From doing action to being on a par with Madden in Citadel, Priyanka happy to note that makers pulled no punches when developing role of female lead
A still from Citadel
Priyanka Chopra Jonas can do everything a hero does, and better. It is, however, the lack of opportunities that separates her, and possibly other talented leading ladies, from the heroes. In a 20-year career, Chopra had to often fit into the heroine stereotype, present in the narrative to service the hero’s arc. So, when Citadel came her way as that long-awaited opportunity to break the glass ceiling, she grabbed it with both hands. “There are way less opportunities for women [to be] leading ladies who take responsibility of the situations and don’t need rescuing. Have you seen how many times I have rescued Richard [Madden’s character] in the show? That’s the point,” she asserts.
The actor is proud that a project finally puts her on par with the leading man. “Jen [Jennifer Salke, Head, Amazon Studios] and the Russo Brothers [executive producers] were clear that no excuses will be made for my character just because she is female. They said my character will do more because she is
In the Amazon Prime Video action thriller, Chopra and Madden play spy agency Citadel’s members, whose memories have been erased. Chopra counts herself lucky to have bagged the project, pointing out that only a few directors have the vision and confidence to imagine women as action heroes. “I felt such a sense of respect and shock that there wasn’t a scene where I was a damsel in distress. I have propped many heroes up to win. It was nice to be the hero this time,” she smiles.
Citadel is one of the streaming giant’s biggest series to be rolled out, with local shows under the same name being integrated from different countries. In India, director duo Raj-DK have been entrusted to develop it with Varun Dhawan and Samantha. Does the series’ enormity overwhelm her? Chopra promptly replies in the negative. “I’ve never done something as big as Citadel, but I have done big movies in India. So, that doesn’t scare or intimidate me. But what was intimidating was being able to be convincing enough that I belonged in this world. With every new project, I go in feeling, ‘How can I make my character more convincing?’”