Geraldine Viswanathan to play lead in Natalie Krinsky’s ‘The Broken Heart Gallery’

 Geraldine Viswanathan

Actors Geraldine Viswanathan and Utkarsh Ambudkar have been roped in for the romantic comedy “The Broken Heart Gallery.” Natalie Krinsky’s directorial debut, “The Broken Heart Gallery” is executive produced by Selena Gomez and Mandy Teefey. The film follows Lucy (Viswanathan), a born collector, who goes through a bad breakup with a man who also happens to be her boss at the Whitney Museum. She then curates The Broken Heart Gallery in the lobby of a stranger’s (Montgomery) hotel.

The 23-year-old Australian-born actor of Swiss and Indian descent made a splash last year in Kay Cannon’s raunchy “Blockers,” and made headlines for her “sweet connection” with her on-screen dad, played by John Cena. Talking about her Hollywood debut and her future projects, Viswanathan told the TV Guide: “Imposter syndrome is pretty constant, it’s just like a roller coaster ride.”

In its review of “Blockers” and Viswanathan’s performance, The Hollywood Reporter said: “In the R-rated comedy, she makes a pledge with her two best friends to lose their virginity on prom night. She told THR that she was briefly worried about being pigeonholed as “the brown girl who does dick movies.”

Viswanathan, 22, grew up in Newcastle, Australia, where she competed in equestrian events. She has just finished the TBS comedy series “Miracle Workers.” After a post-”Blockers” stint in Los Angeles, Viswanathan told LA Times she is giving New York a try. “I have two suitcases right now, she said. “That’s my life, so I’ll see where I end up.” Before she became an actress, she dabbed in stand-up and sketch comedy in her native Newcastle

Since her American debut — the actor had done a few Australian projects like “Janet King” and “Emo The Musical.” She was also seen in Minhal Baig’s coming-of-age drama, “Hala,” which was picked up by Apple after its Sundance premiere.

Viswanathan as the eponymous Hala, is Pakistani-American teen who deals not just with the normal horrors of high school but also the quiet unraveling of her family life as she figures out what tenants of her culture she actually believes in. TV Guide says Viswanathan’s role in “Hala” is “a big swing” for her, “not just because it’s her first dramatic part, but also because ‘Hala,’ who skateboards and masturbates and recites Anne Carson poems in class, is a (not The) portrait of a modern Muslim teenager, a community to which Viswanathan is not necessarily connected.”

Viswanathan also starred in the TBS series “Miracle Workers” alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Steve Buscemi and will appear opposite Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney in Cory Finley’s upcoming “Bad Education.” She was also seen in Netflix’s “The Package.”

Meanwhile, Ambudkar starred opposite Jillian Bell in “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” which won this year’s Audience Award in Sundance and was acquired by Amazon, which will release it in August. The independent feature follows an underachieving and over-partied 28-year-old woman who decides to take control of her life— one New York City block at a time and marks the debut for director Paul Downs Colaizzo. He appeared in Universal’s “Ride Along 2,” with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, with whom he also co-starred in “Barbershop 3.”

He’ll appear alongside Jodie Comer, Taika Waititi and Ryan Reynolds in Shawn Levy’s action comedy “Free Guy,” and co-stars in Disney’s live-action adaptation of “Mulan”, both of which come out this year.

Known for his breakout roles in “Pitch Perfect,” and on “The Mindy Project” (as Kaling’s brother Rishi), Ambudkar was also seen in “Blindspotting,” the Sundance U.S. Dramatic Competition Opening Night film, directed by Carlos López Estrada. In the film that takes on today’s issues of race and class, Ambudkar plays Rin, a close observer to the story’s protagonists who helps the audience connect the dots and sheds light on the direction of the narrative.

Ambudkar was also featured in “The Problem with Apu,” comedian Hari Kondabolu’s documentary about the character from “The Simpsons.” Ambudkar played Apu’s American nephew ‘Jay,’ which gave him the distinction of being the first Indian-American to lend his voice to the show.  Along with Whoopi Goldberg, Kal Penn, Hasan Minhaj and others, Ambudkar discussed the cultural ripple effect of Apu becoming one of the most visible “Indian” characters on TV over the last 30 years. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Ambudkar received his training as a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of Fine Arts.  While in New York, he acted in various plays and received a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for his work in “Animals Out of Paper,” by Rajiv Joseph at the Second Stage Theatre.

Along with acting, Ambudkar is also a rapper, and performs as a part of the group “The Beatards.” Originating the role of Aaron Burr in the developmental readings of “Hamilton,” Ambudkar reunited with Lin-Manuel Miranda as part of the improvisational rap group “Freestyle Love Supreme,” performing live in New York City under the name “UTK the INC.” 

Ambudkar’s additional TV credits include Showtime’s “White Famous,” produced by Jamie Foxx and created by Tom Kapinos (“Californication”) in which he stole scenes as Malcolm, Jay Pharoah’s agent. His credits also include “House of Lies,” with Don Cheadle, TNT’s “Legends,” opposite Sean Bean, a recurring arc on ABC’s “The Muppets” and a guest role on HULU’s anthology series “Dimension 404.”

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