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Oscar-Winning Composer Mychael Danna Talks Creating a Sound Reminiscent of the North Carolina Marshes

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While I don’t think that Where the Crawdads Sing sticks the landing despite Daisy Edgar-Jones’ great performance, what can’t be denied is just how good Mychael Danna’s score is. I recently interviewed Danna and his co-composer Harry Gregson-Williams for their Emmy-nominated film, Return to Space but had to check out Where the Crawdads Sing after Gregson-Williams gave it a ringing endorsement. I was so fortunate to speak with Danna once again about creating this fantastic score.

Where the Crawdads Sing follows Kya (Edgar-Jones), a lonely woman who has lived in the marshes of a small North Carolina town and is on trial after being accused of murdering her ex-boyfriend.

Danna’s score shines from the opening moments of the film until the very end. The usage of seashells and more traditional instruments, like a banjo, make for one of the year’s most unique scores. I listen to it daily while I write. Where the Crawdads Sing is performing well for a mid-budget drama, $63 million worldwide at the time of writing this, but if you’re at all on the fence about seeing the film, check it out for Danna’s incredible score if nothing else. A man can dream that this will garner another yet Oscar nomination for Danna, but we’ll save that conversation for the awards season.


Coastal House Media: After we last spoke and you talked about Where the Crawdads Sing and Harry [Gregson-Williams] endorsed your score for the film, I had to go out and see the film. Congratulations on it and it was by far my favorite part of the film — I’ve been listening to the score non-stop while I’m writing.

Mychael Danna: Oh, that’s really nice to hear. Thank you.

CHM: I’m sure you’re not asked about this too much, but do you have a favorite scene in the film or maybe even a scene where you really feel your score kind of comes through or enhances it?

Danna: For some reason, I really connected with the emotional side of it — it’s kind of moody. It’s centered the love of nature and the experience of nature. So yeah, the emotion of it is really conducive for writing music that. You’ve got [a] first love, you have heartbreak, [you have] suspense, and this huge arc of a lifetime. There’s something very emotional about it to me. It was really fun.

It’s funny, I actually saw it last night in the theater because my family went through a bunch of COVID so we couldn’t leave the house until yesterday — it’s pretty fresh in my mind. I don’t know if I could say I had a favorite scene, to be honest, there are a lot of places, but maybe the first kiss [or] the first time Tate goes to visit Kya’s little house. I think those are scenes that I nailed pretty nicely for whatever reason.

Young Kya (Jojo Regina) in front of the shack in Columbia Pictures’ Where the Crawdads Sing. Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.

The special thing to me about the score and the thing that was really kind of exciting was connecting the visual aspect and the setting with the musical use of the Conch and sea shells. The player that I used — Don Chilton — collects shells and Conches and things like that and plays them in this way that’s been [done] for thousands of years [but] he has taken it to the next level where he plays it like a horn — he’s a horn player — [and] he uses it like a French horn. I actually posted a video on my Instagram of him, if you want to see it, you can check that out. He uses his fist to kind of pitch it and so he can play pretty accurate melodies, which I’ve never seen a shell player do before. Usually, they just blow in it and [they] make a broad noise and that’s kind of all you get. But he does this and it’s just got this primordial, deep, haunting sound to it that, as soon as I saw the movie, I thought of it because I saw the shells, I saw her [Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones)] drawing shells and I thought, “Oh yeah, that’s the sound. This feels like this mysterious, deep marsh and it’s ancient and it’s a setting of life and death and this endless cycle.” So yeah, that’s the thing that I found really exciting was matching that Instrument with this story and this setting.

CHM: I think you really did nail the setting and I’m just curious, you live in LA now and I imagine you haven’t lived in North Carolina, so what was that research process like for you to create a score for that environment? Or was it just instinctual for you?

Danna: I certainly did research. I mean, they didn’t actually shoot it in North Carolina, or not much of it, but they did a lot of location work in North Carolina so they could get the look of it. So I looked at a lot of pictures and so on, but no, I’ve never been to North Carolina. I would love to, but I think the film captures the essence of the feeling of the place and that’s the thing I responded to [which is] the visual and the sonic information. There’s beautiful sound work of, you know, the insects, the birds and so on. I ultimately responded to what I saw on film [when] building this musical setting.

CHM: There are certain tracks where you hear the shells and that kind of natural sound that you’re talking about, but then there are others that have more of that “country” sound. I think I heard a banjo in there somewhere, but what inspired this part of the score?

Danna: There’s that Americana sound, so the simpler, folk-based music [with] the local folk instruments: The banjo, fiddle, autoharp. I play banjo really badly, which is perfect for the film in the sense that it sounds like a folk player when I play.

I have a catgut banjo, like an old-style, old-time banjo as they call it, so there’s a bit of that. [The] autoharp was really fun to play again; it’s a folky instrument and a guy who doesn’t really know what he’s doing like me can do a convincing performance that feels folky. And then obviously, there were really great players playing fiddle and so on [and] the symphony orchestra that we used. But yeah, I guess there are four elements of the score. There are the shells, there are the local folk instruments, there’s the symphony orchestra, and then there’s also these sonic textures which are all-natural, acoustic sounds but they sometimes sound electronic. So they’re natural acoustic sounds that are manipulated to really get into the “swamp sound” [and are] real dark, mysterious, somewhat intimidating, and obviously, the scene of a crime [which] has that darkness to it. And that’s this manipulated acoustic, mostly string, instruments actually.

CHM: We’ve talked about a few of those elements of the score, can you go a little deeper into the sonic textures that you’re talking about?

Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) in Columbia Pictures’ Where the Crawdads Sing. Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.

Danna: So, they’re mostly manipulated acoustic sounds, so they’re literally like a double bass that’s played, but in an unusual way like playing up above the fretboard or below the bridge and then slowing it down and so on like that.

Those dark tones are a little hard to identify what they are, but they just sound kind of organic, but also a little frightening, mysterious, and dark.

CHM: I was in an orchestra many years ago, and your mention of playing above the fretboard took me back to those days. Why exactly was I doing that? What sound is that technique trying to create?

Danna: Well, as you know as a string player, especially as a young string player, you fool around and try all kinds of things. I’m not a string player, really — I’m a real amateur — but I have instruments at my studio that I can play and do these unconservative things with. But yeah, it’s not all that groundbreaking or anything, those kinds of alternative techniques have been used by beginning string players since the beginning of time and have also been written into scores for a hundred years or so.

There are a lot of really interesting ways you take a bow and a cello. You can turn the cello backward, you can turn the bow backward, you can play where you’re not supposed to play, and the sounds are fantastic and again, it’s got that living sound to it because it’s a living instrument and it’s being played by a human being. [A] straight-up synthesizer seemed wrong for this particular film unlike the last thing we talked about [Return to Space], but this one just didn’t seem to have a place for it — we’re in a natural setting — so even if you’re going to have mysterious and unintelligible sounds, I wanted to have acoustic sources for those.

CHM: I probably should have asked this earlier when you were still on the topic of the shells, but is this the first time you’ve ever used those in one of your scores?

Danna: I think I used shells a couple of times but in more specific world settings. I think in India, they play the shell in a certain way. And it has certain religious significance as well in Hebrew culture in Israel. There’s also, very famously, another shell that’s played and again, it’s got cultural and religious significance, so those were played in the scores that I used them [and] where I played them how they’re supposed to be played in those cultures, which is not the way we did it here. As I said, Don [Chilton] has this whole technique where he literally can play notes whereas the kind of “old-world” versions of it are not played like that; they’re played like one long “call.”

Kya (Daisy Edgar-Jones) in Columbia Pictures’ Where the Crawdads Sing. Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures.

CHM: So that’s actually you playing the banjo on the actual record? Because now I’m going to listen to the whole album differently and I’m going to picture you playing the banjo. 

Danna: That is me! I’d show you the instrument [if I was] in the studio, but yeah, it is me, and as I said, I actually learned the claw hammer technique way long ago. When I was working on a civil war film with Ang Lee called Ride With the Devil, I used a really great banjo player, like a brilliant banjo player, [and] I wanted to be able to at least know how to play it so that I could write appropriately for it. So I think there are a couple of moments in Ride With the Devil where my banjo’s there, but it’s mostly this really fantastic player. I’ve played it very amateurly for decades. I love the sound of the old-time banjo, the gut strings.

CHM: You know, my dad has actually been learning to play the banjo. I don’t know what technique or what kind of banjo he has, but I just know he plays the banjo.

Danna: You’ll have to ask him. I’ll tell you, as a guy who played strings, maybe you played guitar or something…

CHM: Yes, I do.

Danna: You should, for fun, learn claw hammer because it’s the coolest thing because you learn. You can watch a YouTube video and it’s the weirdest thing you’re like, “How does this work?” and then you just keep practicing, and then suddenly, you’re doing it. You have this breakthrough and then you’re like, “That’s it.” It’s like riding a bike — you’ll never forget it. But it’s a really cool technique that’s worth checking into.

CHM: My penultimate question for you is: Are there any demos of the tracks from the score or anything that didn’t make it into the film? I listen to the score all of the time and just want more of it.

Danna: I don’t think really. I think there might be like two or three little ten-second cues that aren’t on the record, but really it’s pretty much all there really. You would probably be pretty surprised [with the demos]. Again, if I was at my studio, I’d reach over and press play, but you’d be surprised [to hear that] they sound pretty much exactly the same. Mockup strings sound pretty good, they’re just missing that final 20% of emotion and reality and bandwidth and surround-ness, but if you heard my mockups over Zoom, you probably wouldn’t really know the difference between [them] and the final version.

Things have to be mocked up really accurately these days. So you spend a lot of time [trying] to make it sound really like almost the way it will sound [in] the end — you kind of have to.

CHM: Last time I spoke to you, I asked you what you had if you were working on anything, but then where the crawdads came up — which was out at the time — and I don’t think I ever got an answer. Are you working on anything coming out soon?

Danna: Well, the last thing that my brother and I finished last week [was] a film called My Father’s Dragon. We did a film called The Breadwinner with Nora Twomey, I think it was about five years now, [and] is a really great film. [It’s] animated, but it’s a serious story about a young girl in Afghanistan under the Taliban — it’s a really beautiful film, we loved working with her [Twomey] and we just finished this other animated film for her called My Father’s Dragon, which I believe will be on Netflix this fall. We used a full orchestra at Abby Road [studios]; I think it’s [a] pretty great-sounding score.

Where the Crawdads Sing is in theaters now.

FILM RATING

Andrew is an entertainment journalist and film "critic" who has written for the likes of Above the Line, Below the Line, Collider, Film Focus Online, /Film and The Hollywood Handle among others. Leader of the Kaitlyn Dever Fanclub.

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Charlie Michael Baker: Journey of Autism, Social Media and Working with Kylie Jenner (EXCLUSIVE)

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Charlie Michael Baker and Kylie Jenner

At just 17, Charlie Michael Baker is giving his all to change the world. Baker is a renowned author, entrepreneur, actor, and journalist and he is on a mission to help millions of people suffering from autism. Charlie Michael Baker previously told Costal House Media he raised over £400,000 to help people with autism. He faced many challenges since childhood but his determination and perseverance were the key to his success.

Baker is a Social Media sensation with over 1.2M followers on Instagram. Charlie Michael Baker is one of the many influencers being bullied on social media every day. He receives 300-500 rape and death threats daily!

Charlie Michael Baker

Charlie Michael Baker

We had the honor to connect with Charlie Michael Baker. You can read our conversation below.

Nikita Pahwa: Congratulations on launching your new book! What can you tell us about it?

Charlie Michael Baker: So my new book is about social media, specifically, the dangers of social media. All young kids now want to grow up and be ‘famous’ but don’t know the bad side of it all. I was one of those kids, I’d always wanted to be famous, it’s something I’d always dreamed of!

NP: How do you deal with death and rape threats?

CMB: The short answer is, I don’t, really. I stopped reading my DMs a few months back because of it all. I don’t deal with negativity and there’s too many trolls to block each and every one, so they all just get ignored.

Charlie Michael Baker Social Media and I

Charlie Michael Baker Social Media and I (Photo: @kaybeephotography2 on Instagram)

NP: What advice would you give to people in similar situations?

CMB: I’d say don’t listen to them, do what I do and just don’t read them. It’s better that way. What you don’t see can’t hurt you!

NP: If you could say one thing to people sending you threats, what would it be?

CMB: Without ruining my career *lol* I’d say just to be a bit kinder. If there’s something going on in your life that you’re not very happy with, ask someone for help. Speak to someone you trust rather than swaying to a life of being a keyboard warrior. It’s not nice!

NP: Is your new book related to Charlie Baker: Autism and Me?

CMB: It is! It will be written in the same – ish way BUT Charlie Michael Baker Social Media And I will be exclusively E – book sold on my website charliembaker.net.

NP: Are you currently working on a new venture with Kylie Jenner?

CMB: I am! We’re working with the same brand – glow beverages. We’re working alongside an NBA star too whose name I cannot remember for the life of me – oops lol.

Kylie Jenner and Charlie Michael Baker

Kylie Jenner and Charlie Michael Baker

NP: Are you planning to collaborate with more celebrities in the future?

CMB: I love working with celebrities. Mostly just to see what they’re like to be honest. Kylie is so nice though honestly I keep messaging her life updates!

NP: Last question, is it true that you’re working on the Charlie Baker: Autism and Me movie? Are we going to see it on the big screen?

CMB: Yes, it is! I’m filming something very very special this year with Creation Media 22 which should appear on Netflix and Prime Video which is so exciting! It will be my first time in front of an actual TV camera so it’s a bit different to daily vlogs!

You can get your Charlie Michael Baker Social Media And I E-copy on March, 1 for £0.01 (yes, a penny!). Get your Charlie Baker: Autism and Me copy on Amazon.

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INTERVIEW | ‘The Tiger’s Apprentice’ Stars Brandon Soo Hoo and Leah Lewis Discuss Representation, Positivity, and the Power of Belief

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Tiger's Apprentice
Tiger's Apprentice (Paramount+)

Paramount’s latest animated flick ‘The Tiger’s Apprentice’ has finally been released and garnered positive response from everywhere. Adapted from Laurence Yep’s beloved children’s book series, ‘The Tiger’s Apprentice’ brings to life the thrilling journey of Chinese American teen Tom Lee (portrayed by Brandon Soo Hoo). He is suddenly thrust into a realm he once believed existed only in bedtime tales. After a tragedy strikes his family, the young man discovers his identity as a Guardian. Subsequently, he is mentored by the mystical Tiger Hu (played by Henry Golding) to confront the evil Loo (portrayed by Michelle Yeoh). In between all this chaos, he develops a special friendship with a girl named Rav (played by Leah Lewis) who helps him in defeating the villain and saving the world.

It is one of those films that you can enjoy with your family. It is tender, beautifully crafted, and encourages you to think about how traditions play a crucial role in everyone’s lives. In this exclusive interview, Brandon Soo Hoo and Leah Lewis share their perspectives on the film’s themes, the significance of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) representation in media, and the impact of portraying multi-dimensional characters. The actors delve into the importance of maintaining positivity in the face of adversity, believing in oneself, and breaking stereotypes in the entertainment industry. From challenging outdated narratives to normalizing cultural heritage, Brandon and Leah express their excitement for viewers to experience the film’s adventurous and tender journey of self-discovery.

Tiger's Apprentice

A still from ‘The Tiger’s Apprentice’ (Paramount+)

Aayush Sharma: ‘The Tiger’s Apprentice’ is a mixture of so many great things love, care, culture, and family. But for you guys, what was the one thing that made you relate to this story and made you proud? And why do you think that particular thing is so important for people to see?

Brandon Soo Hoo: One of the favorite things that I related with my character was Tom has uncanny ability to maintain a positive outlook when things get really tough. And so, you know, he’ll drop in a humorous little quip here and there in the face of adversity. I think that’s such a powerful way to confront anything challenging because life isn’t that serious. And, if you really lean into the negative, and if you really lean into the dark side, I feel like it can really corrupt and taint you. I believe maintaining that light and positivity around you is like the ultimate protection that you have, from the dark stuff when life kind of gets you down. Because if you let life get too dark, then you won’t let enough of your inner light kind of radiate outwards and do what it needs to do. So, you know, hold on to your light, hold on to the positivity. I feel like it’s contagious. It’s very, very healing.

Leah Lewis: I think, for me, one of my favorite things about this film that I would take away, is really learning how to believe in yourself. And I know that’s such a simple statement, but it’s a big loaded one for me. I really feel like when it comes down, to believing in yourself, it’s the things that you care about, the people you care about, where you came from, where you’re going. You see this character, Tom, struggle with believing in himself in any aspect. I think that’s really important too. And I think, when you can believe in yourself too and present yourself, honestly, and vulnerably, that’s also when you find other people who are right for you in your life. You see Tom eventually learns how to be himself, and because of it, he fits into this Zodiac and kind of ends up finding a community that he never would have expected. So, I think that aspect is important for me.

AS: So, you know, besides showing so many great things, this is also an Asian story. The characters, the cast, the makers, and most of the people involved in this project, have an Asian background. But you know when we see the entertainment industry, we still see a lot of talented Asian actors stuck in a kind of stereotype. And they are cast in one kind of role. For you guys, how does Asian representation in movies intersect with a broader discussion about diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry?

BS: I mean, it’s 2024, we’re past the era of having Asian people playing just submissive roles or playing like the tech support. I think that right now is like a renaissance for Asian entertainers and Asian artists to showcase that we are multi-dimensional people, that we can be the hero, we can be the cool guy. It’s all that stuff is like, we’re really seeing Asians being at the forefront of stories like that. And it’s so important because growing up, if you don’t see all of those things represented in media, it’s kind of hard to feel like, you can see that in yourself. So, it’s almost like this conditioning that we received from a really young age. So right now, we’re trying to reverse engineer all of that by showing you can be the hero of your own story, you know, you can save the day. And you could be more than just like whatever aesthetic or face that people want to put on you. You can kind of step out of those boundaries and as a human being, you can do whatever the heck you want. So, I think that it’s so important for us to be able to share with you all.

Brandon Soo Hoo (@brandonsoohoo/Instagram)

LL: I agree, I think, we’re living in a day and age where we’re moving towards a place where representation isn’t such a flashy, flashy thing. It’s a necessary and needed thing that should already be kind of embedded into our society. So, it’s a huge win for the AAPI community any time there’s an API lead or like, especially something like this film where it’s completely eccentric. But I also think the more and more we start to see those projects, like, it’s important to be able to normalize the difference in all these characters. You know, when I also look at, the list of like, Caucasian actors, I can think of an actor for every kind of character. I’m like, oh, yeah, I know, this actor played that, and this and that. But you know, for Asian, that’s been a long time coming, where it’s like, oh, it’s only Michelle Yeoh, who plays that or like, you know, we have the designated person who plays the geek or the kind of hero or like the dark character. And what’s so cool about this film, too, is like, Tom is just, he’s a cool, regular guy who hails from Chinese American culture. This film shows heritage and culture in a way where it’s so normalized, and just so kind of nuanced. I feel like that sense of representation is so cool for the people at home who are like, hey, casually, I like this guy, or I know those kinds of traditions, and I love the way he builds in this theme because I feel that way. I don’t know, I just, I also wish I had something like this growing up too. But like, now is the best time to see people that look like you, speak like you, or act like you on screen. It really recovers that belief in yourself that things are possible for you. Like we all watch TV. We all care about these characters to feel seen and feel like you know, you have a voice out there somewhere. There’s nothing better than that feeling. So, I hope that this film does that for a lot of people to me.

AS: You guys are working with such huge stars. Michelle Yeoh, Lucy Liu, Henry Golding, and more. What was your reaction when you heard these guys will be in the movie?

BS: Man, I mean, the reaction was and still is just like, almost like a surreal disbelief. I was like, these are people that I watched growing up when I was little, I was like, dang, these are some huge Asian names. They are the biggest names in our community. So yeah, I told my parents immediately about, like, who’s going to be in the project, and we all just like giggled about it together. So, I think just immense pride. It’s such a celebration, and it’s such a win, not just for me and my career, but it’s such a celebration for the Asian community. It’s like, man, look at all of us, like, together just being badass Zodiac warriors.

LL: I felt the same way. I mean, honestly, I tend to do this thing to where if someone tells me like this person is who you’re working with. I’m just like, wait, what? And I’m still like that, you know, like when we were able to even see Sandra Oh, at the premiere of like, let’s go, oh, my God, like, that’s really freakin’ cool. It’s also just like, I think it’s a really proud moment to finally see all different generations of AAPI actors coming together on one screen and to be able to see that there is space for more than just one or two. This whole cast is like a chock filled with it. And everyone is so talented, it’s been an honor. I’m really proud to be a part of it.

Leah Lewis and Sandra Oh

Leah Lewis and Sandra Oh (@leahmlewis/Instagram)

AS: The film has finally been released and it has opened to great reviews. If anyone hasn’t seen the movie, what’s your advice to them? And why should they watch ‘The Tiger’s Apprentice’?

BS: What do you what are you waiting for? Get in there. Watch this movie. It’s special, it’s beautiful. There’s something in there for everybody. And yeah, I think you’re really missing out on something that’s, that’s really beautiful and important. So go check it out. I hope they get to watch it with your family because there are a lot of beautiful lessons in there to share. So, go go check it out. You have to.

LL: It’s like, it’s a cool, like, genuinely cool. It has Steelo to it. Adventurous, tender film about finding yourself and I know we all want to do that. So, you should totally watch it and I hope you find a bit of yourself in this cool tender film.

‘The Tiger’s Apprentice’ is currently streaming on Paramount+.

FILM RATING
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INTERVIEW | Sarayu Blue Dives Deep into ‘EXPATS’ Journey with Cultural Authenticity and Emotional Depth

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Sarayu Blue stars as Hilary Starr in Lulu Wang's 'EXPATS' (@sarayublue/Instagram)

After taking the world by storm with ‘The Farewell,’ director Lulu Wang is back and this time, she has taken her storytelling prowess to the small screen. Her series, ‘EXPATS,’ is a story mainly about three women trying to overcome guilt and grief in the most authentic way possible. The very first frame of the series encourages viewers to take a remarkable journey into the lives of characters that are connected in one way or the other. Nicole Kidman portrays Margaret in the series while Ji-young Yoo plays Mercy. Both stars have given spectacular performances in the six-part series, but one actor who has managed to nab all the attention is none other than Sarayu Blue, who plays the role of Hilary.

At first, Hilary seems to be a no-nonsense woman who has moved to Hong Kong to make strides in her professional life. She does brilliantly professionally, but her personal life is in a bit of turmoil. Her marriage is not going well, her best friend seems to have lost almost everything, and she is overburdened with the pressure of becoming a mother. Wang knows how to extract a powerful performance from an actor and Sarayu is no different. Sarayu’s portrayal of the character is truly magnificent, capturing Hilary’s frustration and compassion with authenticity on screen. I sat down (virtually) with Sarayu Blue and discussed several aspects of her character in the Prime Video series. The actress opened up about how she learned Punjabi to make her character more authentic and also, how South Asian parents show love most uniquely.

Sarayu Blue in a still from ‘EXPATS’ (Prime Video)

Aayush Sharma: Congratulations on the series. It’s getting such beautiful reactions. Your character is written so beautifully, but Lulu Wang made some alterations to your character’s journey in the series, particularly regarding her approach to motherhood. So, how, as an actor, approached the shift in your character’s arc? And what kind of discussions have you had with Wong regarding these changes?

Sarayu Blue: Actually, the changes had already happened before I came. Because in the book, Hillary is not written South Asian. And so that was one of the changes. And so, when I auditioned, it was already South Asian, of course. I think when I got on board, I was able to read all the scripts, and I just devoured them. I mean, in one sitting, it was like, you know, I couldn’t get enough. It was such an exciting experience to see this South Asian woman who’s so human, she’s so layered and complicated, and messy, and real, and beautiful, and funny and vulnerable, and raw and hurting. And so, then it just became the biggest gift I could ever imagine.

AS: One of the best things about your character was her backstory, and showing the kind of Sikh family she was born into. But what was that one thing that you wanted viewers to see in your character to understand why Hillary sees the world in the way she does? Also, how challenging was it for you to learn the Punjabi language to make your character sound more authentic?

SB: I’m so thankful to our team and our wonderful consultant, Inder, who was like the most patient and kind human. I kept reciting it repeatedly, because somebody who speaks Telugu, and I’ve tried to teach people Telugu, pronunciation is everything. It’s everything, along with the accent, and every emphasis that matters so much. So, I was so thankful for that support. Also, Sudha (Brinder) speaks Punjabi, so I had Masters constantly working with me, and I was so thankful. Meanwhile, I think as far as the view that Hillary has, or what was important to me, it was important to see the hurt for both Brinder and Hilary. You know, what I love about the dynamic you see in Episode Four is you really see that they’re both hurting, and there’s aggression because that’s how we speak to each other. (laughs) I mean, that part is so universal, because my mother and I have a very contentious love. But, you know, that hurt underneath, and the vulnerability underneath is why it feels so real. And that representation of that specific dynamic was very important to me.

AS: Yeah, I mean, I can understand as an Indian, I know the kind of relationship that we share with our parents. I mean, they would just bash us, and then say that’s how we show our love for you. That’s, that’s our love. (laughs)

SB: I said to my dad, my dad was calling. I was FaceTiming with him, and he said, ‘So what are you doing? Are you doing anything interesting?’ I said, ‘I’m just doing a lot of press for this show. Remember that show? I did EXPATS? And he said, ‘I remember that.’ He added, ‘So nothing. You’re not doing anything.’ (laughs) But I get it.

Sarayu Blue with Sudha Bhuchar and Jennifer Beveridge (@sarayublue/Instagram)

AS: Your Punjabi was so amazing in that scene because I’m a Punjabi and when I was hearing that conversation, I had to pause the episode and go to the internet to see if you had any Punjabi roots because your accent was so authentic.

SB: Let me tell you how much that means to me because it’s the most important thing for me. Because Telugu is not easy to speak. It’s not, and I was raised by a Telugu professor and a Telugu short story writer. Also, I’ve tried to teach Telugu to somebody, and if it doesn’t sound right, it won’t feel good. That’s why it’s all I wanted to show. You must speak the language with the right pronunciation. That’s very important.

AS: Now that EXPATS has premiered three episodes on Prime Video and receiving so much love. But for those who haven’t started the series, what would like to tell them and why they should be watching this show?

SB: I am so honored to be in this show. I really am. I get goosebumps even talking to you right now, seeing you smile, and having this conversation. I want people to watch the show for everyone. There’s so much good talent in this show. You know, Sudha who plays Brinder is extraordinary. Kavi Raz, who plays my dad in Episode Six, is brilliant. You know, all these actors, Ruby Ruiz, Ji-young Yoo, Brian Tee, there’s so much brilliance that I hope people just watch and realize how many actors of color are getting to do amazing work. It feels like a dream. But, of course, there’s so much to see in this show, you know.

Cast of ‘Expats’ with director Lulu Wang at the premiere. (Getty Images)

The first three episode of ‘EXPATS’ are currently streaming exclusively on Prime Video.

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