Dev Patel Opens Up About 'One of the Worst Movies' He's Ever Done: 'I Didn't Really Flourish'

"I shouldn't even bring it up," Dev Patel said without directly naming The Last Airbender while also admitting he "didn't feel worthy" of his 2017 Oscar nomination for Lion

Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Dev Patel may be an Oscar-nominated leading man, but even he admits to the occasional bout of imposter syndrome.

The Green Knight actor, 31, recently told The New York Times that he's frustrated his agents in the past as he's been known to turn down major blockbusters. "Maybe it's a fear of how I would fit into that world," Patel said, referencing "one of the worst movies I've ever done."

"I shouldn't even bring it up, but do a quick IMDb search and you'll know what it is," Patel offered, instead of naming the film, which The Times surmised was 2010's The Last Airbender. The movie earned five Razzies, including worst picture (plus a worst supporting actor nomination for Patel).

He played Prince Zuko in M. Night Shyamalan's live-action feature adaptation of the Nickelodeon animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Patel said he succumbed to the pressure of working with green screens and special effects. "I didn't really flourish in that position," he explained. "I take my hat off to all those incredible actors that do Marvel movies where it's, like, big, noisy fans and green screen and tennis balls and whatnot."

Dev Patel in The Last Airbender
Zade Rosenthal/Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection

The British actor added that he "didn't feel worthy" of his 2017 Academy Award nomination for his performance in Lion, which also earned him a nod at the Golden Globes.

"That kind of speaks to my natural low self-esteem: You're there with really impressive creatures, the best of the best, and you're like, 'I don't know what I have to offer in this space,'" Patel said of his Best Supporting Actor nod.

He played Saroo Brierley in Lion, based on Brierley's autobiography A Long Way Home, which told the amazing true story about how he miraculously reunited with his biological mother, thanks to Google Earth, 25 years after being separated from his family. Patel starred alongside Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara.

LION, Dev Patel, 2016. ph: Mark Rogers. ©The Weinstein Company/courtesy Everett Collection
The Weinstein Company/Everett

Patel previously opened up to PEOPLE about his first Academy Award nomination. "The fact that our little movie, that we shot in the middle of nowhere, has made it to the Oscar stage is reason enough for us to be really happy," he said in February 2017. "This has been the most beautiful journey."

"Just to be spreading the message of love, unity, adoption, and family is something I am proud to be a part of," Patel continued. "A woman came up to me after a screening and said she had been on the fence about wanting to adopt, but after watching the film she said it gave her the courage to do so and she now felt it was her calling. The film is changing lives."

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The Slumdog Millionaire star admitted at the time that he has trouble taking compliments. "Whenever someone gives me a compliment about how I look, I start to malfunction," he shared.

Patel can currently be seen in A24's The Green Knight, which premiered in theaters Friday.

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