Vinny Chhibber on his role in TNT's 'Animal Kingdom': "Rahul is greed, corruption, selfishness, narcissism, entitlement"
In an exclusive with MEAWW, the actor reveals that the inspiration behind his character Rahul -- an arrogant billionaire who is used to getting what he wants -- was the inherent inequality of the world
Vinny Chhibber has always enjoyed watching TNT's flagship drama 'Animal Kingdom'. So when he was roped in as a series regular for the fourth season, he welcomed the association with great anticipation.
Chhibber's recurring role on the fourth season of the TNT series is that of Rahul, an arrogant billionaire who is used to getting what he wants - luxury items or women. In fact, when he is told that he can’t have a particular thing, he will spend any amount of money to get his hands on it. Chhibber's Rahul enlists the help of Frankie (Dichen Lachman) and the Cody Boys to fulfil his wish.
Speaking exclusively to MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), Chhibber discusses how he sees his character of Rahul against the rough and ready criminals like the Cody Boys. "They [the Cody Boys] are a means to an end, but they are most certainly what I need. They are my means to get what I want and I'm not willing to go through all the trouble," he says. "I just wanted someone to pay any amount of money - I need to get it and they're there!"
'Animal Kingdom' follows the story of a 17-year-old boy who moves in with the Codys, his estranged relatives, following the death of his mother. The criminal family clan of the Codys is governed by the matriarch Janine "Smurf" Cody (played by Ellen Barkin).
The arrogance and privilege that Rahul comes from and his deeply rooted sense of entitlement is a far cry from Chhibber's previous performance on the CBS' drama 'The Red Line'. A performance to watch out for, Chhibber's Liam Bhatt, Jira Calder's literature teacher and a friend to Noah Wyle's Daniel Calder, is a giving, caring and understanding character who empathises - not pities - with the family after the brutal shooting.
These two characters, poles apart from each other, speak volumes of the versatility that Chhibber is capable of as an actor. Chhibber is also known for his previous works on CW’s 'No Tomorrow' and HBO’s 'Here, Now'.
"Liam is more likely to give while Rahul is more likely to take," says Chhibber. "I think at the base level, there is Liam, who, for me, represents the best of us: the idea of home, the idea of compassion, and the idea of courage. On the other hand, Rahul is greed, corruption, selfishness, narcissism, entitlement - you name it! Liam really doesn't have those qualities."
Chhibber notes that his inspirations for portraying the negative character of Rahul comes from the inherent inequalities of the world.
"The odd thing is that there are people out there like Rahul, who have so much money that they live in a completely different world. These people have so much money that the law applies differently to them. In fact, you don't even really care about the law because they don't have to. We see this over and over again in the press that when the rich gets in trouble, law is applied (differently)," he says.
The same applies to Rahul, he says. "Rahul has got so much money that he does not honestly does not care about the law. He has put himself in a position where he thinks he deserves everything. "
'Animal Kingdom' also stars Barkin as the matriarch of the Cody crime family, along with Shawn Hatosy, Ben Robson, Jake Weary, Finn Cole and Sohvi Rodriguez. Being one of the few shows that has a female character pulling virtually all the strings, the story on the sets is not as dramatic.
"Everyone [on the sets] is warm, open and they have created a safe environment for the actors. It was a smooth ride [shooting]," Chhibber concludes.