NBC is bringing more song and dance to the network in January. “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” which stars Indian American actor Kapil Talwalkar, is returning to NBC for its second season Jan. 5.
Jane Levy stars in this drama as Zoey Clarke, a whip-smart computer coder forging her way in San Francisco. After an unusual event, Zoey, who always preferred podcasts over pop songs, suddenly starts to hear the innermost wants, thoughts and desires of the people around her – her family, co-workers and complete strangers – through popular songs. At first, she questions her own sanity, but after getting some guidance from her musically adept neighbor, Mo, and making a breakthrough with her ailing father, Zoey soon realizes this unwanted curse may just be an incredibly wonderful gift as she connects with the world like never before.
Talwalkar stars in a series regular role of Tobin Batra, a coder and Zoey Clarke’s co-worker.
In an interview with The Series Regulars, Talwalkar recalled how he landed the role.
“In January 2019, I get a phone call at like 5:30-6:00 p.m. about a role that was being cast very quickly. They needed me to come in that evening and asked me to rap the Ludacris verse of ‘All I Do Is Win,’ sing a pop song that’s upbeat and tenor, and read a bunch of jokes that the character says. I didn’t want to pass on the opportunity so I had my friend drive me all the way to North Hollywood, I was in Santa Monica, and I finally get there and it was like 8 p.m. and I couldn’t find the building. I finally got in and was just super nervous because there was so much material so I was doing jumping jacks before going in and getting hyped. In the middle of this, the casting director walks in and I was like trying to play it off cool, ‘I’ll see you in a second.’ I went in and did it and I knew I did a good job because he was giving me a lot of redirects in the room,” Talwalkar was quoted as saying. “The next day I got a phone call from my manager saying I needed to get on a plane in three hours and that they wanted me for the part. I flew to Vancouver and did a table read for NBC that very day. It all went well, we filmed the pilot, and we got picked up!”
Talwalkar also told the publication that even though he plays piano and guitar, singing was never his first love.
“My strength has always been scripted comedy, so I never imagined my first major TV gig would be a singing and dancing show. But it’s weird because if you focus on one thing and build on it and then you have these other skills, it puts you in a niche because you have the funny guy who can also do this which marketed my position a little bit better,” he told The Series Regulars, adding that he would love for his character to sing a punk song like “Green Day,” or even Elvis or Frank Sinatra songs.
“I have a natural baritone voice so I would prefer to sing a slower love ballad,” he said.
In its second season, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” continues to explore the feelings people keep buried on the inside, the human impulse for connection and the undeniable healing power of music and dance, said NBC. Following a tragedy, Zoey and the Clarke family begin to recalibrate and navigate their new normal.
In the second season, viewers will really get to know Tobin as a human being, Talwalkar told FanSided.
“What is this guy’s purpose? What is lurking underneath the jokey facade, or even if it’s not a facade—even if it’s a part of who he is—why is he like that?” he told the publication. “That has been super fun to explore because it has been incredibly collaborative and awesome in terms of getting my personal perspective on Tobin’s journey and where that comes from in terms of background. I felt very included in that conversation, and I’m very, very grateful that Tobin has received the care and attention that he has in Season 2.”
The series also stars Skylar Astin, Alex Newell, John Clarence Stewart, Andrew Leeds, Alice Lee, Michael Thomas Grant and Mary Steenburgen.
Featuring inventive musical performances set to hit records from a variety of genres and time periods, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography for Scripted Programming in its freshman season.
Talwalkar, grandson of noted Marathi actor Sharad Talwalkar, studied acting at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
His professional stage debut, according to IMDb, came during school when he was cast in a leading role alongside C.S. Lee of “Dexter” fame in East West Players’ critically acclaimed production of “Animals Out of Paper.” He also starred as Shahid in “My Cousin Sister’s Wedding” with George Wendt, Lillete Dubey, and David Rasche.
His other credits include the film, “False Profits” and the TV series, “American Princess.”
His upcoming projects include the TV film, “Operation Othello” and the series, “The Loud House.”