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Aryan Simhadri from "Percy Jackson" on His Favorite Greek Myth

The 17-year-old actor stars as Grover in "Percy Jackson and the Olympians," Disney+'s highly anticipated adaptation of Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief.


Based on Rick Riordan's novel, "The Lightning Thief," the first season of the series centers on Percy Jackson (Walker Scobell). When he discovers he's the child of a mortal woman (Virgina Kull) and the god Poseidon (Toby Stephens), Percy seeks refuge at Camp Half-Blood, a training camp demigods. Alongside his newfound companions, Annabeth Chase (Leah Sava Jeffries) and Grover Underwood (Simhadri), Percy embarks on a mission to the Underworld to rescue his mother from Hades and locate Zeus' stolen lightning bolt before a catastrophic war erupts on Olympus. In the series, Grover assumes the role of a satyr, a guardian who is part man and part goat, entrusted to keep Percy safe.
Credit: Ben Cope

When it comes to being a young actor in Hollywood, there are few things 17-year-old Aryan Simhadri hasn't accomplished. He has appeared on national commercials, made guest appearances on prominent shows such as "Will & Grace," and starred alongside Zach Braff and Gabrielle Union in the Disney+ reboot of "Cheaper by The Dozen." Now, Aryan steps into his biggest role to date as Grover in the highly-anticipated Disney+ series "Percy Jackson and the Olympians."


Based on Rick Riordan's novel, "The Lightning Thief," the first season of the series centers on Percy Jackson (Walker Scobell). When he discovers he's the child of a mortal woman (Virgina Kull) and the god Poseidon (Toby Stephens), Percy seeks refuge at Camp Half-Blood, a training camp demigods. Alongside his newfound companions, Annabeth Chase (Leah Sava Jeffries) and Grover Underwood (Simhadri), Percy embarks on a mission to the Underworld to rescue his mother from Hades and locate Zeus' stolen lightning bolt before a catastrophic war erupts on Olympus. In the series, Grover assumes the role of a satyr, a guardian who is part man and part goat, entrusted to keep Percy safe.


Aryan is the third actor to portray Grover, following the performances of Bjorn Yearwood and Brandon T. Jackson in the film adaptations of the 2010s. Across Riordan's novels, Grover consistently joins Percy on his quests, simultaneously pursuing his own life's purpose: the quest to locate the Greek god of the wild, Pan.


Based on Rick Riordan's novel, "The Lightning Thief," the first season of the series centers on Percy Jackson (Walker Scobell). When he discovers he's the child of a mortal woman (Virgina Kull) and the god Poseidon (Toby Stephens), Percy seeks refuge at Camp Half-Blood, a training camp demigods. Alongside his newfound companions, Annabeth Chase (Leah Sava Jeffries) and Grover Underwood (Simhadri), Percy embarks on a mission to the Underworld to rescue his mother from Hades and locate Zeus' stolen lightning bolt before a catastrophic war erupts on Olympus. In the series, Grover assumes the role of a satyr, a guardian who is part man and part goat, entrusted to keep Percy safe.
Photo: Ben Cope

Hector: I must say, Percy Jackson and the Olympians is hands down the most anticipated series of the year. How was the process from being cast to seeing the finished product?


Aryan: I guess for me it didn’t really register that I was actually there, filming Percy Jackson, until I got to see the final product. It’s kind of strange looking back on it, just because of how long ago we filmed it. I got to see some footage from the chemistry read where I first got casted, and it feels like I’m watching a completely different actor. I loved pretty much every minute of the process in between, from getting casted to packing up our little apartment in Canada and heading back home. I’d do it again in a heartbeat!


HG: In addition to the love and praise I've seen for the show on social media, there is also significant recognition of how faithful the series is to the books. Had you read the books before being cast?


AS: Absolutely! I was a huge fan of the books back in the third or fourth grade, and they were the second book series I had ever read. So as a fan of the books, everyone on set including myself really wanted to be a part of something that did justice to this incredible series, and I believe that we made something really incredible that we’re all really proud of. I just remember feeling intensely relieved after I got the first set of proper sides for my callback and realizing that this was going to be the adaptation that everyone deserved, because I was going to watch it whether I got the part or not.

HG: What's your favorite memory from filming? Is there a moment on set that stands out?


AS: Oh my god, there’s so many. I think a big day for all of us was the Ares fight. Jet, our director, was so willing to work in tandem with us and be with us every step of the way. It was an intense week for all of us, Walker especially. That week where we filmed the Ares fight was also Leah’s last week, which meant we had to do a lot of really emotional scenes we were kind of putting off until the end. When Leah wrapped, you could almost feel the atmosphere of the set change, because everybody realized that this almost 9-month long journey was finally coming to a close.

HG: What I love most about the series is the Greek mythology aspect. Do you have a favorite myth or story?


AS: Orpheus and Eurydice, for sure. I love Achilles and Theseus and Hercules, but Orpheus and Eurydice, is just such a classic love tale that it’s hard to not have it be your favorite. It also doesn’t help that Hadestown is my favorite musical.

HG: So far, we've watched the first two episodes. What can we expect of Grover for the rest of season one?


AS: Something that I think we really wanted to focus on this season, as far as Grover’s arc goes, is that he’s on his own quest. As the show progresses, you get to hear Grover’s reason for not just wanting to prove himself, but also why he cares so much about the success of the quest. As much as he loves Percy and Annabeth, he also has his parents to please in the form of the Council of Cloven Elders. This is as much of a family story for him as it is for Percy or Annabeth, which I thought was really cool.

 

Watch Aryan Simhadri on Disney+ series "Percy Jackson and the Olympians." Make sure to follow both MUD and Aryan on Instagram.

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