(Exclusive) Priyanka Chopra Jonas: As South Asian actors we have to fight harder to get top roles in Hollywood | Hindi movie news
Your scenes in the film ask you to be calm while uttering heavy lines of jargon in front of Keanu Reeves. He’s an actor all ’90s kids had a crush on. Growing up, did you feel the same? How did you navigate the set in the presence of an actor like him?
All ’90s kids had a crush on Keanu Reeves! Go on. Speed, Matrix, Works. However, when I was playing the character that I play in the movie, you didn’t think about these things. I was very intimidated just to be there. I had all of my scenes in one night. All of these scenes have a lot of words and I had to say them all in one night. I had 45 minutes to say them, so I was totally focused on my job. I went there well rehearsed, but I was very nervous saying all these words in front of the whole cast and Lana (director Lana Wachowski). I was like, ‘I’ve been doing this for 21 years. I have this, and I did it. When you’re at bat in the big league, you need to pull up your socks. After I finished the film and started promoting it, I got a little dizzy! (smiles).
The internet is full of great anecdotes about the greatness of a human Keanu. Is he really the cutest guy in Hollywood?
Keanu is caring, gentle and kind. He is socially aware and has the ability to read the play. That’s what makes him kind and compassionate. He’s just very aware of everyone around him.
As an Indian actor in America you have expressed the need for representation and inclusion in Hollywood and how society has to become color blind if we are to be truly global. Have you seen a change since?
I don’t think this is correct. I think people have to be conscientious to create opportunities for people of color. As South Asian actors, we certainly don’t have enough opportunities in Hollywood. We have to fight a lot harder to get leading roles or leading roles in big commercial films. It takes a lot of work. I’ve been working in Hollywood for almost 10 years, and pretty much now I’m finally doing the job I’ve been looking forward to. It takes a lot of work to educate the world about the talent and recognition that South Asian artists deserve. We are a fifth of the world’s population, but it doesn’t show in English entertainment. Hope I can take responsibility for getting more opportunities. It took a lot of hammering to be able to create this for myself.
Something as simple as removing your last name “Jonas” from your Instagram profile has become a matter of close scrutiny. It even sparked speculation about a breakup in your marriage. Why did you drop the last name, and what did you think of the outcry that followed?
I do not know! I wanted the username to match my Twitter I guess. I find it really funny that everything becomes such a big deal for people! It’s social media, guys. Relax!