me feel comfortable from day one on that set.

Tyler Alvarez

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

That anything is attainable. No matter who you are or what circumstances lie in your way. If you have confidence in yourself, you will succeed. Sometimes I have to remind myself of that.

Comparing both ‘Orange Is The New Black’ and ‘American Vandal’ – is the vibe on the sets completely different?

They are the same but different. Creative, family like cast. The topics we are tackling are especially different. On ‘American Vandal,’ we are satirizing a lot of serious topics, but we’re laughing at ourselves at the same time, so there is a certain levity that comes along with that. The topics that ‘Orange Is The New Black’ tackles are a lot more sensitive, so there is a lot more respect in the air that creates the environment for actors to bring these kinds of stories to life. But ‘American Vandal’ is my home.

Tyler Alvarez

How much can you tell us about your upcoming film ‘The Pretenders’?

I play Doug, a kid in college who wants to be an artist. He goes on a journey of self-discovery while facing college life and the social constraints of the 80s. For this role I was able to really transform physically. Transforming is by far one my favorite parts of the process. I hope people recognize me!

What was it like being directed by James Franco?

James is a real actor’s director and has a lot of passion in everything he does. While filming ‘The Pretenders,’ he would host a screening of a French Noir film every night after wrap so that we all really got a sense of what we were going after, since there are a lot of homages to French Noir films. He really adds inspiration to a working experience.

Tyler Alvarez

QUICK QUESTIONS WITH TYLER ALVAREZ

What’s the strangest food combo you’ve ever had?

Oh god. Hot sauce and eggos. I don’t recommend it, actually maybe I do.

Everyone has a cool app idea, what’s yours?

I can’t tell you about it because of the Non-Disclosure Agreement.

Is there a sport you wish you could play?

Heck no. I’ll stay inside in the AC, thank you very much! [laughs]

Are you supporting a football team?

Giants

Do you have a philosophy?

Don’t sweat the small stuff because it’s all small stuff (I’m not very good at it though).

What’s the last film you watched?

The Seven Five

If you had one superpower, what would it be?

Fly

What’s the last photograph you took?

A cave from my vacation in Greece.

Is there thing in particular that you’re really excited about for the future?

Flying cars

Tyler Alvarez

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PHOTOGRAPHY: LESLIE ALEJANDRO

INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES

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ANTONIO JARAMILLO didn’t know he wanted to be an actor, but now after more than a decade in Hollywood – he has guest starred in some of the most popular shows on television from ‘The Mentalist’ to ‘Arrested Development’ to ‘Outlaw’.

The Mexican-born actor is currently starring in the ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ spin-off ‘Mayans MC’ on FX Network, a two-wheel tale set only a few years after the events of the original series. Antonio is part of an ensemble that includes acting giants like Edward James Olmos. 

AC: When did you realize that you wanted to become an actor?

ANTONIO: Honestly, I never thought that I would become an actor; but I did! And I am so grateful for it because it has given me a sense of self, a profession, and a wonderful life! Art found me and it saved me. When I stumbled upon the great plays of Anton Chekhov, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Clifford Odets, David Mamet and so many others; I was hooked!

You’ve guest starred in some of the biggest shows on television, what has it been like to finally land a leading role?

Well, I am extremely happy to be a part of the cast of FX’s ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ spin-off show ‘Mayans MC’! Not sure I would describe the role as a lead because the show is an ensemble type of show with a bunch of great actors but I do hope that Michael ‘Riz’ Ariza becomes one of the fan favorites!

Tell us about ‘Mayans MC’, how does it differ from ‘Sons Of Anarchy’?

All of you fans of ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ know exactly what to expect from Kurt Sutter! Well, expect that and then multiply it by one-hundred and then add some fresh jalapeños on top of that and that is what ‘Mayans MC’ will be sexy, cool and badass!

How does your character ‘Riz’ fit into the story?

Michael “Riz” Ariza is the secretary in the club which means he keeps an eye on all the green that comes in and oversees all the green that goes out and tracks whatever is spent on covering expenses and the costs of running our biz!

Do you own a motorcycle yourself?

I don’t personally have one right now but I am seriously considering getting one. Although, I’m not sure how often I would get to ride it because I have to go get my baby girl from school three days out of the week. So it’s much easier to jump in my jeep! But man, I do enjoy riding my Harley on set!

If you did, how would it be customized?

I love the Street King which is the same type of bike my character rides on the show or the new Fat Bob is pretty hot too.

Do you have any funny stories from on-set?

There are so many funny stories! I think we have too much fun on set. They have to constantly tell us to shut up and focus or as Kurt likes to say “don’t fuck it up”.

Is it true that you train wild animals?

I do train wild animals at home! I also have these huge stuffed animals – a white polar bear and a lion and I like to get them to do tricks but they never do. But I do keep them pretty quiet!

You’ve been working in Hollywood for almost fifteen years now, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

I don’t recall any particular advice that I have been given, but I work in the theatre a lot and I enjoy watching my peers do their thing! Especially the older, seasoned actors. You can learn so much if you truly observe and keep your mouth shut. Although, I do love the Winston Churchill quote – “if you are going through hell, keep going”.

PHOTOGRAPHY: STORM SANTOS

INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES

STYLING: CASSY MEIER (Some pieces also provided by V22LA)

GROOMING: EMILY ZEMPEL

LOCATION: V22LA

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