What's This?Kal Penn knows what an "authentic" accent really means.
Image: kristina bumphrey/StarPix/REX/Shutterstock
Minorities in Hollywood: You've come a long way, even if it doesn't feel like it. Actor Kal Penn found some of his old audition scripts, and the snippets he shared of accented or stereotypical South Asian roles would not survive today's scrutiny. Or at least would get the social media flogging they deserve.
The entertainment industry still has a lot to fix when it comes to minority representation (ahem, Ghost in the Shell), but Penn's tweets show that things have — somewhat — improved.
Penn's thread started with a call for actors that included snake charmers, fire eaters and a "Gandhi lookalike." (At least they spelled Gandhi right?)
He recalled being repeatedly asked for accents and prompted to make them more "authentic" to meet production needs — but according to Penn, "authentic" is a code word.
A role on the short-lived Smart Guy, starring Tahj Mowry as a 10-year-old in high school, was for a foreign student whose few lines reference child labor and abduction. Oh, and he has a long, difficult name, just for laughs.
Ha, ha! Foreign names are so funny!
One commercial called for a character in a "
" for which Penn had to apply Vaseline to his face on set. And who can resist a dung reference?
Whoa I remember this! This was one of my first commercials. The makeup people would use Vaseline to get the sweaty unwashed look going pic.twitter.com/X7z4EI4drQ— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) March 14, 2017
South Asian representation has increased and improved exponentially since the scripts Penn shared, but as Aziz Ansari pointed out in the damning Master of None episode "," plenty of auditions still pigeonhole actors into stereotypical roles. Luckily, Penn's current role as White House Press Secretary Seth Wright on Designated Survivor shows quite the progression.Topics: acting, advertisements, Entertainment, Movies, kal penn, Television, Twitter, Twitter Moments, Watercooler