Proving once again that there are no original ideas in Hollywood, someone, for unknown reasons, has decided that Baywatch, the cheesy 90s TV show about LA lifeguards, needed a reboot as a movie.
This gif pretty much sums up my reaction to this news.
I’ll give you all a few minutes to wrap your head around this.
Surprisingly, several names have already attached themselves to the project. Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron are in along with Kelly Rohrbach, who will be filling Pamela Anderson’s rather busty swimsuit. Now it looks like Priyanka Chopra may be joining them, as the film’s villain. She’s currently in talks to jump on board, nothing is set in stone yet.
Someone please send her the Baywatch DVD set so she knows what she is getting into…
While last night wasn’t a stellar night for WOC at the People’s Choice Awards, there is one person we do need to congratulate, and that would be the stunning Priyanka Chopra for her win in the Best Actress in a New Show category for Quantico. She had some tough competition from some veteran actresses like Jamie Lee Curtis, Marcia Gay Harden and Lea Michele, so this is a huge win for her.
Susan Cheng over at Buzzfeed has an article up on The Winners And Losers Of Asian Representation In Hollywood In 2015.
Among the winners: Constance Wu from Fresh off the Boat, Kimiko Glenn from Orange is the New Black and Priyanka Chopra from Quantico.
I was surprised to see Into the Badlands on the Meh list. It’s one of the few shows where a minority character is the hero, but she felt it was too stereotypical of the martial arts genre to have a hero who is an “emotionless killing machine.” I think consider Sunny emotionless, but I’m not Asian either, so I’ll agree to disagree on this one.
No surprise to see blonde, blue-eyed Emma Stone’s casting as a part Chinese, part Native Hawaiian character on Fail list. I was surprised to see Chiwetel Ejiofor from The Martian on the Fail list, I was unaware the character was Venkat Kapoor in the book, not Vincent Kapoor as he is in the movie. Needless to say she was unimpressed that they swapped one minority for another. I can’t really blame her, especially since they cast a white girl to play a character of Korean descent on top of it. The movie basically had none of the Asian characters from the book. Not cool, but not a shock either.
However there is good news – the Win list is longer than the Meh and Fail lists combined. That feels like some progress has been made.
When I am watching a show that features a minority character, I often wonder how members of that minority feel as they watch the same show. Do they watch the show and think, “Wow, that’s me up there!” or do they cringe and wish the show had never seen the light of day? Is any representation good or does the type of representation matter?
Sonia Saraiya is the TV critic at Salon.com. She is also a woman who is a first generation Indian-American. So what does she think of Quantico and Priyanka Chopra’s character? Here’s the title of her piece in Salon this morning:
Priyanka Chopra’s “Quantico”: Cool, charismatic, complex Alex Parrish — the Indian-American heroine I’ve been waiting for
The new ABC show—pitched as “Homeland meets Grey’s Anatomy”—breaks new ground for Indians on American TV
Yup, she likes it. But not just because Alex Parrish is a Indian-Americna woman like her, but because the character breaks the usual mold of Indian characters she sees on TV. While she recognizes that Indians have rather easy compared to other minorities, since Indians are often portrayed as doctors or some other professional, as she says:
“…the subtext is that an Indian-American woman can be an American hero—or an American villain—just as much as the next person. We don’t have to be doctors or in arranged-marriage plots in order to see ourselves on television. “Quantico” is little more than a fantastical sandbox full of gadgets and car crashes, sure; but for once, I feel actually invited to play.”
You can read the entire article here.
Entertainment Weekly has declared that Priyanka Chopra, star of the new Quantico, the breakout star of this upcoming season. During their Q&A with her, she addressed the issue of diversity on TV. Is the US ready for for and Indian woman in the lead role?
You mentioned you wanted to break the stereotype box in this role. How do you see your casting fitting into the larger conversation about diversity on American TV?
You know, I’m very curious to find out, because there’s no reference to say if it’s going to turn out well. It hasn’t happened before. I’m really looking forward to finding out. Is America ready for it? Are we ready for it? Is India ready for it? [Pauses] Am I ready for it? [Laughs] I have no idea, but I think for me, my Indian movies have never been stepping stones. I love what I do, I’m going to divide my time between my Indian movies, whatever work I get and my show and fly across the world wherever work takes me. That’s how I’ve always treated it.
I really see this as an opportunity. When I grew up I never saw anyone looking like me on TV, you know? I’m so glad to see a lot more of us on television, whether it’s Mindy Kaling or it’s Irrfan Khan or Freida Pinto. You know, I hope, like, little girls across the world can just look at me and say, “Ah, I want to be that!” Indian or not, it shouldn’t matter. It’s really cool to see how that will open up.
Continue reading Q&A with Quantico’s Priyanka Chopra
Entertainment Weekly has named Quantico one of the best upcoming shows of the new season:
“It’s the best Shonda Rhimes drama that Shonda Rhimes never touched. Created and produced by Joshua Safran (Smash) with Mark Gordon (Grey’s Anatomy), this soapy thriller follows FBI recruits (Priyanka Chopra, Jake McLaughlin, Yasmine Al Massri, Johanna Braddy, Tate Ellington, and Graham Rogers) as they train at Virginia’s Quantico base, where they discover that they all have — whisper it with us, now — secrets. One of them ends up masterminding the biggest terrorist attack since 9/11, and Alex (Chopra) is the main suspect, though every recruit seems suspicious. Like any good Shondaland drama, the pilot features oh-my-God twists, a suspenseful cliff-hanger, and a diverse cast of attractive, hyper-ambitious characters who generate enough sexual tension at work to warrant a call to HR. Plus, as a former Miss World who breaks typecasting as an inscrutable agent, Chopra’s bound to be a breakout star.”
I’ve been looking forward to this show since I saw the trailer way back during Upfronts in May. I’ve never been exposed to Priyanka Chopra’s work before, but she immediately caught my attention with her charm and screen presence. And with Aunjanue Ellis rounding out the cast as the Director of Quantico, and what looks to be an intriguing plot, I’m so looking forward to this show.
I’ll admit that the Sunday timeslot worries me, but I’ll be crossing my fingers that the show has great premiere numbers and continues to flourish throughout the season.
Quantico premieres on ABC on Sunday, September 27th at 10 pm/EST.