Exclusive Interview with Second Chance’s Dilshad Vadsaria

We’ve seen this gorgeous women around television for a while now, but Dilshad Vadsaria can currently be seen as Mary Goodwin in Fox’s newest drama Second Chance. Mary is a CEO with a twin and a secret, she’s dying. We had the opportunity to talk with Dilshad this week about Second Chance, her former roles, travel, animals, and Harry Potter!

Starting off, what attracted you to Second Chance?

“I had read the script, actually a while before I read for the role, and I thought that the script was so good. The relationships and the way it was layered, I thought I hadn’t done something like that for a while and I thought it was smart. So that was my initial introduction to Second Chance, at the time it was called Frankenstein. And then I read for the role, I was focusing on Mary obviously, and I thought, this is a smart character. This is somebody that is so layered and something you don’t really see all the time. She’s not a stereotype, which I loved, and so I really got excited about trying to bringing her to life and what it is that drove her. That’s kind of how the role came about.”

Did it scare you at all that she’s sick? And portraying that?

“No. That actually made it even more interesting for me. Obviously I didn’t know where that was going to go, as an actor you go ‘Well maybe this will last for two episodes’. You don’t know what’s really in their minds. I thought to myself, that makes it even more interesting. This powerful women who is responsible for taking care of her brother and running this enormous company is now sick behind the scenes. How do you deal with that and how do you keep things a secret and not fall apart where inside you are falling apart? And I thought that was the most interesting aspect of it.”

Which relationship of Mary’s are you most excited to explore, the one with Otto or the one with Jimmy?

“Ohh, that’s a good question. Let’s see, which one. I can’t pick between the two because they both take Mary in the opposite direction. There’s Otto who has been there since obviously forever, and even more so since their parents passed away. He needs her just to function and survive in this world, how could you possibly leave that? And then there’s this wildcard that comes into her life with Jimmy Prichard, who you obviously don’t think to yourself ‘where is this going to take me?’ because you’re focused on what is right in front of you. And what is right in front of you is this man who could save my life, and yet we brought a human being back to life. Not a code, like Otto thinks. You’re balancing the two. Trying to make Otto understand that this is a person who came with a lot of pain and a lot of hopes and a lot of love from his previous life. You can’t just treat him like a robot or that he’s here for one specific function. Then at the same time you’re not thinking ‘Well how is this dynamic going to affect my brother and I?’ Because in your mind that is never going to affect that relationship. You’re kind of naive about that. You’re just trying to keep the peace, trying to see if this works, trying to survive and we’ll see as the episodes go on that she’s literally going to be pulled apart and it’s really difficult. It’s going to be really, I’d like to say, painfully emotional. Like physically. To have that kind of dynamic change with Otto because they are so interdependent.”

In what ways are you most similar to Mary, and in what ways are you different?

“She’s super patient. I don’t think I have that. (laughs) I read parts of the scripts and then I would read Mary’s response and I think ‘I don’t know if that would have been my response.’ I think I’m much more feisty. I don’t necessarily think I would be that patient in some situations as you’ll see as the episodes unfold. But I tend to care a lot about what people are going through, in regards to their suffering. I feel like Mary has that kind of insight which is so far away from what you expect from a CEO of a biotech company. You automatically get this picture in your mind. But Mary has a lot of compassion for people. I think in that sense I am able to see where she may be coming from. And I think that maybe goes back to that patience. Maybe she’s just so much smarter than she realizes. Saying ‘Okay, how do we get through this situation?’ As opposed to just going ‘I can’t. I can’t even’. (laughs)”

We’ve seen you do everything from drama to comedy, do you like doing one more than the other? Is one harder than the other?

“I don’t think I have a preference, per say. I think for me it’s always about the story. Drama is going to make somebody feel an emotion that they’ve never really felt towards somebody else before. If someone is going to think a little differently than they did, because I think that’s what’s really powerful about storytelling, then I’m all for it. Comedy I love because you get to read what people write to you and they say. For example ‘I was having a terrible day.’ Or ‘I was having a really horrible time in my life, and I watched all of these episode of Greek and they made me feel so much better.’ That’s just the best. You can’t really top that, can you? When I think about those two things, in regards to what comedy and drama bring to people, I could never choose. I’m just really happy that I get to do it and that I’ve been able to do both. There’s always this thing where ‘I’ve done this now and I want to now go back to doing comedy.’ Or ‘Okay I’m doing a lot of comedy and I want to do drama.’ There’s always that balance, I think, that sort of happens as an actor where you to go from one side to the other, kind of like waves. And then have fun with it. The impact of both I find to be really powerful and I’d never want to choose between the two.”

Who do you enjoy working with more, Scott Foster or Rob Kazinsky? I’m a big fan of both.

“(laughing) Oh my God, they’re such different people! Two very different people. They’re like, I don’t even know what they’d have in common. But not in a bad way! They’re just like complete opposites so you can’t even compare the two. Gosh. Don’t make me choose. I can’t do it. I can’t do it. (laughs) They’re just too different to compare, but they’re both great actors. They’re just too different.”

Dilshad and Rob Kazinsky in Second Chance.

Do you have a favorite episode from Greek? (Via Twitter user @jennkizz)

“Let’s see, hmm. I think Rebecca had the best one line zingers that the writers could have given anyone, so those are the things that come up in my mind. For some reason, and I don’t know if this was my favorite episode, but I know that I thought the way Jake McDorman and I did this one scene was really funny. I liked it when we were in car jail, trying to get our car out. And there was that dog that was guarding car jail. I liked the banter that happened before Evan and Rebecca go to car jail because she accuses him of not stopping them from towing her car. How is someone supposed to do that? (laughs) I liked the back and forth between Amber’s character and my character and then Jake’s character, that dialogue was a lot of fun to do. In that parking lot where Rebecca’s just like ‘Thank you.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘I appreciate it.’ All of that stuff. And from Amber’s character, trying to go ‘I do have to study for finals, but I guess I can take you.’ I like when the dog jumps on the hood of the car that we’ve gotten ourselves into. There’s this terrifying scream that comes out of both of us, when this Cujo like dog jumps on it. It’s so humorous, our faces. I call it humorous terror. Both of our faces just go into this scream, but our expressions are so humorous in that scene. So maybe that one, maybe that’s one of my favorite ones.”

Was that fun to film?

“Yeah, it was. (laughs) I remember having to try to climb the fence in my skirt and boots. Thinking ‘How am I going to do this?’ Taking precautions, that kind of thing. I remember all of that. And I remember it being at night, we shot that really late into the night. And then of course we have Mr. Cujo dog that was the sweetest thing ever. (laughs) It’s funny you’re asking me this, because now it’s all coming back to me.”

Switching gears to more person stuff, what did your parents think about you becoming an actor?

“Well, I didn’t tell anybody what I was doing at first. (laughs) Probably not the example to go by, not what anyone should do. Do not follow what I did. (laughs) I didn’t tell anyone because I knew it was so against the grain and I didn’t really want to disappoint. At the same time I wanted to do my own thing. I wanted to follow my own passion. I was being feisty and rebellious. I tried several times to break it and tell, but it never really quite went as well as I wanted it to go. I’d always back track. Then I started booking a little job here and a little job there and then telling everyone. And my parents were like ‘Ohh. Okay.’ I think parents in general just want your kids to do well, and you don’t want them to be uncomfortable in their lives. Then my mom came to my first play in New York. My character was crying and I heard her go ‘Why is she crying? I don’t like it.’ And I was like ‘Oh my gosh.’ (laughs) Afterword she was so proud, saying ‘You did really well!’ And now she obviously embarrasses me like there’s no tomorrow. That’s kind of how it started.’

Is there a dream role you’d wish to play?

“There are a few things I would love to do. Certain directors I would love to work with, obviously. And theater, I’d really love to do more theater. And tackle some of these roles I’ve been reading and sort of working on my own. On the film level, I want to work with the greats, but I also want to be good enough to do that. I’m always working on bettering myself to be able to do that. I’d love to do a role where it’s a full on character, in regards to being so far away from myself. It would be really cool to do a role where no one even knows that it’s me on-screen. Because you’re just so far away from anything that anyone has seen you do. So far away from anything you are in real life. So taken by the character. That the hair and the make up and the costumes all this, it all come together for me in that. It did for Rebecca, it did on Revenge, it does now for Second Chance and all the other things I’ve been on. I find it to be a very delicate balance and quite powerful. So I’d love to do a role where no one knows it’s me after they’ve seen it. That’d be cool.”

I may have stalked your Instagram page over the weekend and I really enjoyed your pictures with your dogs. Have you always been an animal lover?

“I never grew up with pets. And then all of a sudden I have this little cat and I was completely in love with him. Then I got a bigger place. It was big enough for a big dog, so then came Eloise who is a mastiff staffy mix. That just sort of completely melted my heart. I think I’ve always been very sensitive to animals and being in environments with animals and knowing that I’m in their environment. Also being very sensitive to, especially living in Los Angeles, how close you are to nature and how we’re taking over their home and they don’t have a place to go. So I’ve always been sensitive to all of that. Now I have my two dogs, Eloise and Gabrielle, who I held for 30 minutes as a puppy and it was over, I had to take her home. It really does something to you to have them. Animals are just so innocent. And I don’t mean just mine. They’re so honest. A lion is a lion. A lion isn’t going to apologize for being a lion. A lion isn’t pretending to be a bunny. I went to Botswana and I leaned back and just watched these incredible animals in their environments and that had an incredibly profound affect on me. I came back changed, for sure, after I did that safari. Now I’m ultra sensitive.”

Where your favorite place you’ve traveled to and where do you still want to go?

“I want to go everywhere. (laughs) I want to visit every part of the world imaginable. And I don’t know how that’s going to happen. I want to do the Amazon, I want to go see the Northern Lights, I want to visit all these different parts of Europe that I haven’t been to. I want to go back to South America. I’ve gone to all these different countries, but I haven’t visited and seen all of it. It would be nice to go to Mexico. It’s right here. You would think that I’ve maybe gone there by now. I have gone to different parts of the continent of Africa, but I haven’t jumped across the border to Mexico. That might make sense to do. (laughs) So I wanna do all these different things, that’s a major problem for me. I’m still trying to figure out where I’m going this year, what my big trip is going to be. That’s in the works. It might be Croatia, it might be India, I don’t know yet. For every place I’ve ever visited, I always leave and say ‘I have to go back there, I’ve had such a great time.’ I love culture and people and understanding and exploring and, honestly, at the end of the day we’re all just the same and I love connecting with people. Maybe Rio. When I went to Rio it was just the best. There was some sort of connection I felt with Rio and Brazil and the people. I’m not sure why, but I would love, love, love to go back there.”

Dilshad Vadsaria at Fox TCA panel.

Our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us, so what do you ‘nerd-out’ about or what makes you nerdy?

“I’ve always been a nerd, since I was little. I was never cool. I was always the person who thought my jokes were funny, but the cool people never thought they were funny. To this day I’ll get really excited about the fact that I was really good at vectors and physics. Saying ‘I’m so good at vectors guys! I can figure out a car accident and things like that.’ And the other kids would sort of look at me and go ‘That’s really exciting. Good for you.’ I think it’s fascinating that you can figure out how a car accident happened just by looking at the wreck. I don’t think I’ve ever said this in an interview in my life! (laughs) I think that counts doesn’t it?”

Of course, that counts!

“I’ve always been that person reading, I’m really into science. For example molecular biology fascinates me. So I think those are my nerdy kind of things. But also, to geek out, I’m huge into like Harry Potter! I really wish there was a real Hogwarts we could all go to.”

Me too.

“That’d be like the coolest thing ever, right? I wish there was a boarding school where you learn how to use magic. I would pay attention in class like no tomorrow. I would have been the best student ever. Like History of Magic, how is that boring? That’s not boring. Potions! That’s like chemistry, stop blowing things up in your face, it’s so easy. Divination I think I would have been really bad at. Transfiguration, what? I can become a cat if I want, and then turn back? I’ll stop, cause I could go on forever. (laughs)”

I don’t mind at all. I’m actually having a Harry Potter marathon with some of my friends today.

“You are? So do you have all the DVD’s and stuff?”

Oh yeah.

“As a present I got this box that has all this artwork from set, which I love, and then it has every DVD and it has the extended versions and the directors cuts. All of this stuff for each one. It’s got a wand in there. It’s just the coolest thing. If you can get your hands on that I would highly suggest it. It’s just the most enjoyable experience ever.”


Catch Dilshad in a new episode of Second Chance tonight at 9pm/8c on Fox!

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