ENTERTAINMENT

Why Priyanka Chopra's Next Hollywood Move After 'Quantico' And 'Baywatch' Is A Strategic Win

In the pipeline are films with Liam Hemsworth and Jim Parsons.

31/05/2017 5:00 PM IST | Updated 31/05/2017 5:01 PM IST
Isa Foltin via Getty Images

Priyanka Chopra, who made her Hollywood debut with the widely-panned commercial disaster Baywatch, is all set to join the cast of two new international films, Variety reports.

The first one is titled A Kid Like Jake which will be directed by Silas Howard, who directed the multiple Emmy nominated Amazon trans comedy, Transparent.

Silas is himself a celebrated trans director, known to have brought the prejudices plaguing the trans community into the forefront through his work (Transparent, By Hook or By Crook).

A Kid Like Jake also veers into the same territory.

It's the story about a set of parents who have a gender-variant child. When they try to get their child admitted to pre-school, the director of the institution asks them to emphasise the child's gender non-conformity to secure a scholarship at a private facility.

If the deal goes through, Chopra will be seen alongside The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons, Claire Danes (Homeland's Carrie Mathison), and Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer. Chopra will play a single mom, a friend of Jake's parents, and someone who's trying to reclaim her own love life.

The film is based on a renowned play that goes by the same name.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters
Priyanka Chopra at this year's Met Gala.

Chopra's other film is Isn't It Romantic, one where she'll be seen opposite Australian actress Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids, Pitch Perfect) and Liam Hemsworth. The film has been produced by New Line Cinema, a Warner Bros. owned company. The film will be directed by comedian Todd Strauss-Schulson, best-known for his satire, A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas.

Both these film choices mark a significant shift in Chopra's career trajectory as unlike Quantico and Baywatch, both mainstream tentpole entertainers, A Kid Like Jake and Isn't It Romantic are relatively low-key projects.

While A Kid Like Jake is an indie that'll most likely target festival premieres, Isn't It Romantic is a satire of the rom-com genre that could allow Chopra to exploit her potential to do comic roles.

Given that Chopra has already proved her mettle in doing badass action-oriented roles and has shown a flair for comedy in Baywatch as well, these movies will give Chopra the opportunity to show that she can straddle several other genres. Baywatch may have tanked, but Chopra won a fair amount of praise for her turn as Victoria Leeds.

Chopra has already built a sizeable American audience for herself by diving straight into cable television first (ABC's Quantico). While she has a long way to go to become a household name, by appearing periodically on magazine covers and talk shows, wowing Jimmy Fallon and wooing fashion critics, she has quite consciously cultivated the identity of the cool-brown-girl who drops American pop-cultural references as easily as she croons Hindi songs.

To move to smaller, independent features is the next logical step forward, where she'll get enough room to cement her position as someone with serious acting chops, something she may not have been able to adequately explore had she joined yet another franchise or a reboot.

She's expected to shoot these two films in the three-month break she has before she goes back to filming Quantico.

Between all this, is she going to squeeze in a Bollywood film?

While sources told me that she had a meeting with Sanjay Leela Bhansali during her Mumbai trip, it's unlikely that she'll sign his next after Padmavati as the maverick Indian director typically requires bulk dates from his actors, something Chopra cannot afford at the moment.

For now, the focus is strictly on the American dream.

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