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How The West Was Won: Priyanka On Being Taken Seriously In Hollywood

Priyanka’s big screen debut in Hollywood was opposite Dwayne Johnson in 2017’s Baywatch.
Priyanka Chopra is having a giant Hollywood moment with a role in the fourth Matrix film, no less – but it’s been hard work getting here. When the 39-year-old actress moved to America about seven years ago, she was a big Bollywood star but not many in the West were aware of her stardom. She went for auditions and worked towards getting good roles in big movies. “When I went to the US and started working, it was very hard for people to take me seriously. It was difficult to convince people that I can play pivotal parts and lead roles. I didn’t carry my stardom that I had built in India. I walked into every room as a new actor and I demanded opportunities,” Priyanka told NDTV.
Priyanka’s breakout role was as the lead in Quantico which ran from 2015 to 2018. Her big screen debut was opposite Dwayne Johnson in the film version of Baywatch in 2017. Now, after years of work, Priyanka Chopra is as big a star internationally as she is at home. She has top brands and pivotal roles in big films, she has presented awards at the Oscars and various other global film awards. Priyanka is also a major presence at the Met Gala and other big ticket events.
All of it led to this moment – Priyanka Chopra plays Sita in the new Matrix film with original cast members Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss who reprise their roles as Neo and Trinity. The Matrix Resurrections, directed by Lana Wachowski, releases in India this Friday. “For people to develop confidence in you takes time. I have been working for almost seven years (in Hollywood). It’s very exciting to be trusted with a movie like The Matrix Resurrections,” Priyanka said.
While Priyanka Chopra may have been offered the red pill, she feels that there has been a lack of opportunities in the global entertainment industry for South Asian actors – a gap that she and other actors have only just begun filling. She names Mindy Kaling with whom she is collaborating, and the Oscar-nominated Riz Ahmed. “Few of us South Asians, like Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari, Hasan Minhaj and Riz Ahmed, where we have pushed the envelope, where the door has been kicked open and we have demanded a seat on the table,” Priyanka told NDTV.
Their work has only just begun. Asked if South Asians now have a seat on the table, Priyanka Chopra said, “No, we don’t. We have a long way to go but we have our foot in the door.”

The Matrix Resurrections cast includes Jada Pinkett Smith who played Niobe in the second and third films, Revolutions and Reloaded. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Morpheus, taking over from Laurence Fishburne who made the role iconic in the original trilogy; the role of Agent Smith, played by Hugo Weaving, has been recast with Jonathan Groff. Neil Patrick Harris is an addition to the cast, playing Neo’s therapist.
Priyanka Chopra has not entirely been claimed by Hollywood; she will also be seen in a commercial Bollywood film, Farhan Akhtar’s Jee Le Zaraa alongside Katrina Kaif and Alia Bhatt. “I have told Farhan it’s been a while since I spoke Hindi in a movie, I want to do that and I want to dance so there should be dance in the film,” she told NDTV. Jee Le Zaraa will be shot towards the end of 2022.
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