Ritesh Rajan is best known for his roles on The Last Airbender, Campus Life, and (currently) Stitchers. Read our interview with Ritesh below. We discuss season two of Stitchers, Camus (Linus and Camille) and Zumba.
We talked to Kyle last week and he told us that Emma and him were the only two who were from the original pilot, so what was your audition process like for Stitchers?
“I got the call for the audition on a Friday. My agent made a call, “Hey what’s going on? Got this project for you called Stitchers, check it out, it’s on Monday morning.” Read the script over the weekend and I totally loved it. The idea was so fresh, and new, and exciting, and I’m a little bit of sci-fi tech-nerd myself, in my personal life so the idea of it was really enticing. I went in Monday morning at 10:00AM, the casting director was there, I did the scene. He gave me a few notes, he looked at me, mulled it over, gave me a stare down and was like, “Yeah, come back in an hour; the director’s coming back.” I’m like, “Oh, okay great.”
I went back to my car. Basically, I just sweated in my car for an hour just psyching myself out [laughs]. I went back in, did the audition for the director; he also gave me some notes. Then I left and later that day my manager and agent called me and they’re like, “Hey they want you to test tomorrow.” I was like, “Oh, wow, okay.” This was my first time testing. I immediately asked all of my other acting buddies like, “What is [testing] like; what’s your experience; are there any tips?” Everyone was like, “Get ready for the most painful auditioning experience ever.” You’re going to go in, the directors are going to be there, all the head honchos, producers, creators. No one’s going to laugh, no one’s going to smile; it’s going to be a nightmare, but you do your thing and you just walk out and just leave it all there.
I was like, “All right.” The whole day I was mentally preparing myself for this excruciating experience and when I got to the room, I think there was four other people. There was, I want to say five people, including me. We did a little work session which was interesting because my agent was like, “Listen make sure you do well during the work session because they can let you go right there.” She’s like, “make sure you bring your A game.” I’m like, “Oh, my God,” I was like, “The pressure’s on, from the beginning.”
Then I had my audition and got through the first two or three lines and then I had my first joke and everybody in the room laughed. It was funny because it ended up being one of the best audition experiences I’ve ever had. I don’t think I had a more warm audience ever in my entire life. It was a totally bizarre experience and opposite of what everyone had, who I talked to personally.
After that I went straight to In ‘N Out and I got a 3×3; that was my way of celebrating the test. It was the furthest I’ve ever been professionally in my acting career. I had a 3×3, I finished in record-breaking time and I immediately got sick because I ate too much [laughs]. As I’m taking my last bite my agent and manager called me and they said, “You got it.” I was totally just elated, and excited, that all the hard work has paid off.”
Now In ‘N Out is your place to go for good news, right?
“Yeah, I think maybe I’ll go tonight. I probably won’t eat as much because I’ve learned my lesson but, yeah, it’s definitely a good luck charm.”
What is your favorite sci-fi show?
“This is tough. It’s not really sci-fi, I guess it’s kind of … It’s not exactly it’s more techie but I’m in love with Mr. Robot right now. It’s on USA. I’m totally obsessed with it. I love the lingo, and the hacker terms, and the acting, and the tone of the show. I just love it all. My favorite sci-fi movie would have to be Matrix. It’s probably one of my favorite movies of all time.”
Speaking of the lingo, is the science dialog hard to learn and what’s been the hardest word you’ve had to say as Linus?
“It’s really hit or miss. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s the biggest pain in the butt [laughs]. It really just depends. I’m usually pretty good with the lingo. I would say with the words themselves I would probably say around 80% of the time I know, or at least have heard of the word. Then the other 20% I look it up and do my research so it’s not too crazy. Definitely the hardest part is just saying the words and pronouncing them in a manner that’s believable.
Anyone can say a long techie word, but to make it sound like you know what you’re talking about, that’s more of the obstacle for me. Oddly enough, though, probably in Episode 8 there was a word called drainage culverts; which has really nothing to do with tech, it’s more of an engineering architectural term, and I couldn’t get it out of my mouth for the life of me [laughs]. We were just all sitting around and I’m explaining to the team about these drainage culverts and I literally couldn’t get it out. We must have done 20 takes. Everyone was making fun of me.”
Last week, Linus said that he waited tables, so what quirky jobs did you have prior to Stitchers?
“Prior to Stitchers I actually worked at a P.F. Changs. I waited tables and I hosted. Probably, the most quirky job I’ve ever done was, I was a Zumba instructor for a long time. I did that for a very long time. I traveled all over the world, and did their video games at their national conventions. I also gave private lessons. That was probably my quirkiest job.”
Obviously, people are team Camus, so first we have to ask are you team Camus?
“I’m definitely team love; any people falling in love. What’s more beautiful that that, right?”
Did you know prior to that episode that you guys were getting together?
“No, I didn’t know; I had no idea. It was so funny. I got the script and I was like, “Oh, wow you guys really are pushing this pretty fast.” It was funny because it was my first kissing scene on television so that broke my TV cherry in a sense [laughs]. I was definitely nervous because I didn’t know what to expect. Allison’s so sweet and she’s such a kind human being and it went by smoothly. I think the fans enjoyed it.”
Obviously, it went well because you’re getting the reaction that you are!
I know that pretty much everyone on Stitchers, including yourself, has a musical background. You did Spring Awakening. If Stitchers had a musical episode in Season 2, now that you’re renewed; what song would you want Linus to sing?
“Oh, my gosh; I don’t know. Anything Kyle Harris has sung on Broadway. That’s what I would sing. It would have to be relevant to the plot. But, anything Kyle Harris has sung in real life, I’ll sing.”
You guys get asked this a lot so I’m going to switch it up a little bit: If you had to stitch into one your Stitchers co-star’s brain, who would you stitch into?
“Oh, man … Probably Cameron [Britton]. He plays the big engineer in our show. God he’s so funny on the show. He’s got these one-liners and he has so many little intricate moments, just goofing off or just fooling around. He literally cracks me up so much.”
We know that you’re having a Halloween Special and so what is your favorite Halloween costume that you’ve ever worn?
“I was the Green Ranger in kindergarten; I was obsessed with Power Rangers growing up but that’s one of my favorites. I had to be either the Green Ranger or the White Ranger.”
Did you have to do any fight training for Stitchers?
“I actually have a Martial Arts background. I have a Black belt in Taekwondo and I competed in the Jr. Olympics so I was training for a long time. Right now, I’m currently casually training in Moi Tae. But, I haven’t really done any fight training on Stitchers. Most of my Martial Arts background comes from just years of experience.”
Stitchers has had quite a few guest stars. Who do you want to guest-star on the show?
“I don’t know. Mila Kunis would be fun, because I have a huge crush on her [laughs].”
As a Linus love interest?
“Yeah, if Mila Kunas wants to fall in love with me on the show, that’s cool [laughs]. I’m totally cool with that. And, Leonardo DiCaprio because he’s my actor crush.”
Where would you like to see Linus go in Season 2?
“Hopefully, things can be smoother with Camille. I’m hoping that Cameron and Linus get the opportunity just to do a little more field work. I want them to get outside of the lab more. I think there’s such a funny dynamic there that hasn’t been explored yet, one we could take advantage of. Just like these two guys who are so used to their lab surroundings, going down out into the normal world and trying to solve these crimes. I think seeing that would be something really hilarious and charming.”