Mumbai, May 18 (PTI) Representation and diversity in casting are part of the big conversation in America, says actor Huma Qureshi, who is making her Hollywood debut with director Zack Snyder's upcoming zombie heist thriller 'Army of the Dead'.
Qureshi believes it is important for youngsters everywhere to see themselves represented in a positive way on the screen. 'There is a lot of conversation about colour-blind casting and that is the future. I feel the volatile world we all live in, it is important that we have the correct representation of all sorts of people. There is a big conversation in America also about representation and diversity in casting,' the actor said while replying to a question about how borders and ethnicity were no longer a hindrance for actors in international cinema.
'I absolutely believe it is good for society and people. Globally, it is good for us because when young boys and girls see themselves, no matter which part of the world they are from, represented onscreen in a positive way, it enables them and affects their lives positively,' she told PTI in a Zoom interview.
Though Qureshi's character in 'Army of the Dead' is named Geeta, there are increasing instances of Indian and Indian origin actors taking up colour-blind roles, be it Priyanka Chopra's Alex Parrish in 'Quantico', Ali Fazal's part in 'Death on the Nile' or Dev Patel's central character in 'The Personal History of David Copperfield' and the role of Sir Gawain in upcoming fantasy film 'The Green Knight'.
Internationally, Netflix series 'Bridgerton' reimagines the Regency London with a colour-blind cast and actor Jodie Turner-Smith will be seen as Anne Boleyn, the influential second wife of King Henry VIII.
'Army of the Dead' marks Qureshi's foray into Hollywood but it is not her first international project as the “Gangs of Wasseypur” star has previously worked with reputed directors like Gurinder Chadha and Deepa Mehta in 'Viceroy's House' and “Leila', respectively.
“There is a lot of interest globally about India, Indian stories, folklore, films and talent. It is nice to be part of this. I am lucky to work with good directors like Gurinder Chadha, Deepa Mehta and now Zack Synder. My journey or my quest is to work with different directors, stories and landscapes and I am exploring that.' In 'Army of the Dead', the 34-year-old actor plays Geeta, a refugee single mother living outside of Las Vegas, which has been closed off due to a zombie breakout. Geeta is a go-getter, who decides to venture into the containment zone to earn enough to get her children out of the camp.
The movie is fronted by Hollywood star Dave Bautista, who with a group of mercenaries takes the ultimate gamble of venturing into a zombie outbreak zone in Las Vegas to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.
Qureshi, who came on board for the film in 2019, said when “Army of the Dead” was offered to her, she was aware that it is a big ensemble film.
“It is Dave’s story and we all have our own moments to shine. For me, it is not about the length of the role. It's always about what my character is bringing to the table. How my character is affecting the story, what I am doing in the film and how my character is taking the story forward,” she said.
The actor said she relied on Snyder's story for the most part of her character, who she believes is a survivor.
“My interpretation of it was like, whenever a natural calamity happens like zombie outrage or pandemic there are groups of people who get trapped or are the most affected. This was a refugee character and how she gets trapped in a situation.
'However, she wants to survive, she is a survivor, wants to come out, and wants to change the circumstances. And decides to take destiny in her hands.' Qureshi said it was a treat to work with Snyder, one of the most influential contemporary filmmakers in Hollywood known for spectacle films like '300', 'Man of the Steel' and 'Justice League'.
“He's always so nice and kind to his crew, cast. He will let you do your own thing. For this film, he was shooting it with a camera. I have never worked with a director who is also a director of photography.
“I remember meeting him for the first time and he was holding a camera on his shoulder and was running around. It is an incredible amount of passion this man brings to the table. It has been a very special experience of my life.' The actor said she is looking forward to the film's release on Netflix on May 21. The movie was also released in select theatres in the US on May 14.
“I can’t wait to watch the film and show it to my parents, family and friends. I am very excited,” she added.
'Army of the Dead' cast also features Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera, Garret Dillahunt, Raul Castillo, Omari Hardwick, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tig Notaro and Matthias Schweighofer. PTI KKP BK BK BK