Published on November 18th, 2016 | by gareth0
We Talk Miss Sloane With Raoul Bhaneja
Recently I spoke with the talented Raoul Bhaneja about his work in the film “Miss Sloane” which has generated some serious buzz.
How did you prepare for the roles?
We were fortunate during the process of getting ready to shoot Miss Sloane, to meet with a Washington lobbyist who spent a few sessions with us talking about the job, our script and answering basic questions we had. Jessica and Gugu had both been to Washington to do some prep and I know Jessica met with like eleven different lobbyists in that process which gave her some insight. I’m quite an avid political junkie but I needed some clarifications on how the wheels of government turn! I always wish I had more time to prepare and do a Daniel Day Lewis! Okay maybe not quite like that…
What is working with your cast like and any special moments from filming you can share?
It is an incredible ensemble of actors and the film has a really deep bench from our leader Jessica Chastain down to some of the small roles. In fact I know almost every actor in this movie as some of it was shot in Toronto, where I have worked most of my career, so I was very proud when I saw it, as the work is strong all around. Jessica is a marvel so that was fun to watch up close. She has a calm, friendly demeanor with her colleagues and an ability to deliver take after take after take. Seemingly effortless and very focused. I actually found that as a quality among the great actors on this film. It was a shared trait of excellence, focus and boundless energy. There were a few days on set when we were shooting “the Senate hearing” scenes where I got to spend a lot of time in my chair in a tiny room with Alison Pill, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jessica, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha Raw, John Lithgow and Sam Waterston. It was a dream and that entire group shares some kind of theatre background, so the stories were amazing. There was a famous party in the 1970s that was held for legendary New York theatre maker Joe Papp that John and Sam started talking about and it was a theatre nerds ultimate fly on the wall moment!
How far ahead do you know about the path of your character and what would you like to explore in the future?
As this is a feature film vs. a series, I know all there is, and it’s up there on screen! The RM DUTTON sequel will be quite something I’m sure!
How did you get into acting and what was your big break?
I showed an interest in this quite early on and I went to an arts focused high school program in Ottawa called Canterbury High School and then a few years later I graduated from a classical theatre training program at The National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal. I have worked in Toronto and all over the last twenty years but I guess my big break was the first film I shot, in which I actually was the lead! That doesn’t happen very much and may have been a bit spoiled now that I think about it. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1998, a small indie film called EXTRAORDINARY VISITOR, where I played, yes get this, John the Baptist. He comes back down to Earth to determine if God should destroy mankind or let them survive, and did I mention it was a comedy set in St. John’s Newfoundland?
What do you look for when you consider a part?
I’ve played leads to smaller supporting roles in theatre, film and television so while a lead can be amazing it’s not always the number of lines that counts on whether a part is a good one (or good for you). When I was younger I thought I could play everything no matter what and now I realize I can play everything but it has to start with me, from the inside out vs. the outside in. Good writing is the key and that’s what I loved about Miss Sloane when I read the script. All the characters had their own distinct voice and subtle nuance which is the sign of a gifted writer. The fact that this was our screenwriter’s first script is absolutely astonishing and I can’t wait to see what he creates next.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I don’t have a lot of time I consider “free” as I have two sons at home and my wife, Birgitte Solem is also a busy actor so my free time is generally family time. I like to catch fellow musicians when I can sneak out but when I’m home I’ll watch a bit of the Toronto Raptors and I am a devoted long-time fan of The Toronto Blue Jays. We’ve had an amazing two seasons after many not so amazing ones! Go Jays!
What other projects do you have coming up?
I’m a busy blues musician with my band “Raoul and The Big Time” (http://www.raoulandthebigtime.com) and I have for many years toured and recorded with them. I have a big anniversary show celebrating the spirit of the Mississippi Blues called DOWN IN THE DELTA at Koerner Hall in Toronto on April 29th 2017 which, believe it or not I’m preparing for now. I’m also on a few episodes of season two of the Sony Crackle show “The Art of More”, which is now available online and my wife and I are touring our hit production of DISGRACED by Ayad Akhtar to The Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta in January 2017!