This was supposed to be the Summer of Dev Patel, with the actor starring in two of the season’s most anticipated indie films: The Personal History of David Copperfield and The Green Knight, both of which had their release dates pushed back due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, A24’s foray into medieval fantasy hasn’t been rescheduled yet, but David Copperfield is scheduled to come out this week, on August 28.
Based on Charles Dickens’ novel and not the magician, The Personal History of David Copperfield was written and directed by Armando Iannucci and stars Patel as the titular character. The Skins actor was originally confused why the Veep creator wanted him for the role — David Copperfield is typically depicted as white, and Patel is of Indian descent — and as he told IndieWire, his first question to Iannucci was, “Are you sure?”
He was sure:
“When I knew I was making the film, I could only think of Dev playing David,” he said. “I just thought, that’s how I must cast the whole film, cast who you think is the best person for that role.”
Patel hopes that Personal History leads to more colorblind casting. “There’s so much more opportunity out there, and I’m very grateful for that. I think Armando is really keeping the doors open on this, and hopefully there’s some other brave filmmakers that will follow in his footsteps,” he said. If Steve Buscemi can play a Soviet politician without using a Russian accent, Patel should be able to play whoever the heck he wants.
You can watch the The Personal History of David Copperfield trailer below.