Continuing our infatuation with the little comedy that could, comes 5 things you didn’t know about RULES OF ENGAGEMENT star Adhir Kalyan.
He wanted to be an actor from a young age.
Just how did a young boy growing up in Durban South Africa catch the acting bug? Like many actors who have been lucky enough to make it in this business we affectionally refer to as show, Adhir Kalyan can trace the genesis of his career back to an overactive imagination. “Around the age of nine of ten I went through a stage where I wanted to become everything I saw and whether it was a tennis player, fireman, police officer, or doctor, I soon realized that the only profession where I could be every other profession was to become an actor,” said Kalyan on a recent one-on-one with the TV Addict. “And really, from that age I kind of felt that this was what my calling and what I really wanted to purse in my life and I have been very fortunate to be able to stand here today and tell you that to a certain degree I’ve been able to do that. I feel very grateful in that regard.”
He credits the CW for putting him on the map.
Despite the fact that blaming the CW for cancelling many of our favorite shows (see: EVERWOOD, VERONICA MARS, LIFE UNEXPECTED to name a few) is akin to a national pastime here at theTVaddict.com, Kalyan has a soft spot for the network that stuck by the short-lived brilliant-but-canceled laugher that was ALIENS IN AMERICA. “If it were not for the CW, ALIENS IN AMERICAN would really never have made it to air. After being shelved by NBC Universal, it was the CW that really believed that the show had a life in it,” explained Kalyan. “It will always have a dear place in my heart having afforded me such a wealth of opportunity that I can’t be disheartened that it only lasted one season. As an actor, perhaps you have a definitive moment where things change, and me being cast in the show was one of those moments. ”
He’s still keeps in touch with his ALIENS IN AMERICA cast mates.
What’s the only thing this TV Addict enjoys more than watching a talented group of actors craft a fantastic fictional friendship on screen? Knowing that they actually get along off screen as well. Which is why we’re so happy to report that the friendships developed between the core cast of ALIENS IN AMERICA has lived on far past the show. “I probably see Dan [Byrd] once every week and a half or so. Lindsey’s [Shaw] away on location, but when she is in Los Angeles we see each other probably about as much as that as well,” said Kalyan. “Dan, Lindsay and I are very much still wonderful friends and the foundation for that friendship was laid up in Vancouver where we shot the show. Dan and I used to spent probably around 17 out of every 24 hours together so when your’e with someone for that period of time for 6 or 7 months it’s either going to cause a huge rift or bring you incredibly close together rand fortunately for us it was the latter.”
His RULES OF ENGAGEMENT character was supposed to be a one-off.
Although this will probably not come as little surprise to the millions of RULES fan who tune in for the hilarious dynamic that is David Spade’s slimy Russell and Kalyan’s far too accommodating Timmy, the original plan for the character wasn’t to turn him into a series regular. “I think the writers had reached a point where there were only just so many woman David’s character could sleep with, so when I met with the creator of our show, Tom Hertz, and [executive producer] Doug Robinson, I think the idea was for me to come on board for one to three episodes to serve as a foil and give David someone to work off of,” explained Kalyan. “I’m very grateful that it has worked out that way. I think that the writers have done a fine job of not only integrating my character into the show through seasons 3 and 4, but this season 5 they really have done such a wonderful job of ensuring that week in and week out Timmy and Russell have had interesting adventures to sort of embark on together. The fact that I was able to work with someone that I watched growing up on Black Sheep and Tommy Boy was something that was really novel for me and as hard a time as I give him it actually continues to be.”
He shies away from stereotypes.
Like most actors in Hollywood, it’s safe to assume that Adhir Kalyan is hoping to have a long and varied career. Unlike most actors, there is one role he will not be stepping into to ensure that happens… that role being a punchline based on his country of origin. So much so that getting to play characters that don’t mine stereotypes for a cheap laugh was one of the major contributing factors to why he left his native country in the first place. “One of the motivating factors for me to leave South Africa was so I would be able to play a wider array of characters, maybe affect people through my performance and perhaps break down a few barriers along the way,” admitted Kalyan. “When I came up here it was very much a conscious decision when I sat down with my representatives to say I’m happy to say no and happy not to work if it means that we turn down pieces of work that say are going to be stereotypical and perpetuate certain perceptions about being Indian or whatever it may be. My philosophy is that I’m more than happy to play characters who happen to be Indian, but I’m not comfortable playing Indian characters when the joke is based on what they wear or how they speak or the color of their skin. It’s just not something that I find especially funny and I feel that I’m very fortunate that I have come into this industry at a time where the industry itself is becoming more representative and reflective of the changes we sort of see within our society which is what the arts should do, be reflective of where our society is at.”
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT airs Thursday at 8:30PM on CBS (CityTV in Canada)