Ben Gross, Jaren Lewison's character in Never Have I Ever, meets Andy Samberg at a Jamba Juice. It was pretty representative of how I'd be in real life, Lewison says of StyleCaster. I'm not sure if I'd have to act much because I'd have been so excited and delighted that I'd have acted the same way.
While the scene that Lewison chose for his audition for Ben was cut from the final script, Samberg did go on to narrate Ben's thoughts in the episode in the same way tennis player John McEnroe narrates Ben's nemesis-turned-love-interest, Devi Vishwakumar? That was when Lewison was like, Hes going to be the voice in my head? Hes going to narrate Ben's thoughts, according to Lewison.
Lewison, who hasnt encountered Samberg, cant imagine anyone else serving as Bens internal monologue. I want to meet him in real life. I'd fly to wherever he is in the world if he wanted to collaborate.
Never Have I Never, Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher's coming-of-age story about an Indian-American teenager who is navigating the transition to adulthood after the sudden death of her father was fun. He remembers when he wrote his self-tape into the audition process and was like, Alright! What would happen if I got it?
Lewison said he was one of the last four or five actors to stand up for Ben. Both of us thought the other one was up for the other person's role. He's not getting it! Darren [Barnett] is a comedian who plays Paxton, according to Lewison.
When Lewison was asked to join a last-minute meeting as an acting coach and play Shakespeare in Love at the International Thespians Festival, he said, "Oh my gosh. What's wrong?" And I was like, Hello? My manager comes on the phone and says, Hey, buddy. Were you so proud of you. I was like, Get the fuck out of here! Two weeks later, I moved out.
Lewison has played Ben for three seasons on Never Have I Ever, which just finished its fourth and final season, scheduled to premiere in 2023, and what fans can expect from the final season.
Mindy Kaling was his first encounter with him.
I was a little shocked. I would prefer to pretend to be a fool. I went in [to the audition] and was a bit nervous, so I made an inappropriate joke about horses because Im from Texas. Maybe they asked if my mom was with me or something, and I was like, No, I rode my horse all the way from Texas. It was the funnyst joke, and they laughed even though I wasn't funny.. It made me feel much more at ease.
Maitreyi [Ramakrishnan] and I had an awkward conversation about the film. We didn't know Mindy very well yet. We're all going to eat here because I don't want to interrupt what they're doing. She's a mother, so you feel that motherly energy. I hope one day I can give a younger actor this feeling. Meet Mindy.
On Ben's relationship, how does he relate to him?
Im a little older than him so I'm able to relate to a lot of things. As an artist, I cant be perfect in every tape. I cant be brilliant in every scene. Sometimes the character isnt right for me and I dont do well, and I need to learn from that rather than be ecstatic or angry at myself for not being the best person or brother that I can be.
Im trying to take a lesson from my own playbook and Ben Gross.
Never Have I Ever Recorded on the final day of filming
I expected to be so sad that the show was coming to an end. 95 percent of my heart was filled with overwhelming joy and gratitude. It is one of my favorite shows of all time because, as a kid, you want to believe that you are okay. And you need to keep going. This program made me realize that I am okay.
On what he took from the Never Have I Ever set.
Every season, I have slipped out of my seat, which I didnt realize was a lot of luck. But I was like, Ok, what mattered! Everybody in the crew had the ability to sign my script and write a little note, and I'll keep it there in the nicest frame I've ever owned, because it's the people that make this program so special.
What can fans expect from Season 4 of Never Have I Ever?
I hate to use the word perfect, but this was perfect for every character. I saw it and was like, Wow. The fourth season finale is killing me, but I cant wait for everyone to see it. It's amazing. I'm at a loss for words.
Never Have I Ever is a season four film that would be spelled out in three words.
Brilliant. Heartwarming. Hilarious.
Ben and Devi ended up together in the season 3 finale from the moment he learned of them.
I remember quickly reading the script and texting Maitreyi. We usually talk about the scripts when we receive them, and then I was like, Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! I'm so glad for fans to get to that stage when they see it.
On why he believes Ben is the best match for Devi
When you look at this season and look at this series as a whole, they complement each other very well and they challenge each other to excel and to expand their comfort zones and to try new things. They make each other crazy and don't handle certain situations very well, but they do show up and they help you find happiness.
After Never Have I Ever ended, he reflects on his hopes.
A, I'm a lifelong learner, and B, it helps me in terms of my acting process because I'm very psychological in my approach. I'll look at my characters from all levels of psychology, whether it's social or developmental, or different pockets of psychology, or whatever the outcome might be. Im looking forward to my next project and what it might be like for me.
Never Have I Ever is available to stream on Netflix.