There are so many fun things to learn about Waris Ahluwalia — the generally darling jewelry designer/actor/teetotal scenester/all-around chic Sikh whom you recognize from all those Wes Anderson movies — in this new Q&A! Ahluwalia says Cate Blanchett or his I Am Love co-star Tilda Swinton would be his top choices to play him in a biopic, becaues "They're both fantastic and have played men in various roles." He says he got into doing what he does by founding and editing a music magazine called Oscillate. "But I didn't like chasing people down for ad dollars every month. I only knew that after I tried it though." And his dream role? To play a zombie in a Rob Zombie movie.
Ahluwalia has a defiantly un-studied approach to acting:
Why haven't you taken any acting classes?
When I signed on for The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Wes never asked me if I could act. He asked me if I would come to Italy and be in his movie. The universe speaks to you, and you have to be able to really listen. If he had faith in me, then I have no place doubting his abilities. Fear has no place in what I do from day to day. He asked, ‘Will you?' and I said, ‘Yes, I will.' On the first day, we were doing the screen test and Bob Yeoman came up to me and told me I looked like a Caravaggio painting. I didn't want to change anything.
What's one of your favorite Life Aquatic memories?
I remember arriving in Italy. The first day there was a message waiting for me at my hotel from Wes, asking me to come to dinner. Wes and Bill Murray are sitting at the table. That was the first time I met Bill. This was not just a movie star. I didn't care about that. This was a craftsman who has crafted stories that hold the test of time. That was a big moment. Cut to the next weekend, and we're dancing under the Roman stars with Anjelica [Huston] in between ancient ruins. I just laughed and thought, ‘How did this even happen?' I take the work very seriously, but I don't necessarily take myself seriously. I'm just so giddy that I'm getting away with it all.
You know, I actually do believe the universe speaks to Waris. I believe the universe says, "Yes."
Ladies, he's single. "We can put that out there," he says, "that I'm looking for my ideal movie date." Must love: '40s screwball comedies, the Ziegfeld theater, watching movies in Battery Park City "because it's always empty," popcorn with butter, and humble storytellers from the foothills of the Himalayas. "Oh, I'm not that demanding," says Ahluwalia. "She just needs to be smart, beautiful, witty, charming, mannered, crazy, adventurous, and not able to be pinned down." Ability to not be dumbstruck in the presence of close friend Tilda required.