by Weezul on 06.24.11
If you’re not familiar with the rising star that is Janina Gavankar, then you need to get out less, turn on your TV and watch the magic happen. This young actress has been on the scene for the past few years, but really took off with recurring roles such as Papi on The L Word and Leigh Turner on The Gates.
I had the fortune of meeting Janina in person a couple years ago and I was immediately smitten and knew it’d be a matter of time before this talented actress and singer went from star to superstar to super nova. Catch her now before the explosion and get to know about her role on the latest season of True Blood.
Hey Janina, thank a lot for the quick chat and fitting us in your schedule. So jumping in, how did you come to join the cast of True Blood?
I blackmailed Alan Ball. Kidding! It was fairly straightforward. I auditioned, and gave 'em my interpretation of Luna. Then they brought me back to read with Sam. We pretty much knew then we were going to have a lot of fun.
Sam Merlotte is actually one of my favorite characters. He seems like one of the more complex yet broken of the bunch. What can you tell us about your character, Luna?
NOTHING! I tell you NOTHING! (giggles) Luna is a shapeshifter. She meets Sam at a sort of Shapeshifters Anonymous meeting. She's a good girl with a bit of a past. To quote the ever-brilliant Tim Gunn, she's trying to "make it work".
Ah, the “mysterious past” angle. Sound like sparks are going to fly. How did you feel about the idea of playing a shapeshifter? Since you can turn into almost anything, what would you change into?
Well, in a way, I kind of AM a shapeshifter in real life. No one recognizes me from the characters I've played. I love that. If I could shift into an animal? Hm. Probably a dolphin. They're smart beings.
I’d recognize you right away, but I think it’s because shapeshifters recognize other shapeshifters, right? So what was your experience like working on the show? Was it very different from other series you’ve been on such as The L Word or The Gates?
It's similar to my experience on The L Word in that I was a n00b walking into a tight knit group on an already hit ensemble cable show. And it's similar to The Gates in that the genre is the same. But it's very different being in LA and working on a series. It's much less like summer camp. You can actually have a life, too. Working on those (in Vancouver & Shreveport, Louisiana, respectively) was fun, but this kinda work/life thing can't be beat (laughs)! The only thing is that you aren't forced to bond, so you don't see each other as often.
I’m sure bonding, or lack thereof, has its plusses and
minuses. That said, let’s play some word
association. Describe the following characters from True Blood using one
(sighs & bats eyes)
Purple? Eric Northman
Wow! That was a total fail! Yellow? Purple? I don't even use words for Sam. Ugh.
Purple? Brown? Yes, you will have to explain that one to me one day. Switching gears, the music from True Blood is terrific and really fitting for the show. Since singing is another one of your many talents, any chance of you doing a song on the show?
I don't think so. Luna doesn't sing, and this isn't Glee. ... but anything could happen in Bon Temps.
We need to talk to the writers about adding a stage act to Merlotte’s place for just such situations. So now you’ve entered the world of the weird and supernatural, what’s next on your plate?
I'm off to do a movie in Austin! No fangs in this one. It's about humans.
That almost sounds normal and I can’t wait to learn more. We’ll be keeping an eye on your social streams for news.
Speaking of, can’t get enough of Janina? Didn’t think so. Get the nitty-gritty on one of the most socially connected celebs on the web at these hot spots:
Janina’s official site
As a bonus, check out her music video for Love Lockdown!
Thank you, Janina, for the time, the laughs and the tears. I can’t wait to see you shift your shape on True Blood when it premieres Sunday, June 26th on HBO.