Physicality. That can mean many things when it comes to acting and it can be quite hard to define. We might think of it as hand to hand combat or an affect that contorts the body but it’s nearly impossible to separate a great actor from their physical approach to a role. Award-Winning Actor Ary Satish is someone who has an extraordinary ability to adapt himself to the characters he portrays, from manic moments to those of sweet tenderness.It’s not surprising that his early inclinations towards sports led to this present day mastery as Ary recalls, “What’s interesting is that before any performance entered my life, I was only an athlete. I enjoyed sports to the fullest and would play everything I possibly could. It was only when I began realizing that I loved ‘playing for the crowd’ when competing, that I figured there was a performative spark there.” In this context, it becomes obvious that acting is a pursuit which melds the body, spirit, and mind for this actor.
Most of us would not find a natural association between acting of all varieties and athletics but it’s an easy leap for Satish who explains, “An actor’s instrument is their body. I found that having played a number of sports in my youth gave me the strength and stamina to handle the variety of roles that I’ve taken on.” That can range from Horror (Ary appeared in the 2022 Horror film Arcane Headshots) to Crime Drama (Satish played an illegal arms dealer in John Lives in the Desert) to Romance (Ary took the Best Actor award for Take Care at 2022’s New York Film Awards, the film also took the Best Drama Award). The intersect of athletics for such a diverse set of storytelling categories seems unintuitive to those who are not involved in the film industry. Ary informs, “Beyond the physical stamina required for a role, athletics gives one a healthy sense of competition which pushes you to become the best actor you can be. Sport teaches you how to be a good team member, an entirely transferable skill for being part of an ensemble or crew member. You work with a group of likeminded people who share the same goal and you do what it takes to get it done. Among the most valuable skills learned in sports is the idea of preparation and mental toughness which enables you to deal with the stressful situations which are certain to arrive throughout one’s career. It’s actually a closer parallel than one might imagine. Rehearsals are practices. Directors are captains. Shows are game days. Teammates are scene partners. Sports and performance have so much more in common than people realize.”
Proving that he embraces the deep intersect of acting and physicality, Ary Satish was recognized with the certification of Unarmed Stage Combat Award from the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD) in New York City. Ary trained under award-winning stage and screen fight choreographer David Brimmer who has also trained Michael Shannon (Shape of Water, Bullet Train, Man of Steel), Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom, Dumb & Dumber, Steve Jobs), Paul Rudd (Avengers, Ant Man, This Is 40), Sir Patrick Stewart (X-Men, Star Trek, Macbeth), Jesse Eisenberg. (The Social Network, Batman vs Superman, Now You See Me) and many more. The actor notes that this type of training is something he has utilized in such disparate productions as John Lives in the Desert and the official music video for Sean Leach’s “OutWithOut (feat. Daleela).” Ary imparts, “Stage Combat in a lot of ways is like dance itself. There are steps and beats, there is a rhythm to staging a fight and you also have a dance partner when doing it. There is a beginning, middle and end and likely tells a story within the fight itself, so it’s as much a moment of true acting as anything else in film or the stage.”
Rebuking definition or type casting is a goal that Ary Satish actively seeks. Originally hailing from India, he’s aware that the choices he makes are likely to be a part of shaping American ideas. He mentions the range and choices of actors like Dev Patel and Oscaar Isaac whose diverse roles shirk off any labeling that audiences might have concerning action roles and more tender ones. Ary professes, “It’s the variety that I chase; a diversity of experiences I can go on as an actor. It’s also a great way to not become pigeonholed in this industry, by playing the same type of roles every time. Plus, a part of being an actor is becoming people other than yourself. So, if that is your job, why stick to one type of person? Why not explore and be every type of person you can be? In fact, once a project is over, I actively look for my next project to be as different genre-wise or stylistically as possible in order to keep things interesting.”
Writer: Calvin Hooney