This summer, The CW premiered a new show entitled The Outpost. The series follows a young woman named Talon, who’s the lone survivor of the Blackbloods.
Seeking revenge for the death of her family, Talon is lead to an outpost on the edge of civilization.
Among the characters she meets inside the walls of The Outpost is Janzo, a master brewer, who is proving to be more than just a simple bartender.
I recently spoke with Anand Desai-Barochia, who plays Janzo, about how he got the role and what awaits Janzo in the next half of the season.
“I originally wasn’t meant to audition for Janzo. I was meant to audition for Garret. As I was reading the pilot for The Outpost, I read this incredible character by the name of Janzo,” he said.
“I immediately fell in love with him, and I asked the casting director and my manager if I could read for Janzo instead. They said, ‘Yes, of course. We’ll love to see you for Garrett, but if Janzo is who you’d like to audition for, sure!’” said Desai-Barochia.
He decided to audition for Janzo instead and got the role. Desai-Barochia connected with the character immediately, and he loved many of the qualities he found on the page.
“I like that he’s quite dry, and witty, and blunt in his humor,” explained Desai-Barochia. “He comes across to be this no-nonsense character, even though he is a pretty lonely, insecure, guy.”
Janzo stands in stark contrast to Garrett Spears, a member of the Prime Order, who has to enforce the law. Garrett is heroic, well-spoken, and everything that Janzo isn’t.
“He has a very funny relationship with Garrett,” said Desai-Barochia.
“Garrett is everything that he isn’t physically, and so he has this defense mechanism up with Garrett, even though Garrett’s not trying to intimidate. Garrett’s not trying to be mean to Janzo at all, but Janzo immediately has this ‘I-Don’t-Want-to-Be-Friends-With-You’ approach to him, which I find quite endearing,” he continued.
One of the many ways in which Janzo stands out from the rest of the characters in The Outpost is his physicality. He’s often walking around with a hunched back and his head down. Desai-Barochia says that many of Janzo’s unique quirks stem come from how he inhabits the character.
“He wasn’t written to have a hunched back, or he wasn’t written to lick everything. I don’t even intend to do it. None of that was ever intentional. It just sort of happened, I think as I started to live in the character more and more. These things just started coming up just organically,” he explained.
“If I’m thinking subconsciously, the hunch comes from him being insecure and being lonely. His little quirks, licking things, and things like that just comes from sheer exploration, and his research and how nothing seems to phase him,” he explained.
While Janzo is introduced in The Outpost universe as a master brewer, he is proving to have other skills as well. He is able to help Talon when she’s injured and uses deductive reasoning skills. In one case, Janzo was trying to figure out how a dealer for a drug called Colipsum called The Worm, was making contact with his suppliers.
“If he’s trying to figure out this bird issue, and it means he has to taste bird excrement, then so be it. I guess it doesn’t register with what he’s actually doing in social life when people are looking at him eating bird poop, but if that’s going to help him solve the case, then Scientist Janzo to the cause,” he explained.
The first season of The Outpost consists of ten episodes, but Desai-Barochia teased that Janzo’s arc is just getting started.
“Janzo is just scraping the surface,” Desai-Barochia said. “You are just getting to know him. He goes on an incredible major arc over the next five episodes. I’m quite excited for the audience to view it.”
“What’s nice is that the world, as in our Earth world, we’re all kind of watching it at around the same time. Australia is watching it at the same time as us, and then England is just a couple of episodes behind now,” he said. “It’s interesting to see how everyone is responding to the show and to Janzo.”
Outside of acting, Desai-Barochia is passionate about contemporary art. He especially loves the work of photographer, David Yarrow.
“He does a lot of work for conservation with wildlife animals. He will sell his work, and then the money that he earns then goes back into conservation for wildlife, but his pieces are brilliant,” he explained.
He also loves the work of Harland Miller known for designing giant canvas covers of Penguin books with sardonic statements about life.
“If Janzo was to make art, it would be Harland Miller,” said Desai-Barochia.
One of the things Desai-Barochia likes about art is how it can often be interpreted in many ways.
“The incredible thing about art, whether it’s acting, or paintwork, or music, is that everyone sees something different,” said Desai-Barochia. “Say we’re looking at a Harland Miller piece. Some people will just look at the text. Then the others will look at the amount of intricate detail in the paintwork.”
“Or if you’re looking at, say Janzo in The Outpost, people can see him as the best friend, some people could see him as comedy relief, but then some people see him as a real powerful asset to The Outpost in that sense that he is the closest thing [they have] to a scientist. It depends on how deep you go and at what angle you see art from, but everyone sees something different, which I love.”
You can catch Anand Desai-Barochia as Janzo on The Outpost Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.
*Featured image credit: Justin Wu
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