Anybody up for a Dev Patel double feature?
Beginning this weekend, the 24-year-old actor can be seen in two very different big-screen outings: Neill Blomkamp's sci-fi tale "Chappie" and John Madden's retiree comedy "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."
In the former film, Patel plays Deon, a computer whiz in near-future Johannesburg, South Africa, who has designed a line of police robots but dreams of something bigger: a bot that can think, learn and feel. He eventually does so, but like many young parents learns that raising a kid in this messed-up world isn't easy.
Deon's creation, dubbed Chappie (Sharlto Copley), soon falls in with the wrong crowd — a trio of gangsters played by Ninja and Yo-Landi Visser (of the South African rave-rap group Die Antwoord) and Jose Pablo Cantillo. Violence and comedy ensue.
Patel, who recently described his Antwoord co-stars as "the strangest, most gangster vegans I've come across," joins an ensemble with a very different brand of charisma in "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," the follow-up to the 2012 sleeper hit about a group of aging Brits who decide to "outsource" their retirements to India.
Appearing alongside such acclaimed actors as Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Richard Gere (the latter a new addition), Patel reprises his role as Sonny, the bumbling but unflagging young hotelier. This time around, he juggles opening a second hotel and preparing for his impending wedding.
For Patel, a suburban U.K. native with Indian roots, "Chappie" and "Marigold 2" continue a run of eclectic roles. Best known for starring in Danny Boyle's Oscar winner "Slumdog Millionaire," Patel got his start on the British TV series "Skins" and has also appeared in the M. Night Shyamalan fantasy "The Last Airbender" and the Aaron Sorkin-scripted HBO series "The Newsroom."
Patel's next two films, "The Man Who Knew Infinity" and "Lion," will mark a return to drama. "Infinity," written and directed by Matt Brown, is based on the book by Robert Kanigel and stars Patel as the self-taught mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. Jeremy Irons will play his mentor, G.H. Hardy.
Director Garth Davis' "Lion" is based on Saroo Brierley's memoir "A Long Way Home," which tells the story of an Indian boy who is separated from his family at age 5 and adopted by an Australian couple before tracking down his biological mother 25 years later. Patel will play Brierley, with Nicole Kidman portraying his Australian mother.