“I wanted to be part of that revolution,” Chopra gushed, quickly adding she had a holding deal with ABC at the time this series was pitched to her.
“And, only thing I said to ABC was I wanted to do a show which gave me the respect of being an actor, instead of casting me for the color of my skin or what I look like,” said the Miss World pageant 2000 winner, who is reported to be one of Bollywood’s best-paid movie actresses.
Quantico revolves around a group of young recruits at the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, VA (including Chopra’s Alex Parrish), one of whom is suspected of masterminding the biggest attack on New York City since 9/11. The series, debuting September 27, was created by Josh Safran and hails from ABC Studios and the Mark Gordon Co.
Chopra says she has no idea who is the terrorist in their midst. “They tell me nothing – is that how TV works? I’m used to features,” the actress vamped. “I have no idea what’s happening; the only thing they did tell me is that my name is Alex and my dad is white and my mom is Indian.”
Demonstrating how quickly she is learning the ropes, Chopra began to name-drop: “I was doing master class with Kevin Spacey a couple of years ago, and remember asking him – he’s one of those actors who has done TV, movies and theater – and I asked him what he finds more fascinating. And he said ‘television’,” she marveled, when she thought he’d say “theater” because of the whole live-audience thing.
“I just don’t know what Frank Underwood would do,” she says he said, explaining he gets scripts just a day or two before shooting which “keeps you on your toes.” At that time, I didn’t even have this deal with ABC,” she marveled, saying Spacey’s words “keep coming back to me” and that it’s “frighteningly exciting as an actor.”
Chopra says she’s a binge watcher of American television and, what are the odds, almost all her faves are ABC shows she said ticking off Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Revenge, Castle. She revealed she consumes American TV voraciously while waiting to shoot her scenes on the many Indian films in which she has starred, and during hair and makeup on this TV, because she has no patience for hair and makeup, she explained, Eve Harrington-ly.
In the course of the pilot, viewers learn that almost all of the impossibly beautiful batch of FBI recruits harbor some deep dark, potentially dangerous secret. One journalist wondered if an ever-present FBI could miss so much in vetting recruits and didn’t that plot point stretch the show’s “believability index” to the breaking point.
Safran reminded the FBI has a history of “hidden spies.”
Chopra, who just finished telling us the producers don’t tell her anything, jumped in to inform attendees they may think the FBI doesn’t know about the recruits’ dark secrets “but they do,” and the audience will find this out as they go along in the run of the series.
Mark Gordon stepped in just in time to say “the great thing about most entertainment is it’s heightened reality” but, he conceded, it’s a “fair question. “Obviously this isn’t a documentary about the inner workings of the FBI. He quoted one of his teachers in film school (not Kevin Spacey) “who had this great quote, which is, ‘Real life is no excuse for bad drama’.” What makes the show fun is it’s just this side of ‘not real’ which is what everyone wants to see.”