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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Interview with Actor / Producer Anjul Nigam

Interview with Actor / Producer Anjul Nigam

Anjul Nigam was an executive producer and a supporting actor in the feature film "Supercell" starring Alec Baldwin, Skeet Ulrich, and Anne Heche. He also was a producer on "Murder At Emigrant Gulch" starring Gabriel Byrne, Thomas Jane and Richard Dreyfuss. Previously, Nigam released Joel Souza's "Crown Vic," serving as its lead producer with Alec Baldwin and starring Thomas Jane, Luke Kleintank, Bridget Moynahan and David Krumholtz. The movie had its World Premiere at Tribeca Film Festival, subsequently released theatrically and on all major platforms. Nigam served as the lead producer on the feature film "Bayou Caviar," Oscar Winner Cuba Gooding Jr.'s directorial debut in which Gooding also stars opposite Oscar Winner Richard Dreyfuss, Famke Janssen, and Katharine McPhee; the movie was released theatrically in 2018. Prior to that Nigam was the lead producer, writer, and a lead actor alongside Jason Lee in the movie "Growing Up Smith" which had a theatrical release in forty cities in the United States and Canada in 2017, receiving TIME Magazine's "Pick of the Week" designation.

A graduate of New York University Tisch School of Arts / Drama Department, Nigam is a veteran actor, having starred in or had significant roles in a dozen motion pictures and numerous landmark TV series. In addition to appearing in the theatrical film "Trafficked" with Ashley Judd, he was a supporting lead in Focus Features' "Bad Words" for director/star Jason Bateman; a lead alongside Rosario Dawson in 20th Century Fox's "The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest"; and a supporting lead in Universal's "Speaking of Sex" with Bill Murray. Nigam is known for Netflix's show "Never Have I Ever" created by Mindy Kaling and recurs as Psych Dr. Raj on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy." He recurred on HBO's "True Detective" opposite Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, and Taylor Kitsch. In theater, Nigam starred alongside former NYU classmate and friend, Philip Seymour Hoffman in "The Merchant of Venice" directed by Peter Sellars at the RSC (London) and Goodman Theatre (Chicago). 


In a recent interview with Anjul about his eclectic career and impressive credits, here is what he had to say: 

How long have you been a producer and how did you get into it?

ANJUL: I've been a professional actor for over three decades (got my Screen Actors Guild card back in 1987... 35 years ago, jeez!!). I produced my first feature film “Growing Up Smith” in 2014 (which took me only ten years to get off the ground:) and after a 25-festival run, it was released in theaters in 2017. I initially became involved with the project as the original writer of the screenplay was interested in me for one of the leads (I played Smith’s father) and I knew that to get the project made, I would need to take the bull by the horns, that is, immerse myself into getting it made.


Producing is one of the hardest jobs in film, as it's so difficult to find financing. What is the best advice you can give to a beginning producer?

ANJUL: Reverse engineer the process. Think of it as constructing a house and start by knowing your end goal... that is, who's going to buy your house, where will it be located, how much will you spend. From there, work backwards in determining the building blocks you'll need to achieve the house you're going to build.


You have worked on films like "Growing Up Smith" and "Murder at Yellowstone". Do you have a project you have worked on that you are most proud of?

ANJUL: “Growing Up Smith” was certainly one of the projects I'm most proud of, and for many reasons. In the process of building it, I had several roles: I was one of the lead actors (as mentioned, I played Smith’s father), I was the projects lead producer, and I was one of the writers. Working on it for so many years and turning every rock, learning which rocks to avoid, which ones were too heavy, which ones were Styrofoam, which ones were worthy, it all required a lot of patience and perseverance. Ultimately, though, it all came together, and it was immensely rewarding to see the vision of so many involved culminate into a living, breathing moving picture on the silver screen.


You are also a prolific actor. What have been your most treasured roles you have played in your career?

ANJUL: Wouldn't you know it, some of the most significant, starring roles have been my most treasured! To name a few of my favorites... one of the leads in Showtime's “Silver Strand”, one of the leads with Rosario Dawson and Jake Busey in “The First $20 Million is Always the Hardest” (still is for me!), one of the supporting leads with Bill Murray in “Speaking of Sex” (even though it was never released), one of the supporting leads in Tom Clancy's “Netforce” starring Scott Bakula, Brian Dennehy and Kris Kristofferson, one of the supporting leads with Blythe Danner, Peter Fonda and Faye Dunaway in “Back When We Were Grownups”, one of the supporting leads with my college buddy Philip Seymour Hoffman in “The Merchant of Venice” (at the RSC in London).


How has being an actor helped you become a successful producer?

ANJUL: I understand the actor's professional and creative process because I am one. And so, I believe there's a certain level of trust that other actors, including star name talent, have with me. This is immensely valuable in packaging a project.


Do you have a favorite and worst moment you can think of, in your career?

ANJUL: Favorite moment: every time I'm recognized at a grocery store in front of my kids, who don't believe that I'm somebody (they think I'm just some nobody, which they remind me daily."


You recently started a production company with Alec Baldwin. Can you tell us about your relationship with him and how that started?

ANJUL: We've done several movies together, starting with “Crown Vic”, which we both produced, and which went to Tribeca Film Festival where we received numerous distribution offers. Since then, we've been actors together on two films, “Supercell” which just released last month (March 2023) and the upcoming “97 Minutes”, both of which I've been an executive producer on. And of course, we are producers on “Rust”, which is in the process of being completed in honor of Halyna Hutchins.


What's next in the pipeline for you?

ANJUL: I am in development on my directorial debut that I co-wrote, and I am producing with Alec Baldwin for our Persona Entertainment.


Interview with Actor / Producer Anjul Nigam    

Interview with Actor / Producer Anjul Nigam


Interview by Vanessa McMahon



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