Interview with Tarun Keram of “The Stand” on CBS All Access by Suzanne 2/25/21
This was a delightful interview. He’s a very talented young actor, and I think we will see a lot more of him. I was excited to learn that he’s been in some of my favorite shows. I’m looking forward to seeing his “Debris” episode coming up.
Here is the audio version of it.
Suzanne: So, tell us about your character in The Stand, which, I think, just finished up last week.
Tarun: Yeah, it just finished. So, I play Steve, the orderly. He used to be a vet technician, and the apocalypse hit. Everyone’s dead, so there’re no doctors around. So, I have to step up and become a doctor and assist in labors.
Great. And I heard you did a little research about being a vet technician.
Tarun: Yeah, I’ve done a little. I have a dog. So, I’d ask the vet some questions and all that, because there wasn’t – my character doesn’t exist in the book. So, the only information I had was the vet technician part and what it would be like to transition into being a doctor.
Suzanne: Great. What kind of dog do you have?
Tarun: I have a husky.
Suzanne: Oh, I love huskies.
Tarun: So great. So much hair, though.
Suzanne: They’re so pretty though. We almost got one.
Tarun: So pretty. Then, he’s got two different colored eyes.
Suzanne: Oh, that’s great. We when we had our first dog, we went to the shelter, and we wanted this husky there that was so pretty, but it had kennel cough, so we couldn’t get it.
Suzanne: I know.
Tarun: That’s too bad. Poor dog.
Suzanne: I hope it ended up okay.
Suzanne: Do you have Instagram? Do you have pictures of your dog on there we can see?
Tarun: Yeah, absolutely. It’s just my first name last name, and you can check out my myself and my dog on Instagram.
Suzanne: Oh, cool. I’ll have to check that out. I’ll definitely do that. I follow a lot of dog and cat and other pet things on Instagram.
Tarun: Oh, really?
Tarun: I do too. Do you follow Loki, the wolf dog?
Suzanne: I don’t know. There’s so many that I follow. I don’t remember. I’ll look for him though.
Tarun: He didn’t do it, like the celebrity of dogs.
Suzanne: Oh, okay, cool. So anyway, you finished The Stand right before the pandemic, correct?
Tarun: Yeah, that’s right. I think it the first week of March was my final day, and I think everything shut down the week after or the week after that, but we just made it, and we didn’t have a wrap party.
Suzanne: Aww. Well, I know it’s a mini series, but is there any talk of a sequel that you’ve heard?
Tarun: Not that I’ve heard of yet. But the ending, if you’ve seen it, has changed from the book. So it’s sort of open ended.
Suzanne: No, I haven’t seen it, but I heard that it was left that way. So, that’s why I was wondering if maybe [it would].
Tarun: Yeah, I mean, I hope it does, but I haven’t I haven’t heard anything quite yet.
Suzanne: You’re also going to be an episode of the new NBC series, Debris?
Suzanne: What role are you playing there?
Tarun: I play a secret agent that’s a tech head. So, I deal with computers and spyware, figuring out where people go, that sort of thing. That’s pretty much all I can really say about it.
Suzanne: Are you in just one episode or multiple episodes?
Tarun: So far, just one.
Suzanne: I saw the first episode, and I interviewed two of the guys from there the other day. It looks like a good show.
Tarun: Yeah, looks like NBC is really pushing the sci-fi now for – What is it? They have a new streaming platform, right?
Suzanne: Do you mean besides Peacock?
Tarun: Oh, yeah, that’s the one, I guess. I don’t know if it’s out already.
Suzanne: Yeah. It’s hard to keep track. There’re so many.
Tarun: There’re so many now, yeah.
Suzanne: Do you have anything else coming out that you tell us about?
Tarun: Yeah. So, I’m in an episode of Nancy Drew that’s coming out. I just shot that. I just shot that one [recently]. It’s been super busy. Then, I’m working on Legends of Tomorrow, I think, next week.
Suzanne: Cool. Is that one episode or do you have a recurring role?
Tarun: It’s like a pseudo guest star for Legends.
Suzanne: Okay, cool.
Tarun: I don’t want to think too much, because there’s a lot of moving parts of that show.
Suzanne: Sure. I love that show. I watch all the CW superhero shows.
Suzanne: I’ll watch for you on there.
Tarun: Yeah, please do. I actually quite like them. The last one I saw was Flash, but I haven’t seen any other ones since then.
Suzanne: Yeah, I think Flash is coming back soon.
Tarun: Yeah, that’s right. I have been auditioning…for for some roles. I’ve been in Supergirl already, so now I’m in Legends, and I was in Arrow before, so I’m trying to try to make the rounds here.
Suzanne: Yeah, I saw that you were in there. Those are all my favorite shows. It’s great.
Tarun: That’s awesome.
Suzanne: Well, there’re so many TV shows of all different sorts, and there’s a lot of good ones out there. So, you have to sort of like, figure out and prioritize which ones [to watch].
Tarun: Yeah, you’re going to have to get all the streaming services.
Suzanne: Right. Well, I pretty much do have almost all of them, but I try to watch them all, at least one episode for reviewing, for my site. But, I mean, for my personal viewing, I try to prioritize superhero shows and some sci-fi and other things.
Tarun: …Yeah, that’s right; you have to.
Yeah, because, otherwise, you’re always behind, and you’re always stressed out and like, “Oh, I can’t watch it all. It’s too much.”
Tarun: Yeah, I feel that.
Suzanne: Did you grow up reading comics?
Tarun: I did not. I did not read any comics. I mostly read – I wasn’t a big reader, to be honest. The last book I read was Eragon, all the way through, but then I picked up a Vertigo graphic novel. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it. It’s called Fables.
Suzanne: No, but that’s okay.
Tarun: It’s all about fairy tales, but they all live in New York and have to deal with a bunch of problems. Beauty and the Beast is in it, Cinderella. It’s pretty cool.
Suzanne: Oh, it sounds a little bit like – there was a show like that on NBC awhile back…Grimm.
Tarun: Oh, I didn’t watch that one.
Suzanne: Yeah, that was a good show. Anyway, it’s similar to that with fairy tale characters in modern day society type of thing.
Tarun: Same idea. I guess [its], like Once Upon a Time; it’s kind of like that.
Suzanne: Yeah, it’s similar to that, but I think it was more of a gritty show than Once Upon a Time. So, are you back to auditioning now for other stuff, then?
Tarun: Absolutely. I don’t think that’s ever going to end. It’s changed a little bit now though, where I’m on set, and I have a call from my agent saying, “Send in a tape for before tomorrow morning.” So, it’s a little bit different than before where I’m sort of waiting around.
Suzanne: Well, I guess if you get big enough, at some point, you won’t have to audition.
Tarun: I hope so. I mean, I kind of like auditioning, but I remember Odessa Young from The Stand. One of the days we were there, she had an audition for the next day, and it was like twelve pages long or something, but she was on set shooting sixteen hours. So, I’m not sure. I’m not sure when when that would end, if the leads are doing it on The Stand.
Suzanne: But you actually like auditioning?
Tarun: I do. I do. The game’s sort of changed a little bit where there’s not many callbacks around for TV and film. So, when I showed up to set for Debris, I hadn’t met anyone, and I didn’t really know what their vision was for this character. So, I would do something one way, and then they would go a complete 180 on me. That sort of would have been figured out at the audition, or the callback, I would say, but it’s just adjusting.
Suzanne: Is that because of the pandemic and having to do everything remotely?
Tarun: Yeah, absolutely. You can’t really go in the room anymore.
Suzanne: So, they basically audition you on tape, and then they hire you, and then you sort of figure out the character together. Is that what you’re saying?
Tarun: Yeah, yeah, pretty much. You can give them your take, and you can show up to set with how you presented the character, but you’ve just got to be ready for some changes, as always.
Suzanne: To your knowledge, have they ever hired someone, and then when they get there, they find they just really can’t get this person to act the way they want to, and then they say, “Nevermind,” and they get somebody else?
Tarun: Oh, I don’t know. I feel like that might be a little costly. Yeah, you just kind of have to roll with the punches and work with what you’ve got.
Suzanne: Well, it’s good that they streamlined it, especially nowadays. Everything moves so fast anyway with the filming.
Tarun: Yeah, exactly.
Suzanne: …So, what have you been doing this past year to keep busy during the pandemic?
Tarun: Oh, I started a garden in my backyard. I built a fence, and I just relaxed. It’s a huge change of pace from auditioning all the time.
Suzanne: I’ll bet. Was this in Vancouver or somewhere else?
Tarun: Yeah, I live in Surrey, which is about an hour from Vancouver. It’s kind of like the [unintelligible].
Suzanne: That’s cool. So, did you know anything about gardening before, or did you have to learn everything?
Tarun: Absolutely not. I knew nothing. I just thought everything took the same amount of water; that’s not true. I ended up picking peppers and a bunch of other plants, and obviously, the peppers don’t need as much water, but I’d still water them the same amount. But after a week, I figured it out pretty quick[ly], because they did not look good.
Suzanne: I think that was very smart of you. Most people it takes awhile, or they just give up.
Tarun: Yeah, no, I didn’t. I actually enjoy cooking now. So, it’s nice having fresh thyme and fresh rosemary on hand. It’s so nice.
Suzanne: Great. And I see you’ve been a both a producer and a director. What do you like best actor, producer, or director if you had to choose?
Tarun: I feel like it depends on what kind of mood I’m in, because sometimes I just want to create my own project, and in that case, I love being the producer. Sometimes I just want to act. I don’t know. I don’t know. I would say that I like producing and acting more than directing, but I also like writing more than I like producing and directing, if that makes sense.
Suzanne: Sure. Well, I guess it’s a good thing you don’t have to choose, then.
Tarun: Yeah, exactly.
Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com
Tarun Keram’s stirring and rooted performances have the industry taking notice. He was born and raised in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada where he grew up spending his days playing sports with friends after school. In grade eleven Tarun began playing Ultimate Frisbee where he won multiple MVP medals. He came to the craft in his last semester of high school when he enrolled in a theatre class and uncovered his joy for acting. It took him a few more years to acknowledge his passion and talent for it but soon after he began landing coveted roles in TV and film. After high school, he dedicated himself to acting through the Vancouver Film School and an agent and roles soon followed.
Tarun has worked on numerous TV shows including The CW’s “Arrow”, “Supergirl”, “iZombie” and “Supernatural”, Amazon’s “Upload”, Netflix’s “Travelers”, Lifetime’s “UnREAL”, NBC’s “The Arrangement”, FOX’s “Prison Break” and ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”. He also had prominent roles on CBS’s “Twilight Zone”, The CW’s “Charmed”, Hulu’s “Marvel’s Helstrom” and SYFY’s “The Magicians”.
Most recently Tarun landed the coveted role of Steve on CBS All Access’ anticipated limited series “The Stand”, an adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel. The series premieres December 17th.
LIMITED SERIES: The Stand
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Stand is Stephen King’s apocalyptic vision of a world decimated by plague and embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil. The fate of mankind rests on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail (Whoopi Goldberg) and a handful of survivors. Their worst nightmares are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg (Alexander Skarsgård), the Dark Man. THE STAND will close with a new coda written by the famed author himself.
PREMIERE DATE: December 17th on CBS All Access
Get to Know Tarun
I did a DNA test and I’ve got Welsh and Japanese ancestry.
I was the Captain of my Ultimate Frisbee team in high school and won an MVP medal.
I’m very superstitious.
When I auditioned for Star Trek it was in a warehouse full of people who were auditioning for the Bridge Crew members.
I’m still in close contact with my Bridge Crew members to this day.
I grow my own ghost peppers to spice up my mom’s curry recipe.
I’m the owner of a print shop.
It takes me an hour to get to my auditions on a good day. I commuted an hour and a half every morning and evening .
When I was going to film school, I once thought I met Idris Elba , but it was actually his stunt double in an alien costume.
Proofread and Edited by Brenda