"Fifteen days before the start of the shoot, my director asked me to get rid of my boyish looks. He wanted me to become a man, who can convince audiences that he is a writer aged 30 plus. Since I play a writer in the film, I was asked to turn into one by growing beard and gaining weight," Ashok told IANS.
"He (the director) asked me to gain as much weight as I can in two weeks. I worked hard and gained eight kgs in about 15 days. I even grew a beard and combed my hair up straight to ensure that more of my forehead was visible to prove that I'm older," said the 24-year old.
He says that the film is not a sequel to the recent Tamil blockbuster "Pizza".
"We are only carrying forward the 'Pizza' franchise by associating it with the title of our film, but it's not a sequel," said Selvan, who is aware of the comparison of the two films, but is not bogged down by it.
"Comparison is bound to happen because of the title, but I don't feel the pressure. I would have felt it had I been an established actor, but I have just started my career and I see this as a huge opportunity to sustain in the industry," he said.
He is also aware that he will be compared with Vijay Sethupathi, who played the lead in "Pizza".
"I know audiences will compare me with Vijay, but I won't mind it because he is like an elder brother to me. Since 'Pizza' revolutionised Tamil cinema, there are going to be a lot of expectations from our film," he added.
Ashok made his cinematic debut earlier this year with Tamil dark comedy "Soodhu Kavvum" alongside Vijay Sethupathi.
Was the transformation from comedy to horror genre challenging?
"It wasn't difficult because it only opened doors to learn and experience something different. In fact, I see it as a big opportunity so early in my career to play a lead role. The only difference would be that my last film expected me to funny, while this film needed the exact opposite," said Ashok.
"I hardly have few dialogues in 'Pizza 2: Villa'. I'm also very serious and express mostly through emotions and body language in the film. It's a very intense role and I had to work extremely hard for it," he added.
Directed by debutant Deepan Chakravarthy, the film also features Sanchita Shetty, Nassar and S.J. Surya in important roles. It is produced by C.V. Kumar.
Ashok has recently completed shooting for Tamil murder-mystery "Thegidi".
--IANS (Posted on 02-10-2013)