After wrapping “Marigold Hotel,” he leafed through Sorkin’s script and considered a seemingly small part as an aspiring journalist initially mistaken to be an IT guy. Racial casting is a double-edged sword, Patel said: He may be recruited to fill an “Indian actor” role, but he uses the platform to present a complicated, multifaceted, expectation-bending character to the world.
“Me being who I am, I automatically get pigeonholed into some things,” he said. “I do try to look for roles I can mold and change, and writers and filmmakers who aren’t close-minded.”
Patel’s character in “Newsroom” slowly develops throughout the first season and is expected to blossom beyond “a nerdy blogger type” in the next.
“In one part, there’s a shot of Neal rolling around in bed with a girl and he has to stop and grab his phone when news breaks,” Patel said. “Of all the good-looking men on the show, [Sorkin] wanted me topless in the bed.”
Not that “Newsroom” is full of hunks, of course — but modesty and self-deprecating humor just add to Patel’s mass appeal.