If you happened to see World War Z, the apocalyptic zombie flick starring Brad Pitt and directed by Marc Foster, you may remember the character of Dr. Andrew Fassbach, the ambitious virologist. Before we go any further, be warned, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, there may be some spoilers.
Shall we continue?
Fassbach is the character who delivers the following monologue:
Mother Nature is a serial killer. No one’s better. More creative. Like all serial killers, she can’t help the urge to want to get caught. And what good are all those brilliant crimes if no one takes the credit. So she leaves crumbs. Now the hard part, why you spend a decade in school, is seeing the crumbs for the clues they are. Sometimes the things you thought were the most brutal aspect of the virus, turns out to be the chink in its armor. And she loves disguising her weaknesses as strengths.
See Dr. Fassbach in a completely mislabeled clip from World War Z that completely cuts out the aforementioned monologue:
If you’ve been secretly longing to find out more about the hunky doctor, whose on-screen presence in World War Z is all of a disappointing two minutes, your wish has been granted. His name is Elyes Gabel, a British actor who has played South Asians and various other ethnicities in both television and film roles. And yes, he’s on Twitter.
Congratulations to all involved in WWZ. Well made film. Proud to be involved in it!
— Elyes Gabel (@ElyesGabel) June 22, 2013
So what else might we know about Mr. Gabel?
You Already Love Him as One of the Khaleesi’s Loyal Servants on Game of Thrones
Well, Game of Thrones aficionados know him as Dothraki “Bloodrider” Rakharo–one of the Khaleesi’s most loyal warriors. But his screen credits extend beyond playing a Dothraki dreamboat. He also starred as detective Adam Lucas in ABC’s Body of Proof, which ended its run May 28. Gabel says that he faked a plausible American accent for the role. And fans of the British medical drama Casualty will recognize him as Dr. Gurpreet “Guppy” Sandhu, who he played for seven years. In fact, one of the most unique patterns about his filmography is that he’s been able to play roles of all races with ease and fluidity.
He’s Polite When Journalists Awkwardly Ask Him About His Ethnicity
But is he South Asian himself? Well, kinda, sorta, maybe. In a 2007 interview with Britain’s Take It Easy magazine, Gabel ducked the issue. The interview asked him the following question about his role as Dr. “Guppy”:
Q: Dr Guppy was beaten by racist thugs in the show. Have you experienced racism yourself?
A: You always experience a certain amount of bigotry no matter who you are, whether it’s subtle or unseen… You just need the strength to deal with it. It’s definitely a big issue for me. There are people that look at you superficially and just see coloured skin. It’s ridiculous and it does get to me. That said, I haven’t experienced it a great deal. I was born here – lived in Canada for a bit – but I’ve definitely got more of a root here.
But Has a Complicated Relationship With It, Anyway
Dissatisfied by the answer, because what the Take It Easy journalist likely wanted to ask was the ubiquitous “What are you?” question, the interviewer probed on:
Q: Do you feel a responsibility representing Asian characters like Guppy on screen?
A: I’ve got a very mixed race background so, although I’m not actually Asian myself, I’ve got distant touches of Indian in me. [Emphasis added because, OMG, WTF!] That’s quite an interesting point – you will be more likely to take on Asian roles because that’s the demographic here.
I think you have a responsibility to represent the storyline in the best way that you can. Because you’re almost representing someone else who’s been through that. The letters I received from people who’d been through it themselves… that definitely gave it a lot more importance.
Distant “touches of Indian,” huh? Putting aside the whole one-drop rule entirely — India is still very much in Asia, thank you sir. Then again, that was six years ago so maybe our boy has since touched up on his geography.
…But We’ll Forgive Him, Because He Makes Us Swoon
Gabel, 30, also plays the guitar and sings–and on the cover of Take It Easy, he even boldly proclaimed, “I want to be the next Johnny Cash.” Below you can find him singing, “Hold On,” an original song. Not swoon-worthy at all. *faints*