Almost every Asian or Middle Eastern actor – from Priyanka Chopra to Kunal Nayyar, might have an incident to share regarding auditioning for roles that involved some kind of awful stereotype, courtesy of their heritage.
In more recent years, actors have felt more empowered to openly discuss the horribly demeaning roles they’ve been sent to audition for. Previously, the Quantico star too, revealed her encounters with racism.
Indian-American actor Kal Penn took to Twitter to share some of the blatantly racist audition scripts he had been given at the beginning of his career.
The actor who is currently on Designated Survivor, posted photos of old scripts for auditions he has done and roles he has taken, giving us a very blunt sight into exactly how Hollywood has portrayed people of Asian descent.
In a series of tweets, the actor posted: “Found a bunch of old scripts from some of my first years trying to be an actor.”
When they wanted someone like Apu: “Jeez I remember this one! They were awful. “Can you make his accent a little more AUTHENTIC?” That usually meant they wanted Apu”
When he was asked to speak with an accent, yet again. “This was a pilot called The Stones. Tried to convince them to let me speak without an accent & make it funny on the merits (was told no)”
Because, foreign means Asian. Always. “Ha! In this audition for Smart Guy, they didn’t even give the character a name!”
But they did. And it was quite a mouthful. “Oh wait yes they did.”
In another one, he wrote: “Friggin King of Queens man! I used to love that show until I got to audition for it lol.”
Again, with the accent. “I do not remember this audition except that it was for some shitty MTV show and the big joke was an accent and too much cologne.”
And another one: “Whoa I remember this! This was one of my first commercials. The makeup people would use Vaseline to get the sweaty unwashed look going.”
To conclude, he wrote, “There are too many in this stack to tweet, I’ll be here all day. That said, there were also some wonderful 1st audition & work experiences!”
Apart from Penn, the People’s Choice Award winner, Priyanka, previously shared her incident when she was called an “Arab terrorist.”
“I’m not even Indian-American, I’m Indian-Indian. Everybody expected me to have henna and a nose pin and talk in an accent like Apu from The Simpsons,” Priyanka said in an in-depth interview with The Guardian.
When her song In My City was used as the theme for Thursday Night Football in 2013, NFL fans were enraged and emailed the league asking, “Who is this Arab terrorist?”
“I find it really funny that people have such primitive thinking,” Chopra noted. “I called them out. I said: ‘Why is every Arab person a terrorist, and why am I an Arab terrorist just because I am brown?’”
Penn starred in the famous show, How I Met your Mother.
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