Tuesday, October 4, 2022

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Omid Djalili claims he was reduced to a cameo role in rom-com Notting Hill

Notting Hill cemented Hugh Grant’s reputation as Britain’s leading man and helped raise property prices in the once seedy corner of west London to those of Mayfair or Belgravia.

However, comedian Omid Djalili has criticized the 1999 romantic comedy, claiming that ethnic actors’ scenes were eliminated – and his own role reduced – to make them “whiter”.

Djalili, who hosted the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in May, claims he’s been reduced to little more than a cameo role after originally being given more lines.

He said: “Notting Hill, another film I was cut from because I was too tan.

“Notting Hill was a film at the time trying to show the diversity of the Notting Hill area [a] The producer says, “We want it to be whiter.” So they got rid of them all.”

In the film, written by Richard Curtis, Djalili, 56, made an uncredited cameo as the salesman who sells Will, played by Grant, the orange juice he accidentally spills on Hollywood star Anna, played by Julia Roberts.

The moment would prove to be the catalyst for the hapless Will’s unlikely romance with the American actress, who is visiting west London during filming in the UK.

“I had a few lines cut out, so it looks like I’m an extra,” says Djalili, who was born in London to Iranian parents.

‘I’ll just give Hugh Grant the orange juice. The only ethnic minority who stayed in the film was Sanjeev Bhaskar – he had a few lines. But yes, unfortunately they embellished the film.”

Speaking on the Richard Herring podcast at Leicester Square Theatre, Djalili, whose films credit him for roles in Gladiator and The Mummy, adds: “I’m not bitter about it. I’m just saying this as a fact.

After the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, he said: “I would write other films now. We all think about things in different ways.

“We have a really impatient younger generation that’s focused on things I’ve never focused on.”

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