NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 10: Avan Jogia attends the "Shaft" premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on June 10, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images
Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

INTERVIEW: Avan Jogi, potential breakout star of ‘Zombieland: Double Tap,’ in Atlanta October 2 to sign his book ‘Mixed Feelings’

Originally posted Wednesday, October 2, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Avan Jogia, an actor starring in the upcoming “Zombieland: Double Tap” and author of a new book “Mixed Feelings,” will be at Posman Books at Ponce City Market Wednesday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. (Tickets still available here.)

He plays a major role in the horror comedy sequel as the hippie pacifist boyfriend of Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) who knows his way around marijuana. Little Rock’s de factor father figure Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), as shown in the trailer, is not pleased. "I have nothing against hippies," Tallahassee says in the trailer. "I just want to beat the s*** out of them."

The film was shot in metro Atlanta, just like the original “Zombieland” in 2008. 

“I love hanging out with comedians,” said Jogia in an interview this week. “I love making fun movies like this, mucking about. You’re trying to one up yourself and each other, push each other to be funnier. It’s a competitive comedy thing.”

And since modern culture stopped in 2009 in the original movie, he said he had to figure out what a hippie type was like in that era. “It’s sort of hippie-ness outdated,” Jogia said. “I get to play songs in the movie - a lot of them. But there’s no Internet so I’m stealing songs. I’m this great writer of my time.” And while he normally wears long hair, during the shoot he didn’t so he had to wear a wig. 

His book “Mixed Feelings” is poetry inspired by his own experience as someone who is mixed race, with Indian and Caucasian blood as well as some crowd-sourced stories from his mixed-race social media fans. He touches upon race, identify, religion, family and culture. 

He said poetry was the best medium for him given how intimate the subject matter is. “Poetry is such an easy access to your direct feelings,” he said. 

At the same time, given social media and “fake news,” “it’s scary how cheap words have become. It’s nice to watch somebody put words together in a way that is romantic to listen to” via poetry. 

And the book title “Mixed Feelings” summarizes his actual feelings about who he is. “I’m a radical defender of nuance,” in an age where so many people live in black or white, he said. 

More broadly, he believes that “the basis of culture is shared experience. Every mixed person regardless of their respective lineage or racial background has the same issues.” He hopes the book sheds light on that commonality. 

He said as a mixed person, people have no idea what his racial identity is. “I was like this big question mark,” he said. “People would come up to me and speak their language, be it Farsi or Spanish or Italian or Arabic or Hindi. People don’t know. And sometimes it’s based on context. In Los Angeles where there are a lot of Hispanic people, white people think I’m Hispanic. When I’m in a place with more Indians, it’s Indian.”

As an actor over the years, he has often had trouble in auditions, especially when casting directors are seeking particular types. But fortunately, there are plenty of color-blind roles that he can excel in. “Zombieland: Double Tap,” for instance, simply wanted him to exude a hippy vibe, regardless of his race. 

BOOK SIGNING

Avan Jogia

6-8 p.m., Wednesday, October 2, 2019

$20, includes a copy of the book

Posman Books at Ponce City Market

675 Ponce De Leon Avenue NE C-197

Atlanta

Buy tickets here

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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