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Priyanka was spotted filming Quantico today and I uploaded 35 HQ pictures to the gallery. Warning: they contain spoilers so don’t view them if you wish to remain spoiler free!

The trainees are put through a training drill that tests their stress levels while Alex tries to gather information and get close to Owen. Meanwhile, in the future, the terrorist organization demands a trade, a move that could possibly end the stand-off, on “Quantico,” airing SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network.

On the Quantico set in Queens, New York, there are a few of those director chairs — the ones with the characters’ names. In front of one for Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) and next to one for Owen Hall (Blair Underwood) there’s a chair for Dayana Mampasi, the seat Pearl Thusi took up when she landed the role of the driven lawyer in the second season of the hit FBI drama.

In joining the cast of a major United States TV series, the South African actress is pulling up to the mainstream entertainment industry.

Thusi has been in New York City for three months, filming the show. “I miss my daughter, I miss my friends, I miss the little luxuries of life that I’m used to back home,” she says, sitting inside Silver Cup Studios, where Sex and the City and The Sopranos were filmed, and where HBO’s Girls still shoots.

She may rattle off the things she misses about not being in Jo’burg, but Thusi is more than thrilled to be in NYC, a place she came to a year and a half ago to interview Mariah Carey while working as a TV presenter and didn’t want to leave.

“The energy, the vibrancy,” she says. “I constantly have the song Empire State of Mind playing in my head,” she enthuses.

Being here is an opportunity she’s not taking lightly. “I know that not only actors in South Africa, but actors around the world, including America, would kill for this, so I’m very blessed,” she says.

Landing a role on a primetime show on a network station in the US is a coveted gig. That the show airs in more than 200 territories and is dubbed into 56 languages makes it even more so.

Thusi’s character, Dayana, is a Zimbabwean lawyer who graduated top of her class at Harvard and worked at a nongovernmental organisation for two years before joining her parents’ Boston firm. Although she seems to have it all, Dayana struggles to fit in.

“To pretend I’ve been recruited by the CIA — as a South African I never thought I’d be in that type of story,” exclaims Thusi.

The first episode offered only a tiny hint of what’s to come for her character. Dayana is one of a handful of new roles in the second season of Quantico, adding more diversity to what was already quite an inclusive cast, led by India’s Priyanka Chopra. Born in Mumbai, the former Miss World says she and Thusi have bonded over Indian movies, many of which were shot in South Africa.

“Pearl knew so much about my movies and my work, especially since she grew up in Durban. I’ve made many movies there, and in Jo’burg and Cape Town, too,” says Chopra.

Aside from discussing the meanings behind Bollywood songs from Thusi’s childhood in KwaNdengezi in KwaZulu-Natal, the two have “spent evenings talking about what it’s like to be two girls coming from completely different countries living in America”, says Chopra.

Thusi adds: “She’s in the same situation as I am, obviously on different scales, but the principle of it is quite similar.”

It’s an experience not lost on the show’s other actresses: Palestinian-Egyptian Yasmine al Massri, who plays twins Nimah and Raina Amin, and British-Nigerian Tracy Ifeachor, who’s come on board as Lydia Bates.

Thusi says she hasn’t experienced this kind of diversity on a set before. Having been in a number of German and US productions in South Africa, she says there were usually two or three nationalities on set.

“So to be working with a Mexican-American, two British, one British-Nigerian and then there’s Jake [McLaughlin] from one part of America and then you have someone else from another part of America — that concoction is very exciting to me. I’m learning so much.”

And they’re learning from her: “There’s this intense sense of pride, I need to represent not just the country, but the whole continent right now. I spoke to Josh [Safran, the director and creator] and said, ‘This isn’t just another job for me.’ This is me saying, ‘This is what’s available in my country and my continent, and I have to do well enough here to make sure that they’re given confidence in creating opportunities for others too, because the value I provide here is the type of value people will think is in Africa.

“And then to have all these ethnicities here and me to be a part of just one big part of that is a really big responsibility that I don’t take lightly.”

Massri, who plays twin veiled Muslim sisters, echoes this. “I get one shot to show two women from this part of the world, a world [North] Americans usually only see in one way. If we thought we were the United Nations of TV shows in the first season, we’re even more so now. I’m not the only one who has an accent on the show.”

She says it’s part of a greater change. “Maybe we are the beginning of a revolution that will inspire a real change in the American way of writing and narrating a story.”

If it’s a revolution in seeing and accepting that is taking place, Chopra leads by example, through the responsibility she’s taken on as a lead. “Before this, people saw me as an Indian film actor, now they see me as a global film actor.

“But I think the bigger picture is that it’s given representation to Indian people and people from Southeast Asia and minorities on a greater scale. To say that we can play lead parts on a major network, which is mainstream TV or films, and be able to pull it off. Global entertainment needs to be represented like that, because if you look around you don’t see people who look and speak like you or have the same ethnicity.”

Chopra says the background of the cast has influenced the show’s stories. “They incorporate all our cultures. It started with me initially. Alex was not supposed to be Indian, she was meant to be American, and then I was cast and they started using my ethnicity, from my own bracelet to the fact that Alex has a little prayer shrine in her house, and went backpacking in India and Pakistan.

“They’ve taken my ethnicity and added the story, even with Yasmine and her story and the situation in Israel and Palestine. They take everyone’s stories and make them a part of their characters, and this makes them holistic.”

It’s this approach that’s part of the show’s success.

It also makes the show timely and necessary, in light of the much-needed introspection the industry has been undergoing.

“That’s the point,” says Chopra. “Entertainment should be about the best person for the job. Characters should be written not for what people look like, but for who they are.”

As she puts it, her background shouldn’t be a crutch. “It can be an asset,” she says. “Like Pearl being from South Africa. It’s an asset, her accent and what she brings to it. But her story is not defined by it. And that’s where entertainment needs to go, especially in this time where we’re debating casting people of colour.

“So to even the playing field, if you’re great for the part you should be cast for it.”

It goes even further, as Massri sees it. “We’re validating the humanity of the character,” she says. “We’re telling the world, ‘Here is Pearl, she’s from South Africa, here is Priyanka, from India.’ We’re bringing people from all around the world and representing their culture, where they come from.”

The way she and the cast see it, no other TV show has done what Quantico is doing, and it’s paving the way for others to follow suit.


In a blink-and-you-missed-it moment on Quantico’s Season 2 premiere, Alex (Priyanka Chopra) found her new CIA roommate, Dayana Mampasi (Pearl Thusi), in bed, with her back toward her, quietly crying.

We’ll learn a lot more about Dayana on Sunday’s episode. For starters, she’s a Harvard-educated lawyer for an NGO who was recruited by the CIA. She also can’t tear her ear away from her phone and becomes incredibly distracted while the class runs a counter-surveillance drill. (That surely won’t bode well for her Murder Board ranking.)

Who could she possibly be talking to that’s more important than the CIA?


Indian actress Priyanka Chopra is having a great time working with Blair Underwood and Aunjanue Ellis in Season 2 of American TV series “Quantico”. She says she feels blessed to share screen space with them.

Underwood, a Golden Globe-award winning actor, joined the series as a regular in the role of an inspirational and intelligent CIA agent named Owen Hall, who is also a teacher at the CIA. And Ellis plays role of Miranda Shaw, Assistant Director at the FBI Academy in “Quantico”.

“The best thing about working with Blair Underwood is the fact that he knows all his lines, all the time. He has lines, he has like pages and pages of lines because he plays our teacher this year so he has so much to say but he is so professional,” Priyanka said in a statement.

Priyanka, who was seen essaying an FBI agent named Alex Parrish in the first season of the American drama series, is now portraying a CIA agent in its second season, which airs in India on Star World and Star World HD.

The actress added: “What a great actor. It’s extremely amazing to be on set and watch him. I love watching him, him and Aunjanue are two people I watch when they perform. As an actor for me, they’re institutions of what they do to a scene and I am so blessed to be working with both of them on the show.”

Priyanka opened up about her co-stars in a special video to Star World.


Quantico is finally back with the season 2 premiere! I added screen captures from tonight’s episode at the link below.

Last night, ABC’s political thriller Quantico entered its second season, with Indian actor Priyanka Chopra resuming her role as Alex Parrish, an FBI operative framed for a terrorist attack. Alex is an ass-kicking heroine in every sense of the phrase: she is blisteringly smart, physically adroit, and committed to serving her country by all means possible. In playing Alex, Chopra herself is something of a powerhouse: She is the first Indian woman to lead a primetime network show in the U.S.—a fact she brushes off as another reality of the job, which in recent years has taken a turn toward the stratosphere. In India—where she still regularly works—she is a singer, and a fixture of Bollywood. Next year, she will be seen around the world in Seth Gordon’s highly anticipated Baywatch remake alongside Zac Efron and the Rock.

In Baywatch, Chopra will play Victoria, the film’s villain. Alex and Victoria could not be more different: While one is driven only to do good, the other is driven only by evil. This, Chopra tells us, is precisely why she sought the challenge: One role informs the other, and both become stronger.

We recently spoke with Chopra, just as she was wrapping a full day on set for Quantico (they still have many episodes left to film). Remarkably, she was able to leave the head of Alex and speak eloquently as herself.

MATT MULLEN: I understand you’ve been on set all day. How is production going?
PRIYANKA CHOPRA: It’s a lot of work; it’s a lot of long hours. We’re filming 22 episodes. So the body starts creaking after awhile.

MULLEN: Alex is also such a physical role. I imagine there’s a physical toll you experience.
CHOPRA: Yes. And also because I work weekends as well—because I have photo shoots or commercials that I do, or things in India. It’s usually a seven-day week for me. So physically it does get exhausting.

MULLEN: How do you balance it all?
CHOPRA: I’m a tough girl, I know what my job entails—it entails a lot more than standing in front of the camera. So I get it. I won’t deny the physicality of it is exhausting, and sometimes my body just can’t keep up. But it is ultimately about mind over matter. I learned very early in my career that when I don’t arrive on set, production will shut down, which means people won’t get paid; there’s that much responsibility. So I learned that whatever it is, you have to show up for the job, and power through.

MULLEN: Congrats on Season Two of Quantico premiering.
CHOPRA: Thanks, I’m excited.

MULLEN: How does it feel this time around? By that I mean, there wasn’t as much built-in hype around Season One. Now that there’s this huge fan base—does it ever feel nerve-wracking? Like you have to live up to people’s expectations?
CHOPRA: It feels better, actually, because there’s a certain loyalty that the show has, and a fan-base that the show has, and this year the show is better than last year, if I may say so myself. So I’m very confident about it. I think it will be a really good show, and I think people who have invested themselves into my character are going to be very happy with what they get to see.

MULLEN: You’re the first Indian woman to lead a primetime network show. And Alex is held up to be this feminist icon—does that ever feel like a lot of pressure?
CHOPRA: This role is exactly what I was looking for. I remember when I spoke to ABC, that’s exactly what I told them: I need to play these kind of parts. I don’t want to be a stereotype; I want a character that’s aspirational. To their credit, they made a great character on a great show. I seek out parts which are strong women. It’s not the quantity of a role; it’s the quality of a role. And I don’t ever want to do the same character twice. Variety excites me, which is a big reason why I wanted to play the villain in Baywatch, because I’m such a hero in Quantico, I needed to do something which was not similar to Alex.

MULLEN: I feel like Victoria in Baywatch is strong but in a different way.
CHOPRA: Yes, she is extremely feminine, very evil, extremely delectable, manipulative, patronizing. Which is not at all Alex. These are completely different people.

MULLEN: That must have been fun, to inhabit such a different character.
CHOPRA: It was so much fun. Seth Gordon, the director, is huge a collaborator, and same with Josh Safran, for that matter, on Quantico—I’ve been very fortunate that the people I’ve worked with have been such collaborators when it comes to my characters. It wasn’t ever difficult being Victoria, it was just creating. And the joy of creating is the truest joy. I don’t enjoy being told what to do, I’m not that kind of actor, I’m a thinking actor. I need to work with people who have the ability to do that. Both Seth and Josh really have a sense of belief in what I bring to the table. I’m very grateful that they have that in me.

MULLEN: How do you define a strong woman role? Is that’s something that’s been determined by the script, or do you give a character strength?
CHOPRA: Strength of character is already written. What we bring, as an actor, is an almost 3D-ness to it. It’s almost like a character is 2D, and then after I come in it becomes a 3D; it becomes alive. So what I bring into it is the essence of the character, and the soul of the character, how she walks and how she talks. But what she’s inherently doing needs to be written. And by strong I don’t mean ass-kicking, driving fast cars. Every character that I play, even if it’s a homemaker, there is an inherent, innate strength in her—you can find strength in every facet of a female personality. It doesn’t just come from the physical strength of a woman.

MULLEN: So in that same vein, how is Victoria strong in Baywatch?
CHOPRA: Victoria is strong because she has minions. She has people do her dirty work. She doesn’t look at how to get results, she just gets them. She doesn’t have morality. But also … it’s a comedy. [laughs]

MULLEN: Was that a fun movie to film?
CHOPRA: I was filming Quantico at the same time, so I had to go in and out. It was pretty insane. But everyone was amazing with me and my schedule. I’m so used to hopping in and out of character; even with Quantico I was filming Bajirao Mastani, so I was flying to India on the weekends. But it was so much fun to be able to create Victoria in Baywatch. It was awesome to bring that black evilness into their positive, beautiful world. [laughs]


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