Actor Theo Iyer. Photo Courtesy of Theo Iyer.
Actor Theo Iyer chatted about being a part of “The Morning Show” on Apple TV+.
For his acting performance in this series, he earned a 2024 SAG (Screen Actors Guild) nomination.
‘The Morning Show’
“My experience on The Morning Show has been wonderful,” he said. “It has been an impactful opportunity to learn from great artists.”
“It has given me the opportunity to work closely with Billy Crudup, who in my opinion, is truly a master of the craft. I left our set filled with inspiration every day, getting to observe and study his worth ethic and commitment to his acting process and technique,” he elaborated.
“It has also my first experience working on a TV show for multiple seasons,” he said. “I joined the cast for Season 2 and we shot that season through the midst of the pandemic and it gave me the opportunity to be a working actor during a very challenging time for artists.”
“The show has also given me an opportunity to play a part in telling a story that reflects timely social and cultural challenges that we all currently face in our modern society,” he added.
Playing Kyle in ‘The Morning Show’
He opened up about playing Kyle in “The Morning Show.” “My character, Kyle, is the executive assistant to Billy Crudup’s character, Cory Ellison, who is the CEO of the broadcast network, UBA,” he said.
Iyer continued, “I think that the circumstances Cory and the other characters are dealing with, centers around some really serious stakes in the world of UBA.”
“Kyle has an empathetic awareness of what the stakes are in this world and of the independent characters, but he also often has to deliver disappointing or unfavorable news to Cory,” he explained.
“I love the complexity of Kyle having to deal with the challenge of wanting to help Cory do his job as a CEO but also being the bearer of bad news,” he said.
Iyer also loves that his character represents a marginalized community of people who often don’t get to be reflected in this type of a world.
“I think that Kyle has big dreams and goals,” he said. “For example, in Season 3, we see Kyle writing a screenplay on his computer, alluding to his interest to be more than an executive assistant to a CEO.”
“As an immigrant myself, I can relate to Kyle’s journey of having to climb the proverbial ‘ladder’ in order to achieve your aspirations,” he added.
The digital age
On being an actor in the digital age, he said, “The digital age has left its mark on all aspects of being an actor in 2024. From auditions, to the technology that is available to create with, actors have to constantly adapt. Sometimes with visual effects, motion capture, and green screens.”
“We are doing our art in really challenging and non-conventional mediums. For example, there could be jobs where you’re acting with a tennis ball, which will later be edited with visual effects to transform into a character in the show or film,” he said.
Iyer continued, “Conversely, I think there has never been a more opportunistic time to be an actor- especially with the many streaming services. There are more opportunities for artists from marginalized, diverse backgrounds like myself, to do their work.”
“There is definitely still progress to be made in terms of equal representation for diverse artists, but I think we are headed in the right direction,” he admitted.
“With social media, my view is ‘to each, their own.’ Some actors feel that it is a tool for publicity or getting their work seen, which is great. Other actors feel like it’s more of a personal thing and rather not share their lives on social platforms,” he elaborated.
“For me, I don’t take my social media presence too seriously… I just care about my work and getting better as an artist,” he added.
2024 SAG nomination
Iyer spoke about his 2024 SAG nomination, which is a part of the “Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series” category.
He shares this SAG nod with his co-stars Reese Witherspoon, Billy Crudup, Tig Notaro, Jennifer Aniston, Jon Hann, Greta Lee, Juliana Marguiles, among others.
“Honestly, it was completely unexpected — from both the perspective as an artist and also my cultural background. I was born in Durban, South Africa, towards the end of the apartheid era,” he expressed.
“There are five generations of my family there, who were originally taken from India as slaves. My parents and I immigrated to Orange County, California when I was four and I grew up in Irvine but always considered myself incredibly fortunate to have a life filled with freedom and opportunities,” he said.
He continued, “Knowing what my family and the people who came before me had to endure and their challenges they had to face – to be nominated for an award, as an actor in ‘Hollywood,’ feels nothing short of miraculous.”
“My core intention as an artist has never been tied to receiving recognition or accolades for my work, but I do have a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity to be seen and included and recognized through my art,” he said.
“It is an honor to be included in this cast of stellar artists and actors and I know this moment reflects the 10-plus years of sacrifices I’ve made and dedication to my art,” he added.
Regarding his future plans, he shared, “Well, in terms of ‘The Morning Show,’ I’m not sure what is going to happen with Kyle in Season 4, but hopefully his journey continues.”
“Otherwise, my future includes the same day-to-day life of an actor! Working on my craft, auditioning, and staying inspired as an artist as I await the next gig. I also just got engaged so my fiancée and I are currently planning our wedding which will be next year in Cape Town,” he said.
Advice for young and aspiring actors
For young and aspiring actors, he said, “My advice for young and aspiring actors is to first establish your intention behind embarking on your life as an artist.”
“Attempt to answer the question of: what is your ‘why’ or your purpose as an artist? Your purpose is what will carry you through the tumultuous times and give you a sense of equanimity- helping you keep your peace, inspiration, and perseverance intact,” he said.
“It’s important to recognize that as artists what we do is an act of service,” he said. “So when you treat your art as an opportunity to serve others, your relationship to it comes from a place of giving rather than receiving.”
“In addition, it’s easy to compartmentalize your life and separate life and art. But, I’ve come to realize that life and art is one, holistic, creative experience. Our life serves our art and our art serves our life,” he said.
On his definition of the word success, For a major part of my life, I thought success was an end-goal or final destination. I was striving to reach a certain benchmark that I had created and defined for myself.”
“What I lost sight of, was the present moment,” he said. “As I have traveled the journey as an artist, experiencing fulfillment and contentment in the present moment is where I have felt the most ‘successful’.”
“On a moment-to-moment, day-to-day basis, I have access to ‘success’ when I’m living my life with truth, authenticity, and doing the work that feeds my soul. Success to me is being able to do what I love and feel truly grateful and present in the work itself,” he said.
Closing thoughts on ‘The Morning Show’
For viewers, he remarked, “‘The Morning Show’ does a great job at accurately highlighting what we all grapple with in terms of the question, ‘how far will we go to attain our desires, to get what we want out of life?’ — whether it is professionally or personally.”
“I think that as an audience member watching the show, if you view it through that lens, what you’re watching are characters who are essentially ‘successful’ — but it’s never enough. That causes us to reflect within our own lives, and I think that is the purpose of art,” he said.
Iyer said, “I can honestly say that working on ‘The Morning Show’ has been a truly singular experience in comparison to other projects I have worked on, which I attribute to the leaders of the show- our producers, writers, and directors who happen to be incredibly talented women.”
“The experience on set with women at the forefront is visceral. And the show really explores the real life challenges that women face, mirroring the reality of workplaces that are run by men,” he concluded.