Dev Patel calls out Hollywood for their racist Asian stereotypes


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As many of you know, I love Dev Patel. Before I even saw Slumdog Millionaire, I loved him. I love his big ears. I love his sweet smile. And most of all, I love that he’s a British Indian actor who became acceptable as a leading man in a film that went on to become the Best Picture Oscar-winner. His career should have been rosy, right? After the success of Slumdog and the acclaim for Dev as an actor, he should be swimming in scripts. Not so much, as it turns out. Dev gave an interview to The Telegraph about the stereotypes of Asians, and how those are the only roles out there for an Asian actor:

Hollywood is institutionally racist, according to the Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel, who claims Asian actors are limited to roles as terrorists, taxi drivers or geeks. When the story of a boy from the Mumbai slums became the surprise hit of 2009, winning eight Oscars, it was expected that Patel’s career would take off.

However, the 20-year-old from Harrow, north-west London, has been frustrated by the lack of decent roles on offer and is currently jobless.

“Because Slumdog was such a big hit there was a lot of pressure in terms of what I did next. For my second film I wanted a role that would stretch me, but all I was getting offered were stereotypical parts like the goofy Indian sidekick,” he said.

“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. You have to remember that, before Slumdog, the last film about India that went big at the Oscars was Gandhi, as played by Ben Kingsley. The fact that me and Freida have any kind of platform in Hollywood is a big step forward.”

Freida Pinto played Patel’s love interest in Slumdog Millionaire and is now his real-life girlfriend. The Indian-born former model has had more success than Patel, winning a role in Woody Allen’s latest film.

Patel said he was hoping to overcome prejudice. “I’m buzzing with adrenaline and raring to go, but I have to be realistic. 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 colour so that people like myself can get through the door.”

He was plucked from the relative obscurity of Channel 4′s teen drama, Skins, to make his film debut in Slumdog Millionaire. Directed by Danny Boyle, it became a box office phenomenon and won the best picture Oscar.

Unfortunately, the film Patel chose for his second role has been mired in accusations of racism. The Last Airbender is based on a children’s television cartoon in which the main characters are Asian. The £100 million Hollywood adaptation, released in the UK this week, has white actors playing the roles and the Asian actors – including Patel – are limited to playing baddies.

When the film premiered in the US last month, protesters demonstrated outside the cinema in Los Angeles.

The young actor still lives at home with his parents and travels on public transport. He said: “One time I was on the Tube and I picked up a free newspaper. Inside was a big article with the headlines, ‘Dev Patel, the new rising star’ along with a picture of me. This woman got on and started reading the piece. She looked up at me and did a classic double take.”

[From The Telegraph]

Aw, poor kid. I would like to tell young Dev a story. It’s a story about a wonderful actress by the name of Sarita Choudhury. Sarita is a half-Indian actress who made a big splash in her film debut, Mississippi Masala. She was the first English-speaking Indian actress to really go mainstream Hollywood as a lead role (not to mention as an interracial love interest to Denzel Washington) in a mainstream film. Sarita faced the same kind of bullsh-t Dev is discussing right here – that she would only get hired for the stereotypical “ethnic” roles. But she found a home doing diverse work in films and television, mostly in supporting and character work. Whenever she pops up on one of my shows or takes a turn in a film, I’m always happily surprised because I love her so much. But I’m also sad because I think she’s a better actress than most of the Hollywood A-list women, and she should have been a major lead actress.

So, my advice to Dev: keep plugging away, kid. I know it seems difficult, but it’s also about the work, right? Maybe you don’t have to be a lead actor right now, maybe you should spend a few years doing supporting work and yes, sometimes playing into stereotypes. I know it sucks. But lots of minorities have to do it, as do most of the working actresses out there. Look at Kal Penn! Or Ken Leung! They’ve turned in some “stereotype” roles, but they’ve also done some really interesting stuff with their careers (The Namesake, and Lost, respectively). Holy sh-t, Ken Leung is 40 years old?!? See, that’s another stereotype, but one you should be thankful for, Dev: you’ll never have to Botox. You’ll be 40 years old and still be getting offers to play 20-something stereotypes. Silver lining!

MADRID, SPAIN - JULY 13: Actor Dev Patel attends 'Airbender, el Ultimo Guerrero' (The Last Airbender) photocall at Villamagna Hotel  on July 13, 2010 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

NEW YORK - JUNE 30: (L-R) Actors Dev Patel and Freida Pinto attend the premiere of 'The Last Airbender' at Alice Tully Hall on June 30, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

NEW YORK - APRIL 19: Actress Sarita Choudhury attends the Tribeca All Acces kick off during the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival at Hiro Ballroom at The Maritime Hotel on April 19, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

Header: Dev Patel on July 14, 2010. Credit: WENN.

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84 Responses to “Dev Patel calls out Hollywood for their racist Asian stereotypes”

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  1. denise says:

    Of course Hollywood is racist and stereotypical of certain races. I hate when a white person is used to play an ethnic person, i.e. Angelina Jolie as Cleopatra!?!?

    BTW Dev Patel is a really good actor, I would like to see him in more diverse roles.

  2. kim says:

    Maybe because he is a terrible actor who hit the lottery with Slumdog is why he doesnt get roles not because he is Asian. Hello there are thousands of actors (caucasian, african american, asian, etc) in Hollywood who cant get jobs. Its called competition.

    Sounds like his ego blew up after Slumdog and he just cant believe no one is hiring him because “dont you know who he is!” Grow up.

  3. EllenP says:

    “The Last Airbender is based on a children’s television cartoon in which the main characters are Asian. The £100 million Hollywood adaptation, released in the UK this week, has white actors playing the roles and the Asian actors – including Patel – are limited to playing baddies.” Could Patel have said something last year to the director of that film, M. Night Shyamalan?

  4. kim says:

    Welcome to Hollywood buddy! Hollywood is a business and they will cast who will make the most money period, they dont care about authenticity. If he owned a business he would run it the exact same way. Welcome to reality Dev.

  5. Ellie says:

    while i completely agree with him that it’s hard for minorities to get starring film roles, he did just star as a bad guy in ‘the last airbender.’ no need to reinforce these stereotypes in a major blockbuster – his name is already recognizable.

    p.s. he was adorably great in the uk show ‘skins’!

  6. Samantha says:

    Anyone remember John Wayne playing Genghis Khan? Still makes me laugh to think about it. I remember my mom was furious when Will Smith played James West. I agree with him in that stereotypes prevail in Hollywood, look at Sofía Vergara talking about how she dyed her hair because no one believed she was a latin woman with blond hair. I mean…this is Hollywood. Don’t like it? Change it. Don’t take the roles that make you a stereotype. It just seems that for the most part if you want to get anywhere in Hollywood you have to be willing to sell your soul, and there is no lack of people willing to do it.

  7. buckley says:

    Maybe he’s just not that good.
    Sorry, not a fan at all.

  8. denise says:

    Frieda Pinto is beyond gorgeous, Dev really got lucky, because he looks like one of those inflatable cigarette thingies that are always in front of a new store.

  9. lucy2 says:

    I don’t doubt for a second that there’s racism in Hollywood – no one’s ever accused studio execs with being smart or in touch with reality.
    But I have to say, part of the reason he’s not sent tons of substantial and challenging scripts is because there AREN’T many. And even fewer substantial roles for 20 year old guys in general.
    He’s still very young, and it takes time to get established to the point where you get a shot at the great roles. It’s pretty common for an unknown in a huge breakout role to struggle a bit for the next few films – regardless of race or gender.
    I wish him luck because I do like him and he’s a good actor, and while he has a point, I think it’s a bigger problem than he’s seeing.

  10. LindyLou says:

    I feel for his frustration. But just to play devil’s advocate here for a moment – perhaps he’s not getting the juicy leading man roles because he doesn’t have the typical “leading man” looks?? Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s adorable but he’s no Clive Owen or Denzel Washington, etc. That being said, I hope he has a long and successful career in movies. I’m rooting for him! :)

  11. jen says:

    Maybe it’s because he is just goofy looking. Keanu Reeves doesn’t look white & he’s a leading man.

  12. buckley says:

    Aziz Ansari works all the time.

  13. lola lola says:

    While Hollywood is racist, let’s not assume that one good role makes a career. He was fabulous in Slumdog and will be fabulous again but all actors wait for that kind of a role. He just got it first–and he wouldn’t have gotten it if he wasn’t Asian so I guess it works both ways. BTW, I’m also rooting for him. Don’t mean to sound like I’m not.

  14. Oi says:

    Yeah, Hollywood is like that. I hope people know enough to realize that the general public is not like that. Most people aren’t even aware of it. They see a ‘hot guy’ and like him, the race not entering into it much. I think Hollywood is acting on very old stereotypes of what they think people want to see.

    Second: his problems sound like his agent. He needs to step out of Hollywood and maybe more towards indie films.

    Great point Lola.

  15. Tess says:

    Well… and I loved him in Slumdog but…come on.

    Why isn’t he complaining about casting decisions in Bollywood, or Spain, or Saudi Arabia, or Russia, or anywhere else in the world, too?

    And I’m an avid Hollwood basher. But the double standards and hypocrisy voiced by faux victims is as boring as it is predictable.

  16. lola lola says:

    P.s. who is that scary woman at the bottom in the fur vest?

  17. Toe says:

    ^^^yes, who is she? She looks like a man

  18. buckley says:

    She’s the actress referenced above Sarita something…

  19. flutters says:

    Great point lola lola.

    I’m rooting for Dev Patel too. I think he’s got good potential to carve out a solid career for himself.

  20. lucy2 says:

    Oi, good point – maybe he needs a better agent. And I agree about the indie movies, or maybe he should try TV too – there are some quality shows and quality roles on TV, and it’s far more diverse than big screen blockbusters.

  21. Leticia says:

    I hope he has a long and successful career as a leading man.

    Just to point out that it would be equally hard for a caucasian actor to land the leading man roles in Bollywood.

  22. Kaiser says:

    The last photo is of Sarita Choudhury, and she’s gorgeous, although that’s not the best photo of her. She’s not ‘Toxing or ruining her face, and she looks her age, goddamn it.

  23. hzl says:

    He’s 20 years old, and looks it. How many movies call for a 20 year old leading man?

  24. Kitten says:

    @ Ellie-I watched all of Skins on DVD recently-so effin’ good!

    Meh. I agree that Hollywood is racist, sexist et al but I guess I’m with other posters: Welcome to Hollywood. It ain’t gonna change, kiddo, so sink or swim. Also, as someone who works in corporate America I can say that the corporate world is also largely sexist, racist and homophobic. Hell, the industry I work in has more old white men than a country club. You just gotta fight, lil’ man.

  25. JustMe says:

    lol@ Denise’s comment.

  26. Alarmjaguar says:

    I don’t know, I think people are being too tough on him. He is trying to change things in Hollywood by speaking out about the problem. I’m not sure saying, ‘yep, it is racist and sexist and that’s the way it is always going to be’ is very productive. Hollywood is that way because people continue to consume the crap it cranks out (kudos to whoever pointed out that there aren’t many good scripts to begin with). It is really our fault; we could use our buying power for good. I’m just sayin’

  27. Iggles says:

    I like Dev and I think it’s awesome he’s not biting his tongue. He certainly isn’t whining, he’s being a realist (I also appreciated when Big Love actress Amanda Seyfried talked candidly about the business side of Hollywood in regard to Rom Coms).

    I hope good things come his way. I do think he would have better luck in independent films right now. In time he could certainly do well in big budget films.

    It’s a pity M Night Shymalan doesn’t share his views about challenging the system. I think if it was up to Dev he would not have whitewashed casting of the film.

  28. Solveig says:

    Well, I don’t know if HW is racist but for sure Hollywood swims through stereotypes (see the ones about Italians, Irish, Spanish, etc).
    I’ve never heard of Sarita Choudhur until now, but let me tell you that she’s a gorgeous woman, although probably she doesn’t know exactly how to dress properly.
    As for Freida Pinto, isn’t she Spanish or Portuguese?

  29. Chelly says:

    Do they even know he’s Asian? Cuz I didn’t!

  30. meme says:

    yo dev, maybe you should try the indie route instead of mainstream hollywood. just a thought.

  31. sam says:

    Why is it minorities have to be prominent in majority white countries, no one calling Bollywood racists because they don’t have any famous non Indian celebrities, give me a break, Every nation with majorities of one race or another have their race dominated in their culture…. whites are barely 15% of the worlds population, but we are expected to keep giving up our countries to minorities because they want to live in it while their mother countries are all xenophobes and only their religion and race are allowed to dominate , we’re being conned giving up our children birth rights.

  32. Basketca says:

    It’s not that they have a thing with Asians, it’s against more than just race. How many ugly women do succeed? They have to be very, very, very talented if they want to be in movies, and even like that those women only appear in indie movies, not in Transformers, etc.

    And what about fat people? How many fat, or just not completely skinny people (specially women, again) get decent roles?

    Hollywood it’s tough, but if you prove you’re GREAT (like Tilda Swinton, for example, who’s not too attractive), you will get good jobs.

    Someone once said to me: “If you don’t have beauty on your side, prove you are good at something else”.

  33. meme says:

    @sam – i concur

  34. Basketca says:

    Oh, and btw, in Spain we are white (it’s europe!), but go to Hollywood, say you’re spanish and they will get you a role as a mexican.

  35. nate hearne says:

    Let’s ban the term “minority(ies)” please. This term only serves to make groups of non-white people feel like they are “less than”. Thanks!

  36. TQB says:

    @sam, I actually have a very good college friend who became a huge success in Chinese cinema – he’s a Jewish kid from Texas.

    Hollywood is treating us all like we’re morons, feeding us whitewashed leading men and women, when in reality the US is ready, willing and happy to accept Asians in leading roles. Lost had an entire storyline based on a Korean couple – half the time they didn’t even speak English. Fans of the show adored them.

  37. Canucklehead says:

    No shit Sherlock. Does anyone really need to be told this?

    They would never give John Cho anything but asians. Sulu first and now Kato in the Green Hornet, and he can actually act.

    We know it, maybe one day it will change but not soon.

  38. lena says:

    “Why is it minorities have to be prominent in majority white countries, no one calling Bollywood racists because they don’t have any famous non Indian celebrities, give me a break, Every nation with majorities of one race or another have their race dominated in their culture…. whites are barely 15% of the worlds population, but we are expected to keep giving up our countries to minorities because they want to live in it while their mother countries are all xenophobes and only their religion and race are allowed to dominate , we’re being conned giving up our children birth rights” @ Sam

    What in the hell are you talking about? He’s a British actor trying to make it Hollywood…what does Bollywood have to do with this? And just LOL at “giving up our countries” comment…I won’t even bother schooling you…I really hope you aren’t from America making that comment, because if you are you better be a Native American. Your comment is screaming white privledge

  39. lena says:

    @ Kaiser…girl put up a better pic of Sarita…she’s gorgeous and that pic is not showing it :-)

  40. meme says:

    @sam – To quote George Lucas, “Popcorn pictures have always ruled. Why do people go see them? Whys is the public so stupid? That’s not my fault.” HW is just giving people what they want and what they typically want is stupid ass crap with adam sandler or some talentless teenybopper star. It’s a business. If more people went to see quality films, that’s what they’d make.

  41. Mairead says:

    Perhaps Dev would do well to realise that we are in the Golden Age of television, and the small screen is where it’s at. Indie films aside, how many interesting and different films go mainstream from Hollywood each year – two perhaps?

    Dev’s complaint is very similar to women in Hollywood where in films the women are generally just there to fill in the space and react. I’ve said it before that for women, television is the most interesting place for them, as the characters are generally rounder and have real meat to them. And it’s the same thing for ethnic minorities, from what I can see.

  42. gen says:

    I love the comments from the white folks “well so & so is doing good & they’re -fill in the race-.” You might as well be saying “some of my friends are -fill in the race-” Blech, try walking a day in a “minorities” shoes & then bitch. The guy is adorable & a great actor, IMHO. He’s not getting the roles cause Hollywood, for all its talk, refuses to catch up with the times. You have 1 or 2 non-white actors who get a bunch of roles & Hollywood says, look at us, we’re not racisist. HA! Watch some stuff from the UK & you’ll see all shades of leading people & love interests who don’t stay within their own ethnic background. The entertainment industry needs to get their heads out of their butts & stretch themselves a bit. And stop doing the same movies over & over again while they’re at it!!!

  43. OC lady says:

    I agree. It’s a shame films don’t showcase more of the US’s diversity. Asians, in general, are 6% of the US population and growing . . . but we hardly see them in mainstream films.

    But, I do think it’s slowly changing. I still think Hollywood is stuck with the mindset that only white actors will sell to a mostly white audiences, or that audiences need to see some version of themselves on the screen in order to identify with the character and follow the story. Movies like Slumbdog Millionaire prove that theory wrong.

  44. ch says:

    it´s the Jessica Biel syndrome:
    there must be something wrong in USA, ´cause im the next Marlon Brando, and nobody seems to notice!

    sorry
    he´s not very goodlooking, he´s not yet a good actor
    he will have to work hard
    learn some acting, grow some chest hair, lift some weights
    you think life is easy ?
    just work, learn and stop complaining…

  45. Lana says:

    @Sam

    This is most likely not worth it -given that clearly you have no idea of the demographics of India (first) and second that Bollywood has nothing to do with Hollywood. It’s two completely different cultures. People don’t “call Bollywood racists” because the very idea is just silly if you knew anything at all of things outside of the United States. So here’s a quick lesson:

    First of all Dev Patel is British -doesnt’ speak ANY Indian dialects, so it would make logical sense for him to try to cater to an English speaking market. Hollywood is the biggest logical market out there since British film seems to be in statis.

    Addressing your ludicrous “Bollywood” statement. To be in Bollywood -you’d have to be able to speak Hindi or Tamil. India isn’t all that racially diverse, not as much as the United States. Now exactly how many non-Indian actors who speak Hindi or Tamil fluently do you think exist in India? Barely any. The expact community mostly sticks to themselves.

    The United States on the other hand or “hollywood” has no such excuse.

    Cultural perspective -get one outside of the States. It’s a big world out there.

  46. Wif says:

    A lot of posters above are responding with a “duh, of course Hollywood’s racist” response. So what is the point that you’re making? Is it “duh, we all know it’s racist so shut up and don’t complain.”? Or is it “duh, it’s racist, so fight and change the system.”? I prefer camp 2.

  47. Alexis says:

    He’s got a point, but there are several other factors at play here as well…

    Oh, another vote to post a better picture of Sarita! I can’t believe so many of you don’t know who she is! Even if you’re not familiar with her work, you should know that she was the love of Sam Rockwell’s life — he’s referred to her in interviews as “the one who got away”.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I love Dev. I think he’s adorable and I hope his career continues to grow.
    BTW, Denise, Cleopatra was white. She was Macedonian Greek, a descendent of one of Alexander the Great’s Generals. And Angie will be perfect playing her.

  49. Me says:

    I find it a bit weird he’s talking about Asian people, I get that India is partly in Asia, but he’s not getting roles because he looks Indian, not Asian. Weird. One way or another, it’s sad and ironic that Hollywood is so racist yet all of those movie stars run around telling Americans how narrow minded and racist they are, anytime there’s an election. Perhaps before you start telling people how to vote, you ought to clean up your own backyard – I can’t remember all those famous names getting out on the streets of Cali protesting the way the minorities are treated within their own industry, including women.

  50. Mairead says:

    @Me: India, along with its neighbours, Pakistan and Bangladesh (which before independence were the provinces of the same country), is wholly in Asia, although it is often referred to as a subcontinent, due to its immense size. In the UK people of that region refer to themselves as Asian. Hope that helps.

    EDIT: @Anonymous. Thanks for getting there before I did. Ironically “She With The Famous Hair” might be ethnically more appropriate for playing the Ptolemaic Pharoh ;) She couldn’t do a worse accent than AJ’s mangled attempt at Olympias in Alexander.

  51. Ruffian9 says:

    Lana: August 11th, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    *Applause*

  52. Miss Thing says:

    Oh, please. He’s not that good, and not super-exciting to look at. That’s not “racist”–he just doesn’t have “it” that works in a variety of roles. Just an average dude. He had his 15 minutes and got lucky. Now sit down & shut up.

  53. Bee says:

    @sam this is not “your country” ok. What are you talking about when you say “we’re being conned into giving up our children’s birthright”? I assume you are talking about white children. Well let me tell you something white people have no higher claim to this country than anyone else. We live in an ethnically and culturally diverse country. And all members of our society have the right to want to represented fairly and accurately in films, the media, etc.

  54. California Surfer says:

    I saw The Party with Grandma the other day and it is a way majorly excellent flick! And if anyone wants to see Denzel Washington’s butt it is in Missisippi Massala and a whole lot of the lovely Sarita so it is almost as good as the french movies in terms of nudity!

  55. WonderWomanKinky says:

    duh. If you are light-skinned or look Caucasian…no problem. If you are dark-skinned or non-Caucasian….um…good luck. The only exception to this rule is if you are undoubtedly beautiful, which clearly, he is not.

    Also, if you’re fat…good luck.

  56. lmc says:

    John Cho is not playing Kato in the Green Hornet, Jay Chou is.

  57. Joe the drummer says:

    Id like to point out that Bollywood is institutionally racist against Argentinians, i mean what roles do Argentinians get in Bollywood films? None. WTF? Racists.

  58. Joe the drummer says:

    I would also like to point out that Nicaraguans are typecast in Japanese cinema. They never get the lead role. Always the bridesmaid…

  59. Adrien says:

    Dev’s Slumdog might have cursed him. Each time I see him I only see Jamal.

    “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…”
    Haha, I have a Pakistani roommate who was upset that the terrorist turned outsourcing cab driver in “Don’t Mess with Zohan” went to Rob Schneider, a Filipino American. He said that even the “real” Asians were robbing them of roles. Even Jai-ho was Westernized. Dressing up Nicole Scherzinger, a Filipino American, as an Indian in that video was distasteful and funny at the same time.

  60. Tess says:

    The Dummy’s Guide To Understanding Absolutely Everything:

    The West Bad

    America Worse

  61. Ballys Hello Kitty says:

    I want him to play the lead terrorist in Executive Decision 2: Electric Boogaloo!

  62. The entertainment industry is very racist and it’s disappointing to see so many comments here that refuse to acknowledge this fact.

  63. mln says:

    For those who doubt that there is instituitionalized racism in Hollywood how many talentless actresses and actors can you think of that make millions of dollars per movie/TV appearance aren’t caucasian?

  64. RoC says:

    “Just to point out that it would be equally hard for a caucasian actor to land the leading man roles in Bollywood.”

    Many if not most Indians ARE caucasian. That is why Dev Patel looks like Richie Cunningham with a tan and dark hair. In the UK Indians are referred to as Asian because they are from the Asian continent, but in the US non-Indians think of Asian as a race – Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc etc etc.

  65. Truthzbetta says:

    Oh come on, his girlfriend the Indian “former model” is doing well and he’s not. Because of racism? Or she’s beautiful in a profession based on looks and he’s goofy.

    What am I supposed to believe him as? A handsome leading man? An action hero?

    If it’s just racism those sexy studs Keanu Reeves, The Rock and Yun Fat-Chow would be poor. They’re all totally or part Asian/Polynesian and doing just fine as hot leading men.

  66. Buddha DeCat says:

    I hate when people don’t know history –re: Cleopatra needing to be played by an “ethnic” woman. Cleopatra was GREEK straight from the Ptolemy line of pharoahs (Ptolemy is who got Egypt after Alexander the Great died). The Ptolemy’s did NOT marry Egyptians or other “people of color” — they inter-married. So it is just fine to cast Angelina Jolie in the role.

  67. aiych says:

    sam = typical “white privilege” rant.

    it’s like listening to a spoiled brat whine.

    Anyway, I’ve been wondering when Asians would finally call out Hollywood on its stereotyping of them. I would like to see an Asian in a lead role other in some Jackie Chan or Jet Li type martial arts movie. And don’t give me that “maybe they’re just not talented enough” argument. Sam Worthington (Avatar, Clash of the Titans, Terminator Salvation)can draw a crowd and he is as dull as cow pies. If he can keep getting lead roles, anyone with a little bit of acting experience can!

  68. Chris says:

    I notice his convictions didn’t stop him from taking the pay cheque to play a baddie in The last Airbender.

    And what’s wrong with playing a taxi driver? Robert de niro and Jamie Foxx have had great roles as taxi drivers.

  69. me says:

    Bollywood has never claimed to be a ‘global cinema’. Hollywood does. Moreover, I think he is talking about realistic representation, not necessarily that he wants to be a big star. And you cannot deny he has a point: Look at those big cast network shows or a majority of romcoms: white mains, non-white supporting actors (as ‘friends’ or other – see Sex in the City, etc.). Is this what ‘your’ social group looks like? Is this an accurate representation of, say, any classroom or meeting room in America? I don’t think so.

  70. lena says:

    @budda de cat… they belive now that Cleopatra may have been of mixed ancestry, her sister’s remains were found to help with the theory.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5908494.ece

  71. meme says:

    Hollywood has never proclaimed to be global cinema. It’s entertainment, except for the 70′s when they let a few very talented directors make some great movies before self-destructing. Hollywood makes movies to make money. Lots of it. End of story.

  72. Katie says:

    I never knew that actress’ name (Sarita Choudhury) but you’re right, she pops up everywhere and is a great actress!

  73. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    So, to be clear:

    We’re all to take up the ‘that’s the way it is and always shall be’ mantle without having any higher aspirations and just be thankful they weren’t thrown into a well at birth? From this minority’s viewpoint that’s pretty damned cynical.

    Hattie McDaniel was the first person of colour to win an Oscar and did so through taking the role of a slave because that was the only thing to was ever an option for her. Gone With The Wind came out in 1939–that was freaking 71 years old. Very, very slowly the avenues started opening up for minority roles, but not much. Have these changes been occuring because of apathy on the part of the actors? I doubt it.

    He never mentioned anything about being a leading man or love interest or whatever. He never said that he was above building a career over a long stretch of time, but really, how’s anyone supposed to stretch himself if he’s only permitted to the same thing over and over?

    Yeah, De Niro was a taxi driver…and a boxer, and a mobster, been in a horible franchise, cop, Scorcese muse…and on it goes. He’d be a lot less talented if he were relegated to the ‘geek with accent’ type for decades.

    The plain and simple truth is that white actors get so many more opportunities than non-whites. There are many examples of hard work, simple talent or even giftedness becoming so profound that, as if through some feat of prestidigitation, they break the bonds of time and space and can SWITCH races. Isn’t that wild? Think about it: Ava Gardner, John Wayne, Peter Sellers, Mickey Rooney, any of the Sharks who weren’t Rita Moreno. But for some upstarts, that just wasn’t enough.

    So this kid is feeling some frustration over a very real barricade in his burgeoning career and isn’t allowed to feel those things without having insults hurled at him, but other people are allowed to be offended by him voicing that concern? Why?

    Minorities have been living in an entertainment world that doesn’t consider their value, just their money and since time immemorial. Finally, so doors start to open and, whoopsie–brick wall. Stereotyped second banana. I swear, if Hollywood throws me another sassy black woman who comunicates only through sucking her teeth and going ‘mmm hmmmm’, I am going to burn that city to the ground. Just imagine what it would be like if every single film–not even just romantic comedies–every single film was about a single girl addicted to her job who really needs a man. Bored yet? Rolling your eyes a little?

    It doesn’t mean that all minorities have categorically refused to patronise any of these entertainments, full-stop. If something looks appealing it isn’t against the law to enjoy it.

    Point the anger where it belongs: at the industry. It has taught you to believe that the only viable entertainments are the ones that are wholly enveloped in whiteness. That’s hugely insulting, to think that if the demographics shifted, white audiences would spontaneously combust on the spot because *bless their hearts* they just can’t handle anything else. What they’re saying is that you’re stupid and bigoted and THAT is so narrow-minded and condescending that it hurts everyone.

  74. Dan says:

    if he doesnt want to be typecast, maybe he should hold back and be picky with his roles. yes i know he has to work to earn but perhaps if he didnt accept every role that was offered to him he would be treated different and would get non-stereotypical roles.

  75. Mairead says:

    To paraphrase Irish comic Tommy Tiernan “They (“white” countries) shouldn’t have invaded so many countries if they were going to get upset at the locals following them home” :lol:

    And stereotypical Bollywood is a completely different genre to Hollywood. The traditional style films are very formulaic and as such grew up to cater for a specific local audience that western films did not. Besides, Dev’s complaint isn’t that he’s not getting offered any parts; it’s that the limited parts that he is getting are all stereotypes which may be quite offensive, like terrorists and such like.

    I just remember in the bad old days in my country (Ireland), most Irish actors weren’t clamouring to play terrorists because it was a highly political issue and they didn’t want to be associated with terrorism. It’s not to say that they didn’t – e.g. Stephen Rea in The Crying Game – but it had to be a pretty decent project.

  76. Liana says:

    Point the anger where it belongs: at the industry. It has taught you to believe that the only viable entertainments are the ones that are wholly enveloped in whiteness. That’s hugely insulting, to think that if the demographics shifted, white audiences would spontaneously combust on the spot because *bless their hearts* they just can’t handle anything else. What they’re saying is that you’re stupid and bigoted and THAT is so narrow-minded and condescending that it hurts everyone.
    _________________

    *APPLAUDS*

    Jo – Have I told you today that I love you?

  77. Shawna says:

    Patel made his critique with dignity, subtlety, and generosity. I hope Hollywood listens carefully. After watching Slumdog, I’m not entirely sure he has the talent to do anything other than look quietly sad and shocked…but I sure want to give him the chance. He’s cute enough to keep my attention!

  78. real says:

    ….”Why is it minorities have to be prominent in majority white countries, no one calling Bollywood racists because they don’t have any famous non Indian celebrities, give me a break, Every nation with majorities of one race or another have their race dominated in their culture…. whites are barely 15% of the worlds population, but we are expected to keep giving up our countries to minorities because they want to live in it while their mother countries are all xenophobes and only their religion and race are allowed to dominate , we’re being conned giving up our children birth rights.”….
    @ sam – do you know how moronic you sound, first of all its not “your” country it belongs to everyone regardless of race or the color of their skin of the people who reside in it and secondly you must be a native to actually claim that and did you know that natives of america are the native americans or the native indians and they are certainly not white people, the same with some other countries like australia and new zealand where the natives are the aborigines and the maori who were living in those countries before any other race solely the white people arrived there so its really stupid to claim something yours when it wasnt even yours to start with…

  79. ViktoryGin says:

    @ Jo “Mama” Besser

    As always, beautifully rendered.

    Some of the comments on this thread are seriously disappointing. While I don’t expect for everyone to concern themselves with non-whites and their attendant issues, the dismissiveness on the part of some of you is just downright insulting. Of course, racism in Hollywood goes without saying, so should everyone just STFU and get along? I really wish that there were a way that we could discuss this very real and present issue that wasn’t steeped in apathy and sometimes hostility.

  80. Rosa says:

    I agree that Hollywood must be somewhat inherently racist, but come on… many Hollywood films are set to take place in America. The most prominent races in America are whites, blacks, and Hispanics. And east Asians if you live in a coastal city. I have nothing against Indians but the only places I encounter them are at university or Indian restaurants (and I DO have close Indian friends), and Indians are often inclusive in their social circles. So what is the likelihood of him realistically being the leading man in an action film or the lead in a mixed-race romance, etc.?

    And since he IS British, why doesn’t he try to do more British film work? I can’t speak for any potential British film racism, but I would imagine a greater variety of available roles would be more believable for him there, considering the more localized Indian population.

    I also have to agree with whomever said he doesn’t quite have “it.” He’s cute, but eh. I don’t think he really has the charisma or manliness to encompass a breadth of characters.

  81. Caro says:

    It’s interesting that there’s no “race row” when a previously white role is played by a black person. If races shouldn’t change then does that mean there shouldn’t have been any black contestants on the programme “over the rainbow” where they were looking for someone to play dorothy (The Wizard of Oz)on the west end? Of course there should have been so roles should go to the best actor regardless of race. Guess Who was a remake of Guess who’s Coming to Dinner where the roles were reversed from a black man being introduced to a white family to a white man being introduced to a black family. I don’t see a problem with that so why should anyone see a problem with casting in the last airbender? Women have a hard time getting roles in hollywood as well so i don’t think it’s limited to race.

  82. EMV says:

    He needs a new agent

  83. This is not racism. Many actors and actresses in Hollywood like Keanu Reeves, Phoebe Cates etc. have Asian origins and they are loved equally as the others.

  84. Hollywoodisajoke says:

    There is blatant racism in Hollywood… If there weren’t why would Steven Spielberg step up and complain about it? He was ashame to call those people his colleagues. I think the only two director thats not racist in Hollywood is Spielberg and Lucas. And both of them really need to help set things straight.