Since beginning his acting career back in 1998 Kal Penn, whose real name is Kalpen Suresh Modi, has appeared in no less than 30 feature films. Not only that, he also served in office for the Obama administration for the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
Not bad at all for a guy who rose to fame playing a happy-go-lucky stoner.
Kal Penn may well be a big name now, and he certainly doesn’t struggle to get roles, but back when he was starting out a lot of what he was offered was very stereotypical.
The Indian-American star, who you’ll probably know best from his role as Kumar in the Harold and Kumar movie franchise, took to Twitter to share some old scripts that he’d been asked to act.
A lot of the early parts he was offered wanted him to put on a stereotypical accent, something that Penn wasn’t too keen on.
A few of the roles were for pretty big shows. Take this one on Sabrina the Teenage Witch for instance.
… Or this one on King of Queens
Some of the parts were so one dimensional that Kal said the writers didn’t even give the characters a name.
Thankfully, Penn has managed to break free from being stereotyped and is now able to play a range of more rounded characters. However, these old scripts do show how difficult it is to make it in showbiz as an Indian-American actor, or an actor of any other ethnic minority for that matter.
Sort your shit out, Hollywood.