'Murphy Brown' star Nik Dodani talks about the revival and how it is a "good blend of the old school show and the new world"
Nik spoke about his character Pat Patel in the show 'Murphy Brown' and how he and the rest of the FYI gang will tackle the problems of fake news.
Actor and comedian Nik Dodani’s star is on the rise. With a busy slate for the remainder of 2018, Nik can currently be seen reprising his role as the wise-cracking Zahid in Netflix’s critically acclaimed series 'Atypical'. Also on television screens Nik stars in the revival of 'Murphy Brown' as Pat Patel, the newest member of the FYI gang alongside original cast member Candice Bergen. Heading into 2019, Nik will headline the dark thriller 'Escape Room' from Sony, opposite Jay Ellis ('Insecure').
In an exclusive conversation with Meaww, Nik spoke about his character Pat Patel and how he and the rest of the FYI gang will tackle the problems of fake news and all the trouble that is hovering with the election of a new president. Nik also elaborated on his character Zahid, and what could be expected out of him if 'Atypical' returns for a third season.
How does being Pat feel after Atypical's Zahid? He was a true enigma, would his charm and easy-go-lucky nature see light in Pat as well?
Yeah, I think Zahid was exciting. We get to see more of Zahid in the last season, a little more of his personal life, a little more of his kind of three-dimensional sides, and if we are lucky enough then in Season 3 we will get to see more of his charm and more of himself.
Pat Patel is a tech-savvy fellow who is going to give the newsroom gang some important lessons about SEO and social media. What are some tips you would like to give the social media teams of media houses?
My advice to everyone is to delete Twitter because it is a horrible platform and nobody should be on it.
We live in the post-truth era where anything can be fake news. How do you as a "millennial reporting for duty" think social media has influenced that and how do you see Pat tackling that problem?
I think it's pretty clear that social media has spread fake news all over the world and a lot of important moments, especially like the elections is affected by it. You know, fake news is absolutely something the 'Murphy Brown' revival tackles and addresses because it is such a big part of our landscape now. I think a big part of the revival is what it means to be reporting the truth.
How did joining an already tightly-knit team feel like? Was it all welcomes hugs right away or did the newbies have to work their way into the friend circle?
You know I was very nervous before meeting any of them. They have all known each other for so long, they have worked together for so long, but they were welcoming from Day 1. You know, they really brought me into the family right away and it was clearly the most heartwarming welcome I have ever seen on the set, so I am really grateful.
The gang has a new villain to face now. Should we be prepared for the similar kind of newsroom hysteria that we had seen in the past? Or will there be something different this time?
I think the revival is a very good blend of the old school show and the new world that we currently live in, and it will be a nice mix.
Zahid was a very interesting character and a significant part of 'Atypical'. How do you want the character and his story to unfold on the show?
I got to give the credit to Robia Rashid, our showrunner and creator. She is the person who guides the whole show and guides where all these characters go. So this season it was all her, her and her husband, Michael, who is also a writer on the show.
He has the role of a wise sage in Sam's life. How is your relationship with Keir Gilchrist off-screen?
I think Keir and I have a pretty similar relationship just like Zahid and Sam. There is a lot of love, we are both very close, and I am kind of the goofy one while he is kind of the straight man. And we have really become close friends over the last few years because of the show, and I can't imagine having a better cast-mate.
Do we have any confirmation regarding season 3? What would you like the show to explore in the coming seasons?
We don't have any confirmation yet in Season 3 but we should be here this summer too. We are really hoping for a season 3, but you never know. If we do get another season, of course, I would love to see more of Zahid, there are some plans for Zahid as he is trying to go to nursing school, which we saw a little bit of in Episode 6 of Season 2. You know, he will go to college and a lot more will happen.
You will also star in 'Escape Room'. Could you walk us through the audition process?
Yeah, that was a pretty straightforward audition. I got the script, while I was shooting for 'Alex Strangelove' here in New York, and I put myself on top. Sent it on and a few months later, I went in to meet with the director and then I got the role. Pretty straightforward.
'Escape Room' will be a completely different kind of experience for you. Did you face any hindrances while preparing/playing the role?
No hindrance or trouble for me. I have worked with injury on set but that kind of happens with any thriller action movie. We did get to do a lot of cool stunts and the stunt team was pretty incredible in Cape Town and kept us safe. Especially for me, because I got to do this really fun drowning sequence with a few months of training to get me ready. So that I can do it without a stunt double, you know actually drowning. But it was really fun. It was a brand new experience for me because I have never really done anything like that before. It would be exciting to hear what people think.
Though casting has become much more diverse, it still tends to be stereotypical. Why do you think that even today many Asian characters are represented as the nerdy, geeky ones?
That's what a lot of writers know. It is kind of unfortunate but that is the image that people have in their minds, about Asian and South Asian people. I think it is slowly changing, I think it is going to take some more effort on the part of writers and producers in the industry to actually bring in their imagination and put themselves to think outside the box when it comes to Asian and South Asian characters.