When shirtless photos of Rajiv Surendra, who is most remembered for being Kevin G the mathlete on Mean Girls, surfaced recently, we tracked him down and asked, “Have you gone from being a nerd to a hunk?”
Without missing a beat the actor says, “I’m still a nerd. Have you seen my calligraphy?”
Rajiv, who makes his living as an artist these days, says he hasn’t done any movies since co-starring with Lindsay Lohan in the cult classic almost 10 years ago.
But, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been working on his acting. In fact, he reveals for the first time, that he spent seven years trying to get the key role of Pi in Life of Pi.
In fact, it was a cameraman on the set of Mean Girls, who told him he should go up for the part. “When I read the book, I thought the similarities between that character and me were uncanny. The character is Tamil, my parents are Tamil. He grew up near a zoo — I grew up near a zoo,” he says.
It took seven years to make the Oscar-winning film and it passed through the hands of at least three directors (M. Night Syamalan, Alfonso Cuaron and Jean-Pierre Jeunet) before it ended up with Ang Lee.
And every step of the way, Rajiv agents put him up for the role, he even got a meeting with a casting director. The young actor was fully committed to getting what would have been the role of a a lifetime. “I went after that role,” he tells us. “I went to Indian and spent three weeks at the school where the film takes place. I learned how to swim from scratch. “
He continues, “Every year, it was put on hold, so I kept doing my research. I even met with a soldier who was adrift for 76 days to understand Pi better.”
Rajiv was devastated when he didn’t get the role, “The director wanted a real Indian boy not an actor. It had become part of me — That was very disappointing.”
Now Rajiv can laugh about the whole experience — in fact, he’s written a comedy script about it and he’s ready to get back into acting.
That’s why he agreed to shoot the shirtless pictures.
The actor recently met with the casting director for HBOs Girls, which has plenty of nudity, and he wanted to show them and anyone else that he’s capable of taking off his clothes and “You don’t know who’s going to take off their clothes and what’s underneath,” he reveals.
As an understatement, Rajiv tells us, “When I want something I go after it.”
The guy we remember as Kevin Gnapoor says he will always be that nerd — and is out to prove that nerds can be sexy too.