Challenges with Working in the Industry

While NBC was casting the Nirvana pilot, Sonia said that many of the actors brought their parents and grandparents and started encouraging them to audition as well.  This was a welcome contrast to when she did casting for the Jungle Book in 1990, Sonia described getting a “dismal response”, only about 25 actors showed up.

Sonia also encouraged South Asian actors to try to change stereotypes that writers and producers might have.  She gave the example of Ajay Naidu, who almost did not accept a role in the late 1990s sitcom Lateline because he found the script riddled with stereotypes.  He eventually did take the part and worked with the writers to reshape the character.

A new hurdle that casting directors are currently facing is finding actresses who have not been to plastic surgeons or who have changed their appearance in other ways.  Giving the example of the West Wing, Sonia said it is “harder to find the Allison Janneys out there.


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