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. She shares the screen with renowned actors while simultaneously forging her path in tech and music with tremendous success. Most recently, Gavankar starred alongside Ben Affleck in the Warner Bros. film "The Way Back," which hit theaters on March 6, 2020. She recently wrapped production on two feature films, a leading role opposite Riz Ahmed and Octavia Spencer in the feature "Invasion" for Amazon, and Eli Roth's "Borderlands" for Lionsgate in which she stars opposite Cate Blanchett, Kevin Hart and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Gavankar will reprise her role alongside Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell for season two in Apple TV+'s Golden Globe-nominated series "The Morning Show," which premieres Sept. 17.
Gavankar can also be seen starring as the female lead, Val, in the racial dramedy "Blindspotting," which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Her 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.
In television, Gavankar was also set to star in NBC's pilot "Echo" earlier this year, in which she was the lead alongside Reid Scott. She 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 New York 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." Gavankar can currently be seen in Netflix's series "Space Force" alongside Steve Carell and John Malkovich.
Gavankar is also 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 Gavankar's directorial debut.
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 her original music can be heard across film and television. She 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 most recent musical piece "Don't Look Down" featuring a drum corps, which was created to incite conversation about arts education funding in the U.S.
Gavankar is passionate about tech and gaming. She is a first-round investor in the hugely successful fitness startup 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 Nov. 14, 2017. 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.