It’s only Friday, but I’m already looking forward to seeing AMC’s The Walking Dead on Sunday night. Who gets zombified next? Who survives? This week, I’m especially keeping an eye on dreamy California local, Sunkrish Bala, who plays a doctor on the show. I chatted with the television veteran yesterday about his new role, ramen noodles and his advice for wannabe actors.
Favorite part of working on The Walking Dead?
The food in Atlanta, Georgia, where we tape the episodes, is fantastic.
How surreal it is with all these people in zombie makeup just hanging out?
Most of the zombies are background actors so we don’t really see them. They’re in a tent far away. They’re only brought in when we’re filming. But it is fun to watch guys with guts hanging out waiting in line for a pastry. Sorry. I keep talking about food. I must be hungry.
It is lunchtime. So, did you watch the show before you came on?
I didn’t. I’m a little skittish. I hate horror movies. I hate being scared. I hate roller coasters. I’m a big pussy. But when I came on the show, I started frantically watching all the seasons. The first episode I shot, I wasn’t quite even caught up. I was on the second or third season. But I just got through it all and the third season is definitely my favorite.
Did you watch it alone?
I watched it alone.
Okay, see that’s brave. I can’t watch the show alone. So tell us about your character on The Walking Dead.
I am not able to share much, unfortunately. I’m a doctor. My name is Caleb Subramanian. I defy you to find out how that happened. I have no idea how that happened. [Laughs.] But other than that, I can’t say much.
Do you think you would survive an actual zombie apocalypse?
No. If an actual zombie apocalypse would occur, I’m dead right away. I’m among the first wave of survivors killed. I can’t build a fire or defend myself. I took a karate class when I was kid. I was terrible. Trust me, I’m dead very quickly.
Have you ever dressed up as a zombie for Halloween?
No. Halloween is no masks, no makeup. You want to make it as easy as possible.
Right now I’m obsessed with___________.
I just discovered ramen noodles. Real Japanese ramen noodles. Not those other ones that come in a cup. I had no idea this existed.
Dream project collaboration.
I would love to be in one of those big, silly Judd Apatow comedies.
Whatever you do has to be fulfilling and meaningful to you. If not, you’re probably wasting your time.
Advice to wannabe actors.
What pisses me off more than anything is people who treat acting as a lark. Who treat it as a hobby. “I want to do this on the the side,” I hear, especially from young South Asians. That’s fine, go do community theater. But don’t treat acting with the idea that “it happens if it happens.” Put all your eggs in one basket. Take this seriously. Go whole hog.
Hog. There you go talking about food again.
Yes. Go. Whole. Hog. This whole interview keeps circling back to food.
I have to ask, do you still get remembered as “Penis Guy” from Grey’s Anatomy?
That is the one thing I get recognized for all the time. I guess old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy are always on the air. I was in the gym at San Jose like three weeks ago and a housewife recognized me from the show. I’m “Penis Guy.”
That’s not a bad thing to be.
No, but I’m “Broken Penis Guy,” which is a horrible thing to be.
What’s one question you wish you got asked during an interview but never did?
Why are you so wonderful? I dunno. I kinda live in fear of interviews.
Understandable. Well, best of luck. I hope you survive the zombie apocalypse.
Thank you. I do too.