Thandie Newton has urged producers in her native Britain to expand their projects beyond historical dramas, because the period pieces severely limit the roles available for actors of colour.
The Crash star, who was born in London to a Zimbabwean mother and an English father, established herself in Hollywood years ago, and has continued to win critical acclaim for her work on U.S. sci-fi series Westworld, while she has also landed a part in the forthcoming Han Solo Star Wars movie.
Thandie, 44, recently returned home to appear in the upcoming fourth season of BBC crime drama Line of Duty, and while she enjoys working on British-based projects, she insists there isn’t much variety in the job offers she typically receives in the U.K.
“I love being here, but I can’t work, because I can’t do Downton Abbey, can’t be in Victoria, can’t be in Call The Midwife,” she explained to The Sunday Times Magazine. “Well, I could, but I don’t want to play someone who’s being racially abused. I’m not interested in that, don’t want to do it…
“There just seems to be a desire for stuff about the Royal Family, stuff from the past, which is understandable, but it just makes it slim pickings for people of colour.”
The actress will portray Detective Chief Inspector Roz Huntley in Line of Duty, and Thandie recently admitted she didn’t hesitate to accept the gig.
“I didn’t know anything about the role but I said I wanted to do it,” she said. “The first thing I saw was series three. I don’t watch a lot of television – because I have kids, the only thing I watch is SpongeBob or Paw Patrol!
“My agent said to me, ‘Thandie, an offer has come in and if you ever want to work in British television, this is it.’ I’ve been with my agent since I was 17 so when she said something like that, I sat up.”
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