Swayam Bhatia discusses playing Sophie Roy on HBO’s hit series Succession, as well as the upcoming Disney+ The Mighty Ducks revival, titled Game Changers.
Welcome, and thank you for taking the time to do this.
Swayam Bhatia (SB): Thank you.
For people wanting to pursue a career in acting, how would you describe the experience?
SB: Everybody has a unique experience. Acting to me is like walking into the world of make-believe that we as actors create and present in art form to an audience. It’s the potential to inspire and/or entertain our peers for generations to come.
When you are first cast as a new character, what steps do you take to get into their shoes?
SB: The first thing I usually do is read the script and learn about the creative team associated with the project. Often, when I understand the creative team, I begin to find clues about how to develop my character’s choices. No role is too big or small. It’s an opportunity to create, and in this industry, there is no telling where or who the work will connect with.
In your career thus far, you’ve worked on shows such as Master of None, Succession and the upcoming Mighty Ducks reboot (Game Changers). What have you learned from your experiences on these sets?
SB: All these projects have been a learning experience and each of these three roles came to me gradually. The first was a chance to star in Master of None, which was the first time I appeared in major Hollywood TV series. I got to play the wild and fun daughter of Aziz Ansari. I was only 7 at the time, so I pretty much only remember being told to make a mess or disobey all parental rules for each of the scenes. It took a few takes for me to believe making a mess with ketchup was part of my job.
It’s safe to say, I learned it’s important to take direction well. When I was asked to be a part of Succession, I felt more prepared to tackle the role. I was 9 and had learned a lot more about the industry. In Season 1, I was part of the entire pilot filming and got to observe my co-stars. After filming a few more episodes and now being on season 3, I formed my first long-term relationships with directors and actors, all of whom I look up to. I’ve since learned the importance of balancing school, my after-school dance and music training while being a working child artist.
Booking a series regular role has been a career highlight. I went through many test rounds and audition for The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers. As the name says, it has been a game changer for me. I learned more about pre-production and post production. I love being part of the promotional and marketing campaign. Working with directors and discussing my ideas was something all new to me. It’s a full circle of how each department from hair, makeup, wardrobe, directors, etc. all have a vital part along with the actors to bring a story to life.
In particular, Succession has become an acclaimed, award-winning series. How is being a member of the onscreen Roy family?
SB: I have been on this show since I was 9 and I have filmed scenes on a private jet, a helicopter set to a green screen, a castle in England and an amusement park. It doesn’t get any better. Wait until you see the shoes I get to wear in Season 3…
Having been in the first episode of Succession, how does watching the show’s success feel?
SB: It’s still so hard to believe I am part of the Roy Family and the TV daughter of an Emmy Winning Dad. I always knew I was fortunate to have had an opportunity to grow with this cast. It is such a cool feeling when I hear other adult actors say how much they love the show. I was over the top screaming when Succession was awarded several Emmy Awards. It was during these moments I realized how epic it felt to be a part of the Roy family.
Emmy winner Jeremy Strong plays your onscreen Succession father and Olivier, Golden Globe and Emmy winning Brian Cox plays your grandfather. For you, is there much, if any pressure working with such high calibre actors?
SB: I think it was far less pressure because I was only 9 when I filmed the pilot, and I didn’t fully comprehend how successful the actors were, as well as masters of their work. Fast forward to today when I have a much greater understanding of my career and their careers, yet don’t feel any different. They are so kind and welcoming I will never forget the first day I went on set. Jeremy Strong was the first person to greet me and personally gave me a little tour of the set.
How familiar were you with The Mighty Ducks before joining the reboot, Game Changers?
SB: I had heard of the Mighty Ducks movies, but had not seen them. I watched the original movie prior to going into my first audition. I’ve since read more about Mr. Emilio Estevez’s career and his role in the film franchise. Since I used to be a figure skater, I felt an instant connection.
I play the character Sofi Hanson-Bhatt., a really strong hockey player on the Mighty Ducks team.
What memories or moments do you remember from shooting The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers?
SB: I’ve made so many memories, mainly because I got the opportunity to work with many different directors, including a woman Melissa Kosar. My favorite memory was having my first set birthday, which happened to be the day I became a teenager. The cast surprised me by decorating my trailer, and the entire crew sang happy birthday to me before we wrapped on the ice rink that day.
Other than acting or performing, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
SB: I love drumming, cooking, traveling, and most of all making people laugh.
If anyone reading this interview wanted to find out more about your work/you personally, where could they look?
SB: My website is under Sway Bhatia, my Instagram is @sway_bhatia and my TikTok is @sway_bhatia1.
Looking ahead, what do you hope to accomplish with the rest of 2021?
SB: I hope the original Mighty Ducks fans relate to our show and that we capture new fans with our present-day version that has such an important message beyond sports. In addition, I am looking forward to becoming a freshman in High School. I would love to spend more time on coding classes during the summer and writing more music. I miss live performances, so hopefully, when the pandemic is under control I can resume live dance and singing performances. I also hope to use my platform to help our world’s community.
Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us. Take care and stay safe!
SB: Thank you.