Dev Patel was frustrated by the lack of variety in the roles he was offered following his success in the Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire.
The British actor is nominated for a Golden Globe and a Bafta for his portrayal of Saroo Brierley in new film Lion. He first rose to prominence in Danny Boyle‘s 2008 hit and has since been seen on HBO drama The Newsroom and in 2011 film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
However, after Boyle’s film, which won eight out of the 10 Academy Awards it was nominated for at the 2009 ceremony, Dev, a British-born actor of Indian heritage, has struggled to avoid being typecast.
“You can only go as far as the scripts that are landing on your agent’s desk. So I am trying to be the person who isn’t waiting for the phone to ring but can generate their own material,” he told the Radio Times Magazine. “We are getting access to more varied roles. There is still a long way to go but I am really confident in the way it’s moving right now.”
The 26-year-old Skins star, who grew up in Harrow, in north-west London, also admitted he found it challenging to get the roles he wanted after Slumdog, as casting agents assumed he was Indian.
“It’s hard when there is nothing good out there that is not your usual goofy best friend/funny sidekick/techie roles, so when a script like this (Lion) comes by, it’s very rare,” he shared.
Dev, who now lives in Los Angeles, has since worked on creating his own material, and is confident the situation is improving. In Lion he plays Saroo, an Indian child who is adopted by an Australian family after he gets separated from his family in India. By his late 20s, Saroo sets out to find his birth family relying on his faint memories and Google Earth.
“I’ve been yearning for a role like this where I can play a young, modern guy. It was such a beautiful, profound script and the fact that it is all based on a real story makes it even more incredible,” he smiled.