INTERVIEW: Geraldine Viswanathan on switching from angel to Shitshoveler in Miracle Workers: Dark Ages

Teng Yong Ping
Lifestyle Editor
Daniel Radcliffe (Prince Chauncley) and Geraldine Viswanathan (Alexandra Shitshoveler, right) in Warner TV's Miracle Workers: Dark Ages. (Photo: Warner TV)

In Season 1 of Miracle Workers, Geraldine Viswanathan (Blockers, Hala) played an angel in a corporate Heaven setting desperate to save Earth from utter annihilation by a disgruntled God, an enterprise which entailed answering the prayers of two people by matchmaking them. Now, in the currently airing Season 2 of the Warner TV comedy series, Miracle Workers: Dark Ages, the show pivoted to feature a different setting: medieval Europe.

We caught up with the Australian actress in a group interview and asked her about her thoughts working with Steve Buscemi and Daniel Radcliffe, as well as her upcoming HBO movie Bad Education which stars Hugh Jackman.

What made you take the role in Miracle Workers?

When I first read the script, it was one of my favourite scripts I've ever read. I just thought it was so funny and smart. I love Simon Rich, I'm a really big fan of his work. And I just love the worlds that he creates and the way his mind works. So when I read the script for the first season, I was just thrilled and wanted to be a part of it in any way that I could and then they let me, which was really exciting.

How does it feel to have Steve Buscemi playing your dad instead of God?

Having Steve Buscemi playing my dad is a real dream come true. He's so incredible as an actor and a performer and a person. So I was really stoked when Simon (Rich, the show’s creator) told me that Jon (Bass) and I would be playing siblings and we’d be the family of Shitshovelers. It was really special getting to work with him that closely this season, because in Season 1 when he was God, we didn't have that many scenes together. This season it kind of shifts and we get all the relationships and the dynamics between the actors and the characters switched around.

The cast of Warner TV's Miracle Workers: Dark Ages: (L-R) Karan Soni (Lord Chris Vexler), Daniel Radcliffe (Prince Chauncley), Lolly Adefope (Maggie), Geraldine Viswanathan (Alexandra Shitshoveler), Steve Buscemi (Edward Shitshoveler), and Jon Bass (Mikey Shitshoveler). (Photo: Warner TV)

Season 2 is set in the Middle Ages and Season 1 was set in a corporate version of Heaven and these are two very different settings. What binds the two seasons together?

Simon Rich, the creator of the show – his kind of humour and his sensibility, I think he's got such a distinctive voice and it really shines in both seasons. And I think thematically, both seasons are very much about broken or outdated systems that don't work anymore. In both seasons I've played a character that kind of comes up against that and sees a way that we can change and seize a better version of doing things.

What’s it like working with Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame?

Daniel is just an incredible person and I was really happy that we’re still working together quite closely this season. He’s the dream partner, he's so good and he worked so hard and he's really fun to be with in a scene. We had a lot of fun. We all got very close this season.

Could you tell us more about your character Alexander this season?

I play Alexandra Shitshoveler, the daughter to Eddie Shitshoveler. She's kind of coming of age, she's figuring out her place in the world and she's super smart and ambitious and kind of feels limited by a small town and by her family's profession, which she's expected to join. She's really got big dreams, and she really wants to make a name for herself and explore the world.

Season 2 of Miracle Workers is very Monty Python-esque in style. Did Simon make you watch any other material to get into the mood of Season 2?

He didn't really. He did mention The Simpsons. I think The Simpsons is a huge influence for Simon. The Shitshovelers are quite similar to the Simpsons, really. For me, as a character, I really thought about Lisa Simpson a lot; she was very ahead of her time.

You’re also starring in an upcoming HBO movie, Bad Education. Could you tell us a bit about this film? What’s your role?

Bad Education is a film based on a true story – it's about the largest high school embezzlement scandal in America. It's set on Long Island. Hugh Jackman plays the superintendent who is the embezzler, and Allison Janney plays his business assistant superintendent.

I play a student with the student newspaper, and I end up accidentally uncovering that Frank Tassone, Hugh Jackman’s character, has been embezzling money from the school. She's the whistleblower.

Miracle Workers: Dark Ages airs every Wednesday on the same day as the US at 10.40pm on Warner TV.

Bad Education premieres at the same time as the US on 26 April 2020 at 9am on HBO GO and HBO.