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The British-Indian actress plays the feisty, unpredictable Lila in Netflix's Umbrella Academy

By Kara Warner and Ben Trivett
August 28, 2020 03:45 PM
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THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY (L to R) RITU ARYA as LILA
Credit: Netflix

Like many of The Umbrella Academy's enthusiastic fans, season 2 breakout star Ritu Arya can't wait to see what happens next.

"It could go any way, and I think that's what's exciting," Arya tells PEOPLE.

Although a third season of the hit Netflix series hasn't yet been announced, Arya, who plays Academy newcomer/scene-stealer Lila Pitts, hopes to explore more of what was revealed about her character's troubled past and complicated backstory.

"I would be interested to see where she goes from where we've left her," she says. "Having just found out all that information, about her mom, and about [the Umbrella Academy siblings]. She's in shock. What that would do to her?"

The British-Indian actress, who grew up watching and was inspired by a lot of Bollywood films, fell in love with acting while studying it in school.

Ritu Arya
Ritu Arya
| Credit: JSquared photography

"I got full marks on one of my performances. I thought, 'That's pretty cool. Maybe I'm good at this?'" she recalls. "But I went to [college] and studied astrophysics, before going to drama school. Which was a weird move. But I was quite into space and stuff."

Coincidentally enough, those varied interests are a great fit for joining the zany, fantastical world of The Umbrella Academy.

"I really enjoyed the fight choreography. It was a lot of training. I would go to see our trainer about three times a week, and have a two-hour session. He would push me so hard, and I hated his guts at the beginning," she admits with a laugh. "Then I loved him so much. Because I really surprised myself, with how far I came on. Having never done anything like that before. I really, really enjoyed it. I would love to do more."

In addition to her acting career, Arya, is also a musician.

"I play the drums in a band called Kin. We're pretty new," she says. "We've released two songs so far, and we're going to be releasing another one by the end of the year. I really love it. The band is so great. It really adds some security and certainty, doing something that you love, that you're sort of in charge of."

In her downtime, Arya has been enjoying watching The Simpsons and the NBA.

"I've recently gotten in to the NBA. It's huge for me, because I never really watched sports before," she says. "I'm so addicted. I'm also quite into cartoons. I have been spending the last few evenings watching back-to-back Simpsons."

While her fingers are decidedly crossed for a season 3 announcement so she can explore more of her character's recently-discovered abilities, Arya, 31, is currently filming the Netflix movie Red Notice, opposite Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds.

"I play an Interpol agent, who is after the world's best art thief," she says. "It has an incredible cast. I am just in shock that I am doing this film."