FOCUS | GHOSTS
leave me. It kept sort of poking at me. And also Rose …
RM: … harassed you.
UA: No, not harassed. You instilled in me the confi- dence that everyone wanted me to be there. And when the pandemic happened, the opportunity to work suddenly became very precious. This role was luckily still available, and Rose and I got to read together and found out we have chemistry both as people and on camera together. Now I’m here, but it easily could have been an opportunity missed. It’s unusual for a show to allow its actors to improv. Was that a surprise to you, to get to do that? UA: Improv is something I get to do often in different jobs. We improvise quite a bit, but it’s often not for the end product. It’s for each other and the crew. We gen- erally know now [that] if we’ve gone off script for too long, it’s not going to make it to the final cut. But if we get the crew to laugh, we will have made the long day a little bit brighter for each other. RM: I am new to improv. It’s a skill set I’m learning. I have this incredible team of trained improvisers around me, and my job has been to let these guys shine and let them polish episodes with cool, interesting details that you can only discover on that day. It’s a sign of confidence and belief in everybody that we are allowed to do that. The show films scenes from Sam’s point of view, where you can see the ghosts, and the other from Jay’s, where you can’t. What challenges does that present? UA: I think Rose has a way more difficult job, because in one take she has actors to look at, and in the next she has to pick the points where they just were and continue a conversation with them while I get to stare off into space. They’re two very different skill sets. RM: Honestly, most of the time I’m just trying not to get in the way. I want to get my lines out and let every- body have time. We move very quickly. And boy, eight ghosts together in one frame, they really deserve every opportunity. They have something great to contribute each time. And then it’s also nice when it’s just Jay and Sam in a scene, and Utkarsh and I get to play. Utkarsh, you have to pretend you don’t see or hear any of these funny people. How do you keep a straight face, especially if they improv and catch you off guard? UA: The lucky thing is, in their shots, I’m off camera.
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER • 2022
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