August 9th, 2010
03:54 PM ET
One would think in the aftermath of an Oscar-winning success like “Slumdog Millionaire,” juicy roles for the film's 20-year-old star, Dev Patel, would fall from the sky, but that hasn’t exactly been the case, he told U.K. newspaper The Daily Mail.
“Because ‘Slumdog’ was such a big hit there was a lot of pressure in terms of what I did next,” Patel said. “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.”
The actor, who still lives with his parents in suburban London and can be found riding public transit, has been holding out for roles that will highlight his versatility, even though in Hollywood those parts seem to come few and far between for Asian actors, he said.
“Asian actors tend not to be sent Hollywood scripts that are substantial or challenging,” Patel told the paper. “I'm likely to be offered the roles of a terrorist, cab driver and smart geek.” Not that he would mind playing a terrorist, he added, as long as “the part gave me something to sink my teeth into.”
But one has to remember, Patel noted, “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 [girlfriend] Freida [Pinto] have any kind of platform in Hollywood is a big step forward.”
Patel, who can now be seen playing Prince Zuko in the M. Night Shyamalan film "The Last Airbender," seems to be in the same place he was post-"Slumdog": reading scripts and trying to find a role that he can truly delve into.
"'I'm buzzing with adrenaline and raring to go, but I have to be realistic," Patel told the Mail. "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."
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