Hollywood is fighting back Trump: Karan Soni
These days it is believed that Hollywood is being more inclusive by casting actors from different cultures in roles that are not stereotypical of their backgrounds. However, American actor of Indian origin, Karan Soni, is happy with the fame he garnered by playing an Indian cab driver in Deadpool (2016). “It’s cool — professionally because I’m in something that almost everyone in the industry has seen, and personally, as I’m recognised nearly every day,” says Soni, who will also be seen in Deadpool 2. Excerpts from an interview:
Acting was not a planned course of career as you came to the US to study business. So, when did acting become important?
I started considering it after one year of college. Although I came to study business, I took some electives and one of them was theatre. My teachers were very encouraging and they said I should keep trying [for a break]. In my junior year of college (second year), I started looking for an agent.
Are people of colour (POC) now cast in roles that are not stereotypical of their ethnicity?
Representation of not only POC but also other areas such as women is changing every day. More women are behind the camera. With every project that comes out, people are conscious of equal representation. In an almost a weird way, I feel (Donald) Trump becoming President is helping as it’s Hollywood’s way of fighting back. Because a lot of Americans are feeling that our country’s international reputation is getting demeaned.
As a brown actor in the US, which is facing a wave of division, do you see a personal responsibility to stand up and speak up, to support diversity?
I became an American citizen two years ago. I got to vote in November. America has to speak up regardless of how they feel. It’s crazy how many people didn’t get to vote in November, [so for those who can] more than anything it’s very important to vote. Hopefully in the next election, people would just go out and vote, and really participate in the democratic process.
Are the lines between mediums blurring for actors as movie stars such as Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman are now working for TV shows too?
I think it’s completely gone now. You want to be part of stuff that’s good. You want to be proud of the work that you do. Sometimes, it’s hard to make stuff that’s good because there are so many cooks in the kitchen, people trying to make money. Actors are now going to do more TV because they want to be in something that’s good.
But, do you think in the future entertainment on big screen, small screen and online platforms can coexist without compromising on quality?
Quality-wise, it’s already happening. Online content in streaming channels are — if not better — just as good. At the end of the day whatever is best quality will be watched, which I think is really cool.
Any plans of working in Bollywood?
If an offer came to me I would consider it. And if it is good I’d take it up in a heartbeat. But I’m not actively looking out for it. I’d like to work with Karan Johar, as I grew up films such as Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) and Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2011). They are some of my favourite movies. I love masala movies. Among actors, I’d like to work with Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor.
Who do you see as inspirations?
When it comes to work ethics and business, I look up to Aziz Ansari. He’s got everything together on his own terms. He does stand-up, comes out with books, and has his own show. Personally, I like all actors who are mysterious and don’t have social media. Someone like Meryl Streep because I don’t know anything about her life. But anytime I see her in a movie, I think, ‘Wow, this is what you do’. People who you are judging based on their work, and not who they are dating and other stuff. One day, I’ll have the courage to leave social media. So far I feel major FOMO (fear of missing out).
Any behind-the-scenes anecdotes you’d like to share?
Many think I’m part of the crew and not an actor. A security guard once told me, ‘This is not parking for the crew.’ I said, ‘I’m not in the crew.’ And he wouldn’t believe me.
Have you ever found similarities between your real and reel life?
Yes, so I play Anish in Room 104 (aired on Star World Premiere HD at 10pm) whose mother is not tech savvy. In real life, my mom is technically challenged. She does not text at all. She loves to call me and talk to me.
Watch Karan in Room 104 trailer:
Follow @htshowbiz for more
The author tweets @iamsusanjose
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- Actor Armie Hammer was contacted by the Cayman Islands police after they received a complaint about a video he posted on a private Instagram account. The video showed a woman posing on all-fours in a hotel room.
- The White Tiger movie review: Adarsh Gourav delivers a star-making performance in Ramin Bahrani's angry answer to Slumdog Millionaire, co-starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Rajkummar Rao.
- Actor Tom Holland spoke about the arduous audition process for Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the time he thought he'd be fired from the role.
- A life-size cutout of Ana de Armas was trashed outside Ben Affleck's house, amid reports of their breakup.
- Joe and Anthony Russo are bringing their Marvel Cinematic Universe experience to fleshing out the Extraction franchise, director Sam Hargrave has said.
- Celebrity couple Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel have welcomed their second child, a year after he publicly apologised for inappropriate behaviour amid cheating rumours.
- Priyanka Chopra has shared Jungle Mantra, an original song from the White Tiger soundtrack, by Divine, featuring Vince Staples and Pusha T. Listen here.
- Actor Ray Fisher has released a lengthy statement confirming his removal from the upcoming Flash movie, amid his standoff with Warner Bros.
- Actor Armie Hammer announced that he is quitting his upcoming film, amid a scandal around messages that he allegedly sent a woman.
- Patralekhaa spotted Rajkummar Rao on a hoarding of The White Tiger in New York and shared a picture on Instagram stories. She reminisced about his incredible journey, from Gurugram to New York.