There’s a reservedness about actor Vik Sahay. Chalk it up to his Canadian roots, or to the impeccable geek M.O. he cultivated in “Chuck,” the highly successful NBC series which ran from September 2007 until this past January. Sahay’s studiousness is like that of a theatre actor’s, and yet he’s perfectly at home doing movie and TV work. With a role in Universal’s “American Reunion,” a leading part in William Brent Bell’s “WER” and a supporting role in “My awkward sexual adventure” Sahay has struck a curious balance fulfilling U.S. and Canadian projects. The Canuck thespian has a lot on his plate for 2013, and thankfully so. But we hope to see more of him this side of the border–will Canada give him up already?
We caught up with him to discuss cultural differences among nations, what’s he’s got in the works in the 1-3, and tried to make him sweat through part of a Proust questionnaire (it didn’t work).
What’s the latest news concerning “Satisfaction”?
Limbo. We’re just staring at that traffic light now…green or red? They’re doing the edit, seeing what they’ve got, and making a decision in the new year.
Anything going on on the directing front?
No directing, but there are a couple of scripts in my orbit that I may wear the producer’s hat for. A series and a feature that are top priority for 2013.
What’s the deal with “My awkward sexual adventure”?
It’s a very fresh, heartfelt sex farce. I know that sounds unlikely, but it’s an unlikely film, that’s getting a lot of buzz. It just won the Audience Award at the Whistler Film Festival and the People’s Choice Award at Calgary International Film Festival. I’m something of a ‘player,’ in the film, and I start by trying to teach my straight-laced friend how to get ahead with women after he gets dumped. But I soon realize that my experience isn’t as far-reaching as I thought.
Any details yet as to when it will be released here?
Well, it has just been named one of TIFF’s top 10 Canadian films, so there will be a screening in January in Toronto, but the wider release will come later.
You’ve called yourself an acting geek before, did that perception come from the character you played in Chuck?
No, I was born an acting geek. What I mean by that is I have an insatiable appetite for the craft, reading about the process, how different actors go about it, about all the myriad ways that artists arrive at compelling work. It remains such a mystery to me.
Are you working on writing any screenplays at the moment?
No, I’m not a writer yet. I’m reliant on the writing talent of the writers I’m lucky enough to know, and hope they can put up with my opinions and critiques and madly exacting nature long enough for us to make something.
How did “WER” come about?
It was an audition buried deep in my pilot season, so it’s a bit of a blur now, the first one. I got a callback, it went well, and started weighing it against the pilot I’d been offered. I was really dying to get back into the dark film world coming off of Chuck, so it won out.
What was it like shooting “WER” in Old Europe, Bucharest?
Very isolating, chilly, parts beautiful and mesmerizing, half in the modern world, half still in the old country.
Had you ever been in that part of the world before?
Any fun anecdotes you could tell us about cultural differences between Romanians and North Americans?
All I can say is, I think you can feel that this is the first generation that didn’t grow up behind the Iron Curtain. And that it’s a country that’s been waiting to bust out. You can really feel it in the clubs. As opposite on the streets, where the older generation is more subdued, the club scene is really bat-shit crazy in the wildest, most exciting, way.
I’ve watched numerous interviews of you, you don’t delve into your own personal life much. In fact, you seem to keep people at bay most of the time. Are you protecting yourself from something?
I just think that where I can be most effective is as a storyteller, serving stories. Talking about my personal life doesn’t further that in any way.
Which director would you like to work with the most?
There is almost too many to list, but because I was reading about them today, the Mexican trio are so fantastic- Innaritu, Del Toro, Cuaron, ummm…Christopher Nolan, Joe Wright, such huge mythologies, Jacques Audiard, Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta, top drawer auteurs all of them. Many more. Vision. I want to be a part of someone’s vision.
What’s the quality you admire the most in a man?
What’s the quality you admire the most in a woman?
What’s your idea of happiness?
Working on great art.
To what faults do you feel the most indulgent?
If you weren’t an actor, what would you be?
My mother says a criminal. I think a boxer.
Thus far in your career, what achievement are you the most proud of?
Lasting. With my curiosity, and artistic hunger in tact. Never got complacent.
Are there differences between American and Canadian humor?
I think Canadians riff somewhere slightly more intellectual, I guess from the British influence. I feel American comedy comes more from vaudeville, so it’s more physical, broader, bawdier. I love both.
MORE: Watch Vik in the trailer for “My Awkward Sexual Adventure.”
(photo: Stewart Marcano)