Mandeep Dhillon is one-to-watch. The hotly-tipped British-Indian actress is currently starring in Fried (BBC Three) though it’s just a matter of time before she cracks it Stateside. Having already appeared alongside Kiefer Sutherland in 24, Mandeep is currently preparing for a guest lead role in Lucky Man, written and produced by Marvel movies legend Stan Lee, and due for release on Sky and NBC.
How did you get into acting? What drew you to it?
I always enjoyed drama in school and would be in the school plays. I then started researching how to get an agent which led me to buying the contacts book from spotlight. In my first year of college I emailed so many agents and then one finally got back to me. I went to her workshops and then was signed! I then started auditioning and was lucky enough to be offered a part in ‘some dogs bite’ for BBC three. That’s how it all started.
The audition for 24 was like any other audition. I turned up put it on tape with the casting director and then a few days later got told that I had been offered the role. To be honest I had never heard of 24 before I auditioned so I wasn’t really nervous! If I had known how big it was prior to auditioning I would have been nervous and probably messed it up. I feel like every role I have been lucky enough to be cast in had led on to my next role and so forth.
How significant has your heritage been in which roles you get, and which roles you take?
To be honest it hasn’t been all that significant. Normally the roles I get that are my heritage were not originally meant to be. They have ended up changing the name for me. For example saz in Somegirls was called Sarah to begin with. Nowadays it’s getting to the point where I will go up for roles that are not my heritage and get the part and still be called that name for example – Dacia Turner in Wolfblood , or Chell in 24.
Would you be interested in working in Bollywood or in other South Asian TV and film industries?
I would never say never. I used to love Bollywood films when I was younger so if the opportunity ever came up I would most certainly consider it. I would probably need to work on the language though.
What advice would you give to other young British Asian actors?
I would advice British Asian actors to first of all believe in yourself and your ability. To try not get stuck in the stereotype of playing just Asian characters because as we all know there aren’t many roles that are written with an Asian character in mind. So break that mould get your agent to put you up for everything and eventually you won’t be known as ‘Asian actor’ just simply ‘actor’.
If you weren’t acting, what would you be doing?
Haha this is so random if I wasn’t acting I would love to be an astronaut.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans are to keep working, keep inspiring, keep creating. Most of all to carve a life-long career doing the job I love!