It’s a sizzling summer time afternoon in Mumbai and an extended day of press for Priyanka Chopra Jonas. The actress was welcomed again house in India with a lot fanfare, together with her musician husband Nick Jonas and daughter Malti Marie Chopra Jonas in tow. “It’s so unusual when somebody says, ‘Welcome Dwelling’ right here,” she muses as I ask her what it’s like being again within the metropolis. The actress is as chirpy as ever, keen to speak about every part she has been as much as. And she or he has been as much as so much. She featured within the Oscar-nominated The White Tiger and Keanu Reeves-led The Matrix: Resurrections in the identical yr; she wrote a sprawling memoir; opened a restaurant in New York; welcomed her first youngster through surrogacy. And now, she’s headlining a big-budget spy thriller sequence, Citadel. The Russo Brothers-backed present sees her carry out mind-boggling stunts in high-octane motion sequences alongside Richard Madden. The Hollywood manufacturing has worldwide instalments, together with an Indian model. In a microcosm, it’s telling of Priyanka’s world stardom. Sure, she is an Indian. However she’s not simply the token Indian forged member. She’s made certain of that. And when the desi woman talks about it, eyes glowing with conviction, it’s unattainable to look away.
What went into creating that crackling chemistry with Richard Madden in Citadel?
It’s a superb factor Richard and I get alongside, to start with. That actually went a good distance. We each care deeply in regards to the present, so we each got here into the shoot with loads of preparation. I’m a prep-oriented woman. I do loads of homework earlier than I get right into a present. So I’ll ask 1,000,000 questions. I actually need to learn about my character. I take into consideration what I’m doing, and I’m very intentional about it. Once we have been doing these desk readings and I realised that he’s additionally an actor who did his preparation and cared, it clicked. He didn’t come out and simply did his traces. That’s once I knew that we might care for one another. We had one another’s backs. That helped so much.
The present unleashes a barrage of motion. What goes into all these stunts?
I’m somebody who has been doing motion for a really very long time. I’ve executed varied function movies and TV reveals. So I belief my physique. It’s one thing that I do know to do now. However I needed to have the ability to elevate what I accomplish that that it’s totally different from what folks have seen me doing. And dealing with the Russo Brothers gave me that chance as a result of they’re unbelievable at it. They’ve clearly executed Marvel motion pictures like Extraction and The Gray Man, the place they do these slick, cool motion sequences. So I actually leaned on them for stunts.
Talking of the Russo Brothers, are there any superheroes you need to play?
I don’t know. I really feel like the best way we have now our Bollywood blockbuster motion pictures, the People have superheroes. Humari masala motion pictures, unki superhero motion pictures hain. So certain, now that I’m working in Hollywood, I need to be part of a film universe. It could be cool if I bought the chance to do this. However I additionally bought the chance to create my very own multiverse with Citadel, which goes to be actually worldwide and numerous as a result of we’re going to go to so many alternative nations with it. We now have the Indian instalment and the Italian instalment. And we have now the flexibility to take action rather more. All these tales are going to be related. It’s cool. I’m not somebody who covets a lot. I don’t suppose that I would like that particular character. I’m not a coveter. I search for alternatives and I search out what I get. I’ll take advantage of it.
Since your transfer to Hollywood, how numerous has the trade turn into?
They should do much more. If you consider main girls, what number of Indian main roles have you ever seen? There are so few we have now seen coming into Hollywood. Within the final 5 years, there was an enormous demand from actors who say, “I don’t need to be a sidekick anymore.” I do know I did. I didn’t need to be one of many checks within the field that claims we’ve made our forged numerous—that we have now an Indian, an Asian, and so forth. I didn’t need to have that. And I do know loads of my colleagues don’t need to do this. So I’ve taken many conferences the place I’ve clearly instructed producers, “Don’t put me in stereotypical components.” I don’t need to do it. I’m going to work exhausting for you as a result of I do know my rattling job. I’ll come onto the set and do 10 p.c greater than what you requested for, or possibly even 20 p.c. I shall be higher than anybody you’ve forged as a result of I’m not afraid of working exhausting. It requires promoting your self. And I hope that possibly by seeing me and different feminine South Asian abilities on the forefront, for instance, Simone Ashley in Bridgerton, Mindy Kaling in The Mindy Venture and every part else she’s doing, or Deepika Padukone, by seeing much more of us, Hollywood will get used to the truth that that is regular. It isn’t particular or uncommon. I’m hoping that’s what the subsequent era of actresses inherits from my era of actresses.
What are a few of the joys and challenges connected to representing India on a world scale?
I first represented India once I was 17 years previous, once I went to Miss World. It was a terrifying feeling at the moment, as a result of what? I’m representing a nation of a billion folks. That’s loopy! At the moment, I didn’t perceive the gravity of the scenario. However as my profession progressed slowly, I began understanding that what I began with had turn into a lot larger than me. It’s not simply, “Priyanka Chopra is an actress who does motion pictures,” it’s turn into bigger. All of that isn’t misplaced on me. It’s made me cautious in regards to the selections I make. I’ve made deliberate selections and techniques. Just like the Pre-Oscars South Asian Excellence Get together was a deliberate transfer to indicate Hollywood that we have now energy in numbers. We aren’t simply two or three individuals who you see on posters. We’re filmmakers and writers. We come from one of many largest movie industries on the earth and we have now the aptitude of standing toe to toe with any worldwide filmmaker. So I’m attempting to be sure that I take that accountability severely. However on the identical time, I’m nonetheless a lady who’s an actor who’s attempting to construct a profession for myself.
Between one thing like Citadel and Love Once more, what’s your means of embodying these wildly totally different characters?
I search totally different roles and I’ve at all times sought totally different roles. In case you take a look at my filmography – I did an Aitraaz, then I did a Vogue and a Barfi! I at all times search for these characters as a result of I don’t need to play myself. I need to be an actor who’s instructed that “Oh my gosh! You’ve gotten a wild filmography”. I had the superb likelihood to do this in India. I haven’t but executed that in Hollywood and that’s one thing I’m seeking to do within the subsequent decade of my life. It’s on the lookout for a significant selection. I’m glad you introduced up Love Once more as a result of that movie is in a very totally different path than Citadel. Meera, my character, is totally different from Nadia. That was intentional. It offers me the vary and talent to make myself nervous and excited and construct on these attention-grabbing characters.
In case you might give one word to your previous self, what wouldn’t it be?
I’d say relax. It’s not that unhealthy. I used to take the smallest issues very severely. I’m a Cancerian and I’m delicate so I’d go into my shell. I used to get harm emotionally. It made it exhausting for me to rise up and go to work as a result of I used to really feel such a burden after any failure or any misplaced alternative. Particularly, in my early 20s once I was first beginning out within the movie trade. I didn’t know anybody. I used to be a scared woman who got here in and labored with a few of the greatest stars, who I grew up watching on TV. However I believe that the one word I’d give that woman is that you just’re going to be okay. Smile slightly extra and benefit from the course of.