Los Angeles one day, Sydney the next. The life of an actor can be hectic, as Whitebridge’s Geraldine Viswanathan is learning.
And she wouldn’t have it any other way.
The former Hunter School of the Performing Arts student plays sassy legal researcher Bonnie Mahesh in ABC TV series Janet King, starred in feature film Emo: The Musical and is working in the US with Seth Rogen.
Yes, that Seth Rogen.
“It’s a comedy called The Pact where John Cena plays my dad. It’s my first American gig and also my first proper leading role in a movie,” she tells Weekender.
“The audition came through my US manager. I did a self-tape, then a callback a few weeks later, and then they flew me to Los Angeles to meet with the director, Kay Cannon. While this was all happening I was shooting a sketch show with Freudian Nip so it was a total whirlwind.”
Freudian Nip is an all-girl sketch comedy collective based in Sydney with credits including the Sydney Comedy Festival, Sydney Fringe Festival and the WOW Film Festival.
The Pact is the story of three parents (Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz and Cena) who discover their daughters’ pact to lose their virginity at a high-school prom and launch a covert operation to stop the teens from sealing the deal. Rogen is one of the producers.
“It is completely and utterly surreal. It has been such a dream of mine to be in one of these big Universal comedies,” Viswanathan says.
“There are a lot of people on this project that I respect. The director Kay Cannon is such an idol of mine, having written some of the best 30 Rock episodes and the Pitch Perfect movies. At the risk of sounding really cheesy, it’s a total dream come true.”
When Weekender last spoke to her early last year, a nervous Viswanathan was on her way to the US for her first serious round of auditions alongside other young hopefuls. She has come a long way since then.
“Generally speaking, I don’t find auditions that scary because there is so much competition. There are so many people who look just like you, going for the same role,” she explains.
“The odds are so stacked against you that it becomes less about getting the job and more about having a fun opportunity to do what you love. It starts to get scary when you’re doing callbacks or meeting directors and producers because then it feels more personal and less of a numbers game.”
She has, over time, developed a thick skin.
“It’s impossible to tell if an audition went well or not because even if you get the job, you never really know why you got that job – maybe it was because they needed someone with long brown hair and a specific height – you never know,” she says, laughing.
“The more auditions you do, the better you get at it. It’s very much about energy and mind set.”
As for the future, Viswanathan is keeping her options open.
“I don’t have any projects set in stone yet after I finish shooting The Pact but I will probably head home for a few weeks to see everyone. The Freudian Nip girls and I have some projects on the horizon that we will get stuck into soon,” she says.
“There is so much opportunity at the moment and I’m totally happy to go wherever the wind takes me. Acting professionally is a real rollercoaster ride and there is zero stability but there’s something really exciting about not knowing what’s going to happen next.”