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Nimrat Kaur Witnessed Jared Harris’ Commitment To Acting On Foundation Set

In this exclusive interaction with ScreenBox, actor Nimrat Kaur talks about Apple TV+ series Foundation and her love for sci-fi films.

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A file photo of Nimrat Kaur. (Source: Instagram)

THERE are actors who don’t mind being typecast into particular roles. And then, there is Nimrat Kaur, about who the viewers are certain she can inhabit any role that is offered to her and leave an indelible impact with her performances across all genres. In the ten years that Nimrat has spent in the showbiz industry, she has used every opportunity to show just how much range she has as an actor and proved that she is capable of performing in any project.

In an exclusive interview with ScreenBox, Nimrat Kaur chats about Apple TV’s Foundation Season 2 and the experience of working with BAFTA-winning actor Jared Harris, creator David Goyer and director Alexander Gravis.

Excerpts from an interview…

Foundation creator David Goyer had said in one of his interviews that he had been wanting to work with you ever since he watched you in The Lunchbox. David also confessed that your performance in Homeland sealed his decision to rope you in for Foundation. How much significance does his appreciation for your work carry for you?

I feel very grateful. I’m an Indian actor and I feel blessed when people like David Goyer –  who comes from a different industry and with such great quality of work behind him – feel that way about me, my talent, my skill set and what I bring to the table. It’s always very encouraging. It feels really special to get an opportunity to work in two different industries.

Interestingly, not just David Goyer, but also Foundation director Alexander Gravis – with whom you had earlier collaborated with for Homeland – had said that he was so impressed with your previous performance that he knew you’d be his dream actress for the role. To say he was thrilled when you accepted the role would be an understatement…

Alexander Gravis was really looking forward to our association. Alex, one of the finest directors I’ve ever worked with, is very generous. He’s cool and gifted with the talent to bring the best out of actors when he’s working with them. He’s intuitive and a genius! I know Alex because I had worked with him previously on two seasons in Homeland. Why I chose to do Yana Selden’s part in Foundation is because I knew I’ll be in the best hands. I knew I’b de working with Alex! I knew about the impeccable work David Goyer has done in the past, but I’d never worked with him. And then the series made me work with Jared Harris. As if it wasn’t already incredible! I have all my scenes with Jared Harris. I think, there are very few times in your life and career, that you get to work with actors where you know will add value and depth to what you otherwise can sometimes run out of. I’m grateful to everybody I got the opportunity to collaborate with.

Every actor follows a particular method when it comes to executing the role he/she has been offered. I know of actors who use different colors to mark their scripts just to help them understand the different moods of their characters. Is there a strategy that you swear by as an actor?

I write all my dialogues! I do so because I believe that if you write your lines, you learn them in a way that may not happen otherwise. Writing all my dialogues help me learn my lines. And for me, lines are sacrosanct. I love to know everything the other actor is going to say, followed by my reaction and dialogues. I’m conditioned to work like this because I’ve done plays. But I’m happy about it because this is one thing that would never fail me in knowing my lines well. And because I know my lines well, I arrive on the set to have fun.

Working for Foundation must have been both a thought-provoking and different experience. What were the biggest learnings for you as an actor and what was the biggest learning for your co-stars who shared the screen space with you?

I’ll tell you about an incident which was probably one of the most extraordinary and unexpected things that I’ve ever encountered on a set. I shot my portions in two schedules. One was in Tenerife in the Canary Islands in January 2022, and the second schedule was in April in Prague the same year. The second time around when I went there, I knew Jared, and the crew. So nobody was new to me. On one day of the shoot, Jared was slightly quiet, not his usual warm and sprightly self. Later, I was told that he had lost his mother, and his mother was yet to be buried as the family was waiting for him to return to London. But he kept working to ensure the cast and the crew didn’t go off schedule. He was just trying to meet his professional commitments. But to watch him do his scenes despite what had happened to him in such a big, tragic, personal way, came as a life lesson. I was so moved by that. It’s one thing to say “Show Must Go On”, but it’s another thing to actually watch it go on and sort of participate in that and see how a person actually endures everything. When we finished the scene, I asked him, how he was feeling. He was still quiet, but said, ‘Death always comes at a very inconvenient time’, and smiled. It was inspiring to see somebody go through something so tragic and still be so committed to what he needed to do. I’ll never forget it.

You play Yana in Foundation. If you had to give one advice to your character, what would that be?

Yana is sweet and lovely. But I would tell her not to trust people so easily. She was a bit naive and too easy in trusting others.

Nimrat, is that how you are in real life? Do you also trust people easily, and has that ever backfired?

Sometimes, yes. I take things at face value. But it’s important to know that not every time what you see is what you get. But you live and learn. Has trusting people backfired? Yes. I have blindly trusted people in my inner circle and sometimes given people more access than they deserve. But I’m learning and I’m quick to bring my power back from those people.

Foundation is an engaging series because it talks about individuals transcending space and time as they overcome deadly crisis. As a viewer and as an actor, what stood out for you while giving your nod to Foundation…

Alexander Gravis, David Goyer and Jared Harris were my first points of attraction towards wanting to do Foundation. As a huge science fiction fan, I have loved this genre since a long period of time. I also agreed to do this because it gave me an opportunity to be a part of a stunning canvas and equally stunning universe. You’re kind of immortalized in such a world. You can’t underestimate it. I wish the team all the success and accolades which they so truly deserve. I’m very happy to be a part of Foundation.

You just mentioned that you are a big fan of sci-fi projects. Are there any specific films or series you would like to recommend to all ScreenBox readers?

Series? Not much. But one film that I have never been able to get out of my system is Minority Report. It is my all-time favorite. Nonetheless, nothing can beat Interstellar. That’s one film I can watch multiple times over.

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