The New York Diet

Actor-Director Ajay Naidu Will Eat Sugar But Only for Uma Thurman

The thespian gets comfortable in his “living room,” Café Orlin.Photo: Melissa Hom
Ajay Naidu — known for his roles in Office Space, The West Wing and other films and shows — reported to the set of Griffin Dunne’s new romantic comedy, The Accidental Husband, while also doing post-production work on his directorial debut, Ashes. We wondered how a man who was at the mercy of Craft services and who had recently quit sugar (making it “doubly hard to get around and be satisfied in New York”) could survive for a week. Luckily, his co-star Uma Thurman convinced him to eat a cookie.

Wednesday, November 29
I fasted all day. My girl [his fiancé, actress Heather Burns] is out of town, so I’ve been eating really quiet meals. Every day I have a high-potency greens drink. I drank that in the morning with water. I was going to give myself a luxurious late dinner; when I met friends at the Gotham Awards after-party, they suggested Edward’s, but the kitchen was closed so we went to Tribeca Tavern. I had a Neapolitan pizza. After each meal I take a green-tea-and-cinnamon pill and two fish oils so that I don’t want a dessert.

Tuesday, November 28
I was on the set. They have a really nice Craft service; sometimes the movie is so poor that it’s just Ritz crackers. I had a bagel with cream cheese and later, a big lunch: a cheese, lettuce, and tomato sandwich with chips and orange juice. For dinner, I ordered from Burritoville, a vegetarian sloppy-Joe quesadilla.

Monday, November 27
When I got to set, I had an egg sandwich. We were in the Bronx. Griffin Dunne really wanted to get Italian from this famous place on the concourse. I forget the name. I had shells stuffed with spinach. For dinner I had a grilled-cheese sandwich and a salad.

Sunday, November 28
I was in rehearsal at Uma Thurman’s house. A year and a half ago I quit sugar, but she had these ginger-snap-meets-chocolate-chip cookies. I had one just to try to be cool, and it was damn good. At night I had mattar paneer and plain nan from Sonali. I wanted nice, clean vegetables and something spiced the right way, so I wouldn’t have to eat a lot.

Saturday, November 27
I was cleaning my house all day. I had the greens drink, and then I had a sugarless-peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich on wheat with a big glass of milk. For dinner I went to Café Orlin, which is like my living room. You can’t beat the breakfast special in terms of a fresh, clean egg breakfast. I had a chicken-cutlet sandwich.

Friday, November 26
I had the greens in the morning and a banana, and later, a peanut butter and jelly and some cheese and orange juice. Then I ordered very late from Cinderella Falafel. I was more interested in the chickpeas: A falafel is a falafel, and I don’t wanna feel awful!

As told to Daniel Maurer

Actor-Director Ajay Naidu Will Eat Sugar But Only for Uma Thurman