Kal Penn is opening up about his experiences with what he deemed offensive typecasting in Hollywood -- and he's using Twitter to do it
Kal Penn is opening up about his experiences with what he deemed offensive typecasting in Hollywood — and he’s using Twitter to do it.
The 39-year-old actor shared a slew of photos of old audition scripts for shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Smart Guy and King of Queens to highlight his experience with stereotypes in the industry.
“Jeez I remember this one! They were awful. ‘Can you make his accent a little more AUTHENTIC?’ That usually meant they wanted Apu,” Penn wrote alongside one script, as he referenced the name of a fictional Indian-American character on The Simpsons.
He shared a photo from what he said was a script for King of Queens, in which his character was named Sanjib.
“Friggin King of Queens man! I used to love that show until I got to audition for it lol,” Penn tweeted.
Other scripts labeled Penn’s character “SNAKE CHARMERS” and “GANDHI LOOKALIKE.”
“Sabrina the Teenage Witch! Man,” he continued in a follow-up post. “We got INTO it about why he had to have an accent. I’m laughing about it now but they were such dicks.”
He recalled an audition for a commercial in which makeup artists smeared Vaseline on his face to give Penn a “sweaty unwashed look.”
In one script, which Penn said was for an episode of Smart Guy, a character refused to write out the Indian character’s full name, opting for a simple nickname. In a supposed script for King of Queens, one character repeatedly mispronounced Penn’s character, Sanjib’s, name, calling him “Sinbad” and “Sanjob.”
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After tweeting photos of several scripts, Penn wrote, “There are too many in this stack to tweet, I’ll be here all day. That said, there were also some wonderful 1st audition & work experiences!”
He praised writers behind sitcoms like The Steve Harvey Show, Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the “creative people who didn’t have to use external things to mask subpar writing.”