Janina Gavankar (she/her)
The L Word, True Blood, Big Sky, The Morning Show
Indian/Dutch actress, writer, director, musician, producer, and geek, Janina Gavankar is a modern-day renaissance woman, transitioning effortlessly between film, television shows, and video games. Gavankar shares the screen with renowned actors while simultaneously forging her path in tech and music with tremendous success. Most recently, Janina starred alongside Ben Affleck in the Warner Bros. film, THE WAY BACK. Directed by Gavin O’Connor, the film follows a former basketball all-star (Ben Affleck), who has lost his wife, (played by Janina) and family foundation in a struggle with addiction. He attempts to regain his soul and salvation by becoming the coach of a losing high school basketball team at his alma mater before his drinking gets the best of him. The film hit theaters on March 6, 2020 and became available on digital and VOD on March 24, 2020. Janina was also set to star in NBC’s upcoming show, “Echo,” in which she was the lead alongside Reid Scott. Currently, Janina can be seen in Netflix’s series, “Space Force” alongside Steve Carell and John Malkovich.
Janina can also be seen starring as the female lead, Val, in the racial dramedy BLINDSPOTTING which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Written by and co-starring real life best friends, Daveed Digg and Rafael Casal, BLINDSPOTTING tells the timely story about the intersection of race and class, set against the backdrop of a rapidly gentrifying Oakland, CA, during the last four days of Collin’s (Daveed Diggs) probation. Lionsgate distributed the film, which ran as a limited release starting July 20, 2018, followed by a wide release on July 27, 2018.In television, Gavankar most recently starred alongside Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell in Apple TV+’s Golden Globe nominated series “The Morning Show.” Gavankar is known for playing diverse characters, most prominently as Luna, the shapeshifter on HBO’s “True Blood;” Diana Thomas, female lead of FOX’s “Sleepy Hollow;” Shiva, the namesake of the sought after trophy on FX’s “The League;” Papi, the swashbuckling Latina lotharia on Lifetime’s “The L-Word,” and Meredith, the whip cracking NY cop in NBC’s “Mysteries of Laura.” Additional roles include a series regular role on ABC’s “The Gates,” and recurring roles on CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” and “Arrow,” as well as FX’s comedies “Better Things” and “You’re the Worst.”
Currently, Janina is being recognized for directing, producing, and writing her short film STUCCO, which is successfully making the festival rounds including the Oscar- qualifying HollyShorts Film Festival, St. Louis International Film Festival, and Chicago International Film Festival. STUCCO was set to go to the 2020 SXSW Film Festival, and won the Special Jury Recognition for Creature Design. STUCCO is an exploration of mental health, anxiety, and guilt, and marks Janina’s directorial debut. Janina’s additional film credits include SIDNEY HALL alongside Logan Lerman and Elle Fanning which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, SONY’s hit film THINK LIKE A MAN TOO, as well as independent films WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLF, SATELLITE OF LOVE, and the noir thriller, THE WHITE ORCHID opposite Olivia Thirlby, which successfully made the festival rounds.
Gavankar grew up studying classical piano, percussion, and voice. Her musical talents have even landed her on stage at Carnegie Hall performing a percussion duet with Questlove. Early in her career, Gavankar was signed to Cash Money Records, with girl group EnDera, and we have heard her original music licensed for film and television. Gavankar has produced three of her own critically acclaimed music videos including her 2010 reworking of the Kanye West hit “Love Lockdown,” 2012’s festival winning “Waiting For Godot,” and her current musical piece “Don’t Look Down” featuring a drum corps, which was created to incite conversation about arts education funding in the US.
Gavankar is passionate about tech and gaming. She is a first round investor in the hugely successful fitness start-up ClassPass, and she was the first actor to join Twitter. Her efforts were awarded with the Gravity Summit Excellence in Social Media/Entertainment Award in 2011. A very public and obsessive gamer herself, Gavankar starred as Imperial soldier Iden Versio in “Star Wars: Battlefront II – Hero,” which was released November 14, 2017. With a single-player campaign in “Battlefront II” that spans three decades of STAR WARS — the campaign takes place between the events of STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI and STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS — and there’s a lot riding on her elite TIE Fighter-pilot character. Not only does she represent what has happened within those three decades, but as a member of the Imperial side, she has to get people to understand her character. The trailer has over 24.4 million views. She also starred in Ubisoft’s smash hit “Far Cry 4”, Night School’s “After Party”, and “Halo’s” award-winning series “Hunt the Truth.”