Actor Dev Patel was so determined to land a role in new movie Lion he turned up on the screenwriter's doorstep.
The Slumdog Millionaire star reveals he was moved to tears by the emotional real-life story of Saroo Brierley, an Indian boy who was separated from his family at the age of five and adopted from an orphanage by a couple in Australia. Years later, he set out to find his blood relatives using the Google Earth satellite imaging app.
Saroo's memoir, A Long Way Home, was adapted for the big screen by Luke Davies and directed by Garth Davis, and Dev admits he hounded them both to land a part in the drama, which is now garnering Oscars buzz.
"I read the script and I was in a complete puddle of tears. It's so moving," he recalled on breakfast show Today, before confessing how far he went to be cast in the film. "They hadn't even finished writing the first act, and I knocked on their door...!"
The British actor, who is of Indian descent, eventually landed the role of Saroo as an adult, and he went to great lengths to prepare for the role.
"Scripts like this don't come around that often for someone who looks like I do and to be able to play a role with so much meat on the bone, I called my manager up and said, 'The next eight months, I will commit every fiber of my being to getting this journey right,' so there was a lot of physical training," Dev shared. "I ate like a glutton, (and had) dialect coaching to get the Australian accent. I traveled on the trains (in India), wrote diaries, visited orphanages... the whole thing."
Dev and his co-stars Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman, who plays his adoptive mother, Sue Brierley, premiered the film in New York City on Wednesday night (16Nov16), and they were finally joined by their eight-year-old castmate, Sunny Pawar.
The Indian native makes his acting debut in the movie, portraying the child version of Saroo, but he was unable to attend the American Film Institute screening of Lion in Hollywood last Friday (11Nov16) due to visa issues.
Producers at The Weinstein Company appealed to officials at the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department for help, and Pawar and his father were eventually granted the required documents to travel to America.