I did a look test for the film a year ago," begins Ali Fazal, when he connects with us over a phone call from London. B-Town was taken by surprise last week when it was announced that the actor has been chosen to play the parallel lead opposite Wonder Woman (2017) star Gal Gadot in Kenneth Branagh's Death On The Nile.
"It was finally earlier this year that Kenneth told me that he wanted me to be part of it. When we met for costume trials, I knew I wanted to do this film."
Branagh, who helmed The Murder On The Orient Express (2017), has put together an equally impressive cast — that includes Armie Hammer, Annette Bening and Letitia Wright — for the adaptation of the Agatha Christie book. The actor's excitement about meeting Gadot is understandable. "Gal is sensational. I am yet to meet her; she joins us next week."
With Indian actors frequently earning a place in Hollywood projects, the stereotype around them is fast fading. "The ethnicity of my character is not key to the plot here.
The guy could pass off as a man of Indian origin, but that's not instrumental to the events. The language is a challenge here, but only as much as it is in, say Mirzapur, where the diction is key to the plot. I am hell-bent on changing the clichés of what an Indian actor in the West should be like."
Crediting Victoria & Abdul (2017) for altering his career trajectory, Fazal hopes to strike the right balance between Bollywood and Hollywood commitments hereon.
"The shoot of Bhoot Police had to be shifted because of this film. Juggling projects takes a toll, but I am not complaining. [The two worlds] can co-exist. I don't have to shift to Los Angeles to be in Hollywood. I can live in India, and fly in and out for shoots. I want to create a difference [with my films]."