Geraldine Viswanathan broke out big time with Blockers in 2018 and even though that was her very first major Hollywood production, her talent was already undeniable. Cut to 2020 and the release of her newest feature, The Broken Hearts Gallery. Again, it was already abundantly clear that Viswanathan was mighty talented, but Broken Hearts Gallery shows off next-level comedic sensibilities, confidence and the commanding screen presence necessary to lead a feature. Viswanathan set the bar pretty high right out the gate with Blockers, but watching her hone those skills as she moves from project to project solidifies her boundless potential.
While things are moving forward for Viswanathan right now with a significant amount of momentum, getting that jumpstart took a little bit of time. During our Collider Ladies Night chat, Viswanathan detailed her experience making the move from Australia to Los Angeles:
“When I was 18 and I finished high school, I came to LA for six months and did acting classes and did Actors Access auditions and was just self-submitting. It’s kind of crazy to think that I did that. I did some really silly things! [Laughs] But yeah, I feel like I was just testing it out to see if that’s what I wanted to do.”
After that six-month stretch, Viswanathan had to head back to Australia. But it turns out, going back was just the reinvigoration that she needed:
“And then I went back to Sydney because I didn’t have the Visa and was auditioning there. And yeah, it was just auditioning a lot and not really getting anywhere, so that’s kind of when I started doing stand-up and I had a sketch group with some friends. And honestly, as soon as I started doing that and independent theater and just things that were fulfilling me and made me feel good and made me feeling like I was practicing and working on what I want to do and my voice.”
While working with her sketch group and doing independent theater, Viswanathan was also self-taping and that’s actually how she landed her role in Blockers:
“I remember I was at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. I had just landed, and I had landed with my sketch group, Freudian Nip. Actually, right before I got on the plane, I got a call from my agent being like, ‘They want you to go to LA and meet Kay Cannon.’ And I had left my passport in Sydney, so I had to get on the plane to Melbourne, fly straight back to Sydney and then go to LA, so it was just such a whirlwind. And I got cast like a week before we started shooting!”
Not only did Blockers have Viswanathan starring opposite well-known industry veterans like John Cena, Leslie Mann and Ike Barinholtz, but Gideon Adlon and Kathryn Newton already had significant backgrounds in film and television as well. As the newest to Hollywood of the bunch, did that up the nerves even more for Viswanathan when she got to set? Here’s what she said:
“I think we were super lucky because we met and just sort of instantly got along. We didn’t have a chemistry read or anything, so we really just lucked out on that. But I guess, yeah, I did feel like a little bit of the wild card. I was like, ‘I’m flying in from Australia. Here I am!’ But I think very quickly those sort of nerves went away because they were just so warm and lovely.”
This right here is only a portion of Viswanathan’s journey to and through Hollywood. Check out her full episode of Collider Ladies Night to hear more about her earliest inspirations, working with Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney on Bad Education, jumping into her first drama for Hala, her run on the TBS series Miracle Workers, and so much more! You can watch the video version at the top of this article or check out the podcast version below:
- 00:45 – What came first, wanting to be an actor or doing stand-up comedy?
- 01:30 – Why Friends was such a big deal to Viswanathan growing up.
- 03:10 – Is Viswanathan a fan of horror movies?
- 04:00 – How did Viswanathan know she had the comedic chops to turn it into a career?
- 05:40 – What it was like stepping on the set of Blockers and watching Ike Barinholtz, John Cena and Leslie Mann improvise together.
- 07:03 – On making the move from Australia to Hollywood; the importance of all the support she gets from her family.
- 09:05 – What Viswanathan experienced after moving to LA, but before booking Blockers.
- 10:56 – How did Viswanathan land her role in Blockers?
- 12:30 – What it was like working with Kathryn Newton and Gideon Adlon on Blockers, and feeling a bit like the wild card of the group.
- 14:30 – What does Viswanathan do when she’s on a set and the vibe doesn’t feel right?
- 15:37 – Was Blockers a game-changer for Viswanathan; was she predominantly being offered similar films after Blockers’ success?
- 17:51 – How did Viswanathan approach jumping into a heavy drama with Hala?
- 18:45 – Viswanathan watches interviews with other actors; what question does she wish was asked more often?
- 20:26 – Viswanathan takes a different approach to every project, but does have one thing she’s found herself doing often?
- 21:15 – Did her experience making Hala wind up influencing her approach to her work on comedies?
- 22:23 – Viswanathan talks about her experience working on Bad Education with Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney.
- 23:45 – Which co-star challenged Viswanathan the most by having a completely different process?
- 26:03 – Viswanathan talks about making Miracle Workers with Daniel Radcliffe, Steve Buscemi and Simon Rich.
- 27:37 – Even though Dark Ages is so drastically different, did keeping the ensemble together still make it feel like a continuation of Season 1?
- 28:32 – How did they choose which roles they’d get in Season 2; what does Viswanathan hope to get to do in Season 3?
- 30:16 – How Broken Hearts Gallery directed Natalie Krinsky changed Viswanathan’s life forever.
- 32:14 – What it was like working on Broken Hearts Gallery with Phillipa Soo and Molly Gordon.
- 34:25 – Did working on Bojack Horseman prepare her for voicing a lead character in an animated feature for Rumble?
- 36:35 – Of everything Viswanathan has done so far, what’s amassed the biggest fandom?
- 38:04 – Random questions begin! Find out what movie Viswanathan could watch over and over, her favorite lockdown activity, her favorite food to order in, if she cooks, if she has any pets, and her biggest fear overcome.
- 42:14 – Would Viswanathan rather fake sneeze or fake vomit in a scene?