Actor Vas Saranga’s latest project, Little Italy, comes out this week. Saranga stars alongside Hayden Christensen and Emma Roberts in the romantic comedy which follows a couple falling in love in the midst of their families’ pizza wars. Saranga is no stranger to the screen and has already built quite the resume. He’s worked in television and on the big screen including roles on some of our favorite shows like Orphan Black and Handmaid’s Tale.  He was also named one of Canada’s Rising Stars by The Hollywood Reporter.

I recently chatted with Saranga about why he became an actor, representation, getting started and of course, Little Italy and pizza!


Melody McCune: Now, I’m going to ask you a question you’ve probably been asked a million times – what inspired you to pursue a career in entertainment?

Vas Saranga: My favorite question because it makes me reflect on the best part of my childhood. Seeing Michael J. Fox play Marty McFly really inspired me at a young age to want to be an actor. Finding out that he’s Canadian sealed the deal.

MM: Congratulations on being named one of “Canada’s Rising Stars” by The Hollywood Reporter! That’s a big feat. How has this accolade opened doors for you?

VS: Thanks! I’m so incredibly grateful to be included in that list. It really helped open the door to the US entertainment industry – agent, manager, meetings, the whole nine yards.

MM: We’re seeing the entertainment industry undergoing a much needed revitalization by way of diversity, although we still have a ways to go. Do you think your recognition by THR will inspire more performers of South Asian descent to pursue the arts?

VS: Definitely. I’ve had up and coming South Asian actors reach out to me on social media asking for career advice, which means that other South Asian people are seeing that it’s possible to have a career in the arts, and are going after their artistic dreams. We need more representation!

MM: Your latest project, Little Italy, is set for release next month. What was it like shooting with Hayden Christensen and Emma Roberts, and what can you tell us about your character Jogi?

VS: It was awesome shooting with Hayden Christensen and Emma Roberts. I was trying hard to make Hayden laugh during some takes, but he’s got a good poker face – he only broke once. Emma was so fun to work with, we have a little moment where we got to improvise a bit and I could see that she brings her personality to her character a lot. My character, Jogi, is the enthusiastic assistant at Vince’s Pizzeria. He’s willing to do anything for the job, and totally wishes he could be a ladies man like Hayden’s character, Leo.

MM: Shooting movies can be an interesting process – long days and nights on set are breeding grounds for fun anecdotes. Do you have a favorite set memory from Little Italy?

VS: Every day people off the street would walk onto the set for Vince’s Pizzeria and Sal’s Pizzeria asking if they could order pizza. It was fun messing with some of them, pretending that I work there (and that it was a real business). I’d eventually send them across the street to an actual pizza place. I guess it’s a testament to how great the set design and art direction was for Little Italy that people believed they were real pizzerias. Spending time with Danny Aiello was always a highlight. He’d launch into these great stories from his career, and crack jokes and make everyone laugh. it was endlessly fascinating.

MM: You’ve also appeared in quite a few sci-fi series, such as Orphan Black and Salvation. I’m a die hard Orphan Black fan, and I’m still mourning the show’s end. What was it like working with Tatiana Maslany? Were you a fan of the series prior to snagging your role?

VS: I was 100% a fan of the series before landing my role. It took me 5 seasons to get a part on that show, and I was watching as a fan on the edge of my seat the entire time. Working with Tatiana Maslany was the highlight. She’s down to earth and approachable, she chats with everyone between takes and then when the camera rolls she’s whatever character she needs to be. It was impressive to watch, and of course I took notes 🙂

MM: We’re experiencing a sci-fi renaissance in film and television these days. What do you think is so alluring about the sci-fi genre? Do you find the filming process for sci-fi differs from other genres?

VS: I think it’s the world building. Sci-fi explores and expands on so many concepts that we only scratch the surface of in day to day life. I think the filming process is more intricate – for instance, in Orphan Black, they use a special motion control camera rig to film the clones together. Sci-fi can involve a lot of green screen work and special effects shots, which you have to take into consideration when performing. It’s also a lot more secretive. When you audition, sometimes you get a special script that doesn’t include actual episode or character details, so that nothing gets leaked online.

MM: You became widely known for your role as Reese in Teletoon’s Mudpit. What was the audition process like for Mudpit?

VS: It involved a lot callbacks, chemistry reads (matching groups of actors together), and musical performances. As nerve-wrecking as it was, it was a lot of fun too. I actually remember screen testing with some of the final cast, and it’s great to reminisce about it when we see each other.

MM: You’re also a musician, and you recorded a slew of songs for Mudpit. What is your musician origins story, and can we expect new music from you at some point?

VS: I got my first guitar when I was 12 and I barely put it down. I was obsessed with Nirvana and Green Day, and I would get kicked out of guitar stores for playing their songs on repeat. I was in a few bands in high school but nothing stuck. Recording songs for MudPit was a great experience – they had such talented musicians and song writers guiding us, I learned a ton about how albums are recorded. These days I play mostly for fun, and I don’t compose my own music, so you’ll probably only hear music from me in the future if it’s related to an acting role.


MM: In addition to your musical and theatrical talents, you’re also a writer. You’ve recently finished writing a feature film script and a spec sitcom pilot script. Do you have a genre preference when screenwriting? Follow up question: do you find it easier to write for film or TV?

VS: I prefer writing comedy, it’s just where my heart is. I actually find it easier to write for film because a feature film screenplay is a singular story, whereas for a TV pilot you need to build the entire world of the series and make sure it has legs by conceiving future episode ideas.

MM: The entertainment industry can be rough waters to navigate, especially for the inexperienced. Do you have any tips or tricks for performers who are just getting started?

VS: You can learn the basics really well with lots of practice, in class, on stage, on camera. The more hours you work at it the better. Getting on set experience as a newcomer is the tough part, so student films is the way to go. A lot of people suggest just shooting stuff with friends, but I’d like to add to that advice: find some good writing, or learn to write something to perform yourself, and try and get a crew of people who want to be filmmakers to help you shoot it- it’ll make all the difference.

MM: Finally, give us your top five favorite movies. And…go!

VS: Back to the Future, The Dark Knight, The Godfather, Superbad, The 40 Year Old Virgin.


Thanks Vas for taking the time to chat with Geek Girl Authority! 



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