The filmmaker tells us about how Jayasurya became part of the one-actor film Sunny, which is set to stream on Amazon Prime Video on September 23
Director Ranjith Sankar and Jayasurya have collaborated in several critically acclaimed and commercial hits such as Njan Marykutty, Su.. Su.. Sudhi Vathmeekam and Punyalan Agarbatties. So, when the duo got together for their eight film, Sunny that is set to stream on Amazon Prime Video on September 23, most would have thought that Jayasurya was a natural choice. But Ranjith Sankar tells OTTplay otherwise.
The filmmaker took almost six months to script the movie, and while he and Jayasurya were in discussions for another film during the time, Ranjith says he never talked about Sunny to the actor.
“I met Jayan when I had finished scripting Sunny and began thinking of whom to cast. He had grown out his beard and I felt he was looking like Sunny; otherwise, he wouldn’t be the first face to come to your mind when you think of a musician. However, I didn’t tell him about the movie,” he says.
The Passenger director also explains the biggest challenge in making a movie like Sunny, which is a single-actor film, is that the entire team has to be on the same wavelength. “That’s when I realised that it would not be easy if I would be collaborating with someone I haven’t worked with before. I wanted a good actor and someone familiar with the way I operate. To make Sunny, you needed an extreme level of teamwork. If you finish your shot and then pull away, it’s not going to work; you have to be part of the discussions and that’s when I thought of Jayan,” explains Ranjith.
While Jayasurya was excited when he initially heard the idea, the director says that after the first round of discussions, around October 10, 2020, the actor expressed his doubts about the film and character. “We decided not to do it,” says the director. “I was fine with it because an actor can have a lot of apprehensions about how he can perform and pull it off. I immediately thought about the next option and approached another actor, who agreed to do it. I was about to announce it, but that’s when Jayan called me and said, ‘This character is haunting me, I have started to dream about him. So, can we discuss it again?’ I felt what he was saying was genuine. I then weighed the possibilities of both actors and went with Jayan; I also convinced the other actor.”
While the director did not reveal who the other actor was, he says by October 20, Jayasurya and he had another discussion to sort out the former’s confusions and within 15 days they began shooting. Jayasurya also pushed his other commitments to accommodate Sunny.
In an earlier interview with OTTplay, Jayasurya talked about working in Sunny. “I am probably the only person in the world to have acted alone in his 100th film. That’s a huge blessing,” he said. “If we had done it as just a gimmick, the movie wouldn’t have had a soul. But when all of us collectively wished to come up with something different, it also motivated us to take up that challenge. Though we are making the film, we are also those who are watching it. So, we wanted to ensure that it doesn’t bore the audience and it progressed at an engaging pace. The movie has all of those elements.”