Ritesh Rajan – Twentyfiveish
By: Lisa Steinberg
Q) Twentyfive-ish is getting some great buzz. I think you guys hadn’t even filmed anything and it was like getting the word around.
A) Yeah, they are doing a really great job with the marketing and really bringing the cast and crew, behind the camera and in front of the camera. It was quite the experience and something really fun to do in between “Stitchers.” It was good to get my hands on something different.
Q) Obviously, we have seen you in “Stitchers” and we love seeing you in that role, but where do we see you through Twentyfiveish? How did you come onboard with the project? So many people are Freeform connected too.
A) Yeah, the crew I believe have worked together throughout the years through “Pretty Little Liars” and the new Bella Throne show that’s coming on Freeform as well (“Famous In Love”). So, the crew was a tight knit group and I think Brendan Robinson was probably one of the first to be attached to the project and casting just reached out to me and they asked if I would be interested in taking a look at the role. I thought it would be a great opportunity to kind of show a different side of myself and do something different on the acting front. I had a great time. It was a really good experience. We shot in a beautiful cabin, in the Los Angeles area, kind of in the hills. And I think it will be a really poignant, coming of age piece so a lot of people will be able to relate to it.
Q) Well then, tell us how you relate to it and how you connect to your character.
A) Well, I play a character called Vic and basically the whole plot that pushes my character forward is that I’m not necessarily part of the group of friends that go on this high school reunion getaway. But I’ve got something to prove to myself and to those that used to know me or the former version of myself. So, I think a lot of people who maybe struggled or weren’t the coolest kids growing up and kind of are late bloomers in life will relate to Vic pretty extensively. And Vic is a really good example of if you set your mind to something, work towards it and block out the noise and distractions, as long as you’re true to yourself I think you’ll succeed. A lot of people will relate to that and also kind of in your mid 20’s you don’t know where your life is going, you don’t know what you want, you feel like you’re lost, you have no direction. But you’re not alone. I think a lot of people feel that way but like I said if you just keep your head on your shoulders and take it one step at a time, you’ll find a path that you’ll enjoy.
Q) And I know the series is not quite a comedy and not quite a drama at the same time.
A) It’s definitely in the lane of a dramedy. It does a really good job of reflecting the everyday struggle of trying to balance life. Some days are good and some days are bad. You have those goofy moments where the guys are kind of throwing back old high school stories and being nostalgic, but at the same time they’re talking about where they are now and it may not necessarily be where they wanted to be at twenty-five. When you’re eighteen years old, the world is a much smaller place and when you go out into the adult world we all unfortunately have to go through that struggle.
Q) In a sense watching shows from Freeform, we’ve grown up with a lot of the characters through watching the shows like “Pretty Little Liars” and “The Fosters.” We relate to certain aspects of some of the characters, so we’ve kind of grown up in that sense too along with the shows that we watch on the network. All that is about growing up as well.
A) Definitely. It plays along that motif of growing up, becoming adults, transitioning from childhood to adulthood and finding your way and finding your path and being comfortable with yourself as well. You know everything doesn’t go as planned and that’s life and I think it’s how you react to that is what makes you the person that you want to be. So, if something goes wrong, depending on how you react to it is going to alter the course of your life and change the way that you live. Being able to get back on the horse and keep going is an important part. This story talks a lot about that struggle, in terms of things not going that way that you wanted them to be or envisioned it to be, but still doing your best and moving forward.
Q) With web series they can end up in a large part being funded by things like GoFundMe and Indegogo, campaigning ways. I know this was one was also targeted for its crowdfunding. I wanted to ask how finding funding through that and working from a budget, how does the series adapt with that?
A) It’s interesting because I’ve worked on really small projects and I’ve worked on massive projects and I find that for me personally they’ll all run into the same issues, it’s really strange. Scheduling, timing and those kind of hiccups that you normally get, I never really feel like just because a project is looking for funding or is maybe smaller that it’s necessarily of less quality. As long as everyone is bringing their A-game and everyone has their heart in the project, the finished project is going to be amazing and I think that is something we have here. Everyone worked their butts off and put in blood, sweat and tears and many, many hours. That will show in the final product.
Q) Speaking of filming, I wanted to talk a little bit about what that was like for you. At the point when I talked to Brendan it hadn’t even started yet, you were going to start in December and now we are here in March so filming has fully been completed. I wanted to talk about what the process was like for you because web series are pretty quick, you get a certain amount of episodes and to film is a really fast process.
A) Right now if I remember correctly, we have five or six short episodes. I think collectively the whole thing is about thirty minutes, maybe a little bit more. That being said, they accommodate really well in terms of using the space and telling the story. It’s about context and when you have a limited space and time, those six or ten minutes, that time frame has to be packed and loaded. And everything that everyone is saying I think has to push the story or relay a message or unveil something about the character. It’s kind of a blessing in disguise because you’ll be glued to the screen for those five or six minutes since you want to know what’s going to happen.
Q) And will we get them right away, will we be able to watch all the episodes at once or is it going to be once a week?
A) In terms of the logistics of release, I’m not sure. That’s a better question for the producers. I’m not aware yet of what the game plan is, but I’m sure they are going to answer that in way more detail than I can.
Q) Is there anything specifically about the series that we didn’t talk about that you want to make sure that we do touch on and when we might be able to see everything?
A) In terms of information on release, I’d say that I’m not aware of it yet. But in terms of things that we haven’t touched on, I think we pretty much covered everything. Like I said, it’s about these kids who are coming of age and rediscovering themselves. They are different people from what they thought they were in high school, which is something that I personally think a lot of people go through. It’s very relatable, it’s really funny and people are going to have a great time watching it. They’ll laugh and cry, I think it will touch people’s hearts.
Q) Do you have any other projects that are coming up or that you are working on?
A) I just started “Stitchers” Season Three, we are coming back on airJune 6th at 9pm. We literally just started that on Monday. And then I’ll be recurring on “Star Wars Rebels “as well, it’s a cartoon. Those are the two projects I’ll be on and then I’ll be on an episode of “Young and Hungry” this upcoming season.
Q) We’re keeping you all in the family.
A) Yes! Disney treats me well. I’m not complaining, that’s for sure.