I recently got the opportunity to talk to Syn Narula about his role in ‘Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes’. Here, Syn talks about how he got involved in the project in the first place, and who has inspired him as an actor…
Hey Syn. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes’ is currently in UK cinemas and has also been released worldwide. The film is a origin story set in San Fransisco, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play one of James Franco’s lab assistants. Basically, we are trying to figure out the best way to deliver the virus 112 to the apes to make them smarter. Lots of scientific jargon!
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
My agent got me an audition for the lab assistant role. Then I had a callback where I met Rupert Wyatt. Two months passed after my callback and I had put it out of my head, then suddenly I got a call that I was cast in the role. I was ecstatic!! A week later I was on set.
Obviously, taking into account the previous franchise – which is your favourite ‘Planet Of The Apes’ movie?
The first ‘Planet Of The Apes’ is a classic and has stood the test of time. But I like ‘Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes’ because it tells the origin of the first intelligent ape, Caesar. Even though it’s a summer blockbuster, the movie has a heart and is a character-driven story.
How would you say this film tries to stand out and be unique to its previous instalments?
I think the movie tried to add to the conflict between humans and the apes by dealing with the emotional and sad reality of Alzheimer’s disease as well.
The film stars the likes of Andy Serkis, James Franco, John Lithgow and Brian Cox – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
Since my character was a lab tech, I only got a chance to work with James Franco. It was a learning experience for me to see someone of that caliber approach the scenes and to observe the fluidity of his acting. I definitely learned a lot from spending time on set. And the crew members were very welcoming and incredibly supportive.
If an ape could suddenly talk, what do you think its first words would be?
Hmm…I would imagine, “WHY?”. As a vegetarian and a passionate supporter of WWF, I think the apes would probably wonder why we humans treat animals and our planet the way we do.
Let’s talk a bit about you Syn. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I was going to college in the States (majoring in Accounting), and I would tell one of my friends how much I loved movies and acting and how I wanted to work in the movie industry all the time. At that time I was trying to get an internship at Lucas Film. My friend said, “Why not acting?”. And I thought…what a great idea! After graduating from college I started taking acting lessons and went to acting school and moved to Vancouver to pursue acting full-time.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
I think perseverance is the key. You have to not let rejections get you down cause there’ll be lots of them. Just keep believing in yourself and remind yourself why you’re doing it. If it’s not for the love of acting, then maybe you should consider doing something else.
Which movies and actors have inspired you as an artist?
Wow…that would be a long list. But definitely all horror movies…haha. I’m a huge fan of horror movies and I hope to be in one soon. Other top movies on my list are, ‘The Grifters’, ‘The End Of The Affair’, ‘Interview With A Vampire’. Favorite actors….hmm…Mark Ruffalo, Julianne Moore, Ralph Fiennes!
If you could have a dinner with three historical guests, living or dead – who would they be and why?
My first guest would definitely be Lord Buddha. I grew up in a Buddhist country and, although I’m not Buddhist, I’ve always been fascinated by his story. I would love to hear him share his wisdom firsthand. Second would be Christopher Nolan. He’s such a brilliant director and storyteller. I want to pick his brains, find out how he gets his inspirations. Third would be Jewel. I absolutely love her music, especially the lyrics…we’d have lots to talk about.
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
Someone was stabbed to death by a broken putter at a glow-in-the-dark mini golf course in Toronto!!! Enough said…
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
I’ve been taking a break since earlier this year to have a foot surgery. I’m still in recovery, but hope to be back auditioning and booking new projects within the next two months.
Thanks for the interview!