Sendhil Ramamurthy plays Jai Wilcox on USA’s “Covert Affairs” and recently took in a conference call for bloggers. Cinemaniac was there.
Jai Wilcox’s character has changed since the inception of the show.
“I think originally as conceived the character wasn’t going to be going out into the field and once they cast me, they saw some merit, some advantage to bringing me into the field,” Sendhil Ramamurthy said.
Wilcox is a second generation CIA man and it brings another dynamic to the character.
“His father, Henry Wilcox, was the Head of Clandestine Services, so he’s CIA royalty,” Ramamurthy said. “There’s some baggage that comes with being Henry Wilcox-my character’s father’s name is Henry Wilcox-there’s some baggage that comes with being his son and it kind of permeates through the CIA.”
Research into the CIA was important for the authenticity of the show and led to some interesting tidbits.
“The CIA encourages dating within the agency, which I thought would not be the case to kind of the way things operate there,” Ramamurthy said. “I didn’t know even the basic things, like you can’t have your cell phone with you inside the CIA. I didn’t know the CIA didn’t carry weapons on U.S. soil. So it’s interesting, we actually just shot a scene where I’m chasing somebody and they’re shooting at me and I have no gun, but I keep chasing them, even though I have no weapon.”
He wasn’t in on the show when the pilot was shot and missed out on access to the CIA.
“Valerie Plame was our CIA advisor on the pilot, and so they had access to her and were able to ask her all sorts of questions,” Ramamurthy said. “Piper went to the CIA before starting shooting of the pilot and met with them and got to meet with a CIA agent that was her age who was kind of her and got to ask her questions to help her with the role.”
Though he missed out on the start, he worked hard to make up for lost time by research and prep for the show.
“The CIA is about protocol,” Ramamurthy said. “Okay, what would a CIA operative be doing in this situation? What are the steps? Everything has to be run up the ladder, run up the flag post and what are the steps to get what you need done? There are certain things that need to be done and Jai is very conscious of the hierarchy of the CIA.”
The relationship between Jai and Annie has something Ramamurthy would like to focus on in the future.
“There’s a conversation between Jai and Annie where they kind of mention past relationships and I think that there’s a past relationship in Jai’s life that deeply affected him and I don’t think it ended up the way that he wanted it to end up, and I think I’d like to see that explored a little bit as to why he’s able to connect with Annie in the way that he does,” Ramamurthy said. “I hope that’s something we can look into.”
Ramamurthy was in “Heroes” and hopes there will be a film to wrap things up.
“I feel like we owe it to the fans who were incredibly loyal and supportive of us through all the ups and downs of ‘Heroes’, it would be nice to do it for them to have some sort of closure,” Ramamurthy said.
He would like to see Jai Wilcox challenged as a character.
“Jai’s pretty by the numbers as far as following the rules and all that and I’d like to see there be some instances where he’s faced with maybe having to do something, that yes is ‘wrong’ but will accomplish something that he knows is right,” Ramamurthy said. “I’d love to see that decision he makes and how he goes about making it to do that.”
As more and more celebrities are using Twitter and social media as a means to connect with fans or push product but Ramamurthy probably won’t be taking it up.
“I can’t see why anybody would be interested in what I’m doing during my day,” Ramamurthy said. “Like I’m having a coffee at the coffee shop; like, who cares?”
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