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Dev Patel talks Hollywood racism

HollywoodNews.com: British actor Dev Patel is frustrated with the lack of opportunities he and other Asian actors have in Hollywood. Even after “Slumdog Millionaire” won eight Oscars, followed by a starring turn in “The Last Airbender” for Patel (previously only known for his role on the original British TV series “Skins”), he remains currently unemployed.

“All I was getting offered were stereotypical parts like the goofy Indian sidekick,” he tells the Telegraph. “Asian actors tend not to be sent Hollywood scripts that are substantial or challenging. I’m likely to be offered the roles of a terrorist, cab driver, and smart geek…I want to show that I have versatility.”

But Patel, who is dating “Slumdog” co-star Freida Pinto (who recently booked a role in Woody Allen’s newest film), has hope for improvement in the future. “Being an Asian actor, it’s never going to be easy. Hopefully the industry is changing and the casting directors will be less focused on color so that people like myself can get through the door…the fact that me and Freida have any kind of platform in Hollywood is a big step forward.”

Patel’s criticisms of the industry somewhat ironically follow criticisms of the public at large on racist casting in “The Last Airbender.”

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16 Comments

  • August 11, 2010 | Permalink |

    I wonder why he was selected to star in Slumdog Millionare, must be racism. How many black, white, or latino actors are selected to star in Bolleywood films? Not many I suspect, must be racism. So, he’s trying to get his foot in the door. Didn’t he see Slumdog Millionare? Doesn’t that count as a foot in the door? Perhaps he should audition for female roles and claim sexism next.

  • August 11, 2010 | Permalink |

    But, why don’t you talk about INDIAN racism? It’s a BIGGER problem than Hollywood’s?

  • August 12, 2010 | Permalink |

    Define:IRONY
    Wiki:Patel&Cast

  • August 12, 2010 | Permalink |

    The comments above are disgusting. He is not talking about Bollywood he is talking about Hollywood. He is a British film actor and not even Indian born. He has a right to criticize the hollywood film industry. We all know the truth and the truth is American media and hollywood is racist, and it is hard for anyone that is not white to get a substantial role that isn’t stereotypical. Slumdog Millionaire was a hit because it was movie with the right cast- would have been a hit without actual Indian actors? no That doesn’t make sense. But many Hollywood movies don’t require a certain ethnicity to play the role. Obviously a film about lets say Puerto Ricans should cast Puerto Ricans. So “JustSaying” your argument is flawed. Yes Dev Patel has a foot in the door, but the fact that the roles he been offered afterwards have all been stereotypical ones is disgusting. Although frankly he should have rejected the Last Airbender as well for its racist casting.

  • August 12, 2010 | Permalink |

    Hey T, Slumdog Millionare was not cast correctly as Dev Patel is not of “untouchable” decent. What you are suggesting is like saying a white American born actor in England could be cast as an American slave and all would be fine. Well, I disagree with your logic. Patel is of a landed cast, look it up. American film has come a long way, open your eyes. The answer is not to call Hollywood racist but to audition for parts. No one said it would be easy and Hollywood doesn’t have to “offer” anything to some entitled child. The untouchables of India are not making it in Hollywood because their roles are going to the Devs of the world. Complain about that sometime.

  • August 12, 2010 | Permalink |

    T, go google “Patel and cast” and then tell me Slumdog Millionare was casted correctly.

    Would a white american being cast as a slave be ok with you? How about if it were filmed in England? I don’t think so. You assume too much, of course an ethnic Indian should play the part. But, how about having someone who looks the part. You know, “untouchable”. Or do you think all of them look alike?
    Did you even see Slumdog Millionare?

    Some racism still exists in Hollywood, but not as much as you think you see.

    “Offered roles”, please, try auditioning.

    Not enough roles? Try writing.

  • August 12, 2010 | Permalink |

    read:(descent)

  • August 13, 2010 | Permalink |

    Just Saying, what you are saying is absolute rubbish. Just look at the number of major lead roles given to Asian American males (much less than 1%) and the kinds of roles (stereotypes).

    I love your “stop playing the race card mentality”, when Hollywood reeks of racism.

    Besides your rare Will Smith and Denzel Washington, how many Asian, black, and Latino male actors can land LEAD roles that allow for flexible, creative interpretation?

    Here’s a better example. Luckily for me, I know several Asian American directors.
    Every time they fight to have leads landed for actors whom they know will do a great job, the producers reply: “Give the role to a white guy”.
    Racist jokes and prejudices are rampant in the studio as well.
    Look it up. Racism against black film makers are rampant as well.

    Mickey Rourke is looking forward to play Ghengis Khan.

    The Last Airbender was a movie based off of East Asian and Inuit culture (confirmed
    by its creators).

    History shows racism since Hollywood’s inception.

    You, my friend, are an ignorant fool, or simply a fool in denial.

  • August 14, 2010 | Permalink |

    There are protections for victems of racism, there is recourse. I enjoyed the movie Slumdog Millionare. There is a proven “market”, that’s the word, “market”. I suppose you feel there should be some sort of law dictating what roles actors are allowed to play based on the melonin levels of their skin. Me, I disagree. Money, money, cash, and money; I can’t get enough either. But, I’m not running around blaming others for what is clearly a slanted system of wealth. Some people were born with it, god bless them. Some people were born with none, god help them.
    “Rampant racism”, you say. You are overplaying that card. Statistics prove nothing in the marketplace, they are evidence of nothing. FUBU makes clothing yet they account for far less of the market than say GAP. MUST BE RACISM. Mickey Rourke wants to play Ghengis Khan, HE MUST BE RACIST. Or are you racist for suggesting he shouldn’t be allowed? Yes, yes you are.

  • August 14, 2010 | Permalink |

    I don’t think he’s saying that he wants to play white roles… He’s just trying to say that there’s a lot of stereotips in hollywood, so he only can play as a poor indian or a terrorist because hollywood thinks it’s the only way indians can be.

    Go Dev, you’ll get what you want!!

  • August 15, 2010 | Permalink |

    No one said that he wants to play white roles, not that it would be wrong for him to want to do so. That’s a non starter, a non issue.

    But here we have yet another person who KNOWS what Hollywood thinks. Stereotypes abound in film and in writing for ALL groups. The question I concern myself with is in how are they handled.

    Take for example Slumdog Millionare. The film used the “stereotype” of a morally reprehensible-insensitive Indian upperclass in order to shed light on the desperate situation and morality of the underclass. Used in order to break the preceived stereotypes of the underclass. Not all of the Indian elites are so monsterous. But, one wouldn’t know it from watching the film. A good film and “true impression” from some of the underclass. At least I think so. Is it a “great” film? No. Do you wonder why several/many of the elites of India could/did take issue with the film?

    Grow up and ONLY THEN good luck.

    Learn peace.

  • August 15, 2010 | Permalink |

    Just Saying, you are incredibly ignorant beyond belief. The only one playing the race card here is YOU. No one here has accused you of being racist, and yet YOU are the only accusing others here of being racist. Nice try at playing the race card and then blaming it on others, hypocrite.

    As for the topic at hand: How would you like it if a Japanese actor was cast to play King Arthur? Or how about a Chinese actress to play Joan of Arc? Or how about an Indian actor to play Frodo in Lord of the Rings? Or a Pakistani actor to play James Bond? If you think it’s okay for white actors to play Asian roles (Genghis Khan, 21, Last Airbender, Dragonball Evolution, Prince of Persia, and countless more), then why isn’t it okay for Asian actors to play white roles? Like I thought, you’re just another hypocrite who is so used to white-privelege that you’ll cry racism (or even worse, “political correctness”) the moment any non-white gets fair treatment, which almost never happens in Hollywood (one of the places where white-privelege is still acceptable to this day).

  • August 16, 2010 | Permalink |

    No one said that he wants to play white roles, not that it would be wrong for him to want to do so. That’s a non starter, a non issue.

    As for the topic at hand: How would you like it if a Japanese actor was cast to play King Arthur?

    No one said that he wants to play white roles, not that it would be wrong for him to want to do so. That’s a non starter, a non issue.

    As for the topic at hand: How would you like it if a Japanese actor was cast to play King Arthur?

    No one said that he wants to play white roles, not that it would be wrong for him to want to do so. That’s a non starter, a non issue.

    Enjoy the circle.

  • August 16, 2010 | Permalink |

    If you think it’s okay for white actors to play Asian roles (Genghis Khan, 21, Last Airbender, Dragonball Evolution, Prince of Persia, and countless more), then why isn’t it okay for Asian actors to play white roles?

    Who said I didn’t? I hate you people who like to put words into other peoples mouths. That is rude.

  • September 11, 2010 | Permalink |

    Hollywood perpetuates racial stereotypes. That’s a given. The question is how long will it take for the industry to open up important, serious roles to actors/actresses of Asian descent. Asian women are sexualized and characterless, while Asian men are emasculated or shown to lack leadership. Ever notice how most Asian male characters don’t even speak English properly? Or they don’t say anything, because they’re such minor characters (e.g. the nerd in the cafeteria). This has got to change, and I hope Asian actors/actresses make a push for silver screen parity.

  • September 30, 2010 | Permalink |

    Dev is soooo correct I admit that Hollywood is worst but Hollywood is globalized and only Indians watch bollywood movies whereas hollywood the whole world watches it. I am an Indian Italian boy born in Singapore but raised mostly in London I am 13 years old and I will be moving to USA soon but I have stayed there for a few years. And while I was there I auditioned for a couple of roles but I never got any because I look more Indian then italian. And in another audition there was this American Indian boy who was amazing more amazing then anyone else in the audition but my friend overheard that he couldn’t get the part cause he was a bit dark so I wish this world was less racist I feel like crying because I have such a low chance in fulfilling my dream

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