Why Maitreyi Ramakrishnan Would Say No to Playing Marvel's Kamala Khan (Exclusive)
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan takes accurate representation seriously. It's why the newcomer hopes her starring role on Netflix's Never Have I Ever will help pave the way for other South Asian girls. It's also why she told ET she would say no if Marvel Studios approached her about playing its first Muslim superhero.
Marvel announced a Ms. Marvel series is coming to Disney+ and will introduce a live-action Kamala Khan, the Jersey City teen, Captain Marvel superfan and polymorph capable of changing size and shape. Mindy Kaling, who is behind Never Have I Ever, expressed interest in the project, prompting fans to dream cast Ramakrishnan in the role.
"I've seen a couple posts about that, but honestly, no," she tells ET's Melicia Johnson."Kamala Khan is Pakistani and I'm Tamil. If there was a Tamil superhero, I wouldn't want to see a Pakistani girl playing [her]. I would say, 'Really? You couldn't find anybody who was Tamil?' So why would I want to do that to the Pakistani community? That wouldn't be fair."
That said, Marvel brass should still put in a call to her agents. "Trust me, I'd love to be a superhero. I love Marvel so much," Ramakrishnan adds. And why should Kamala Khan be her only option?
"I could be the daughter of Deadpool or apprentice or something!" she says. "Maybe Deadpool adopts a South Asian girl. It would make sense -- Ryan Reynolds and I would both make the Canadian jokes."
Guys. An idea. A Disney princess that’s actually south asian without stereotypes and a predictable plot line. She’s hella street smart, sarcastic and super bad ass. @DisneyAnimation your move. pic.twitter.com/2iRAlope9h— Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (@ramakrishnannn) April 15, 2020
It's not the first role Ramakrishnan has pitched for herself -- or another South Asian actor, she'd be happy no matter who books it. A week before Never Have I Ever premiered, she tweeted at Disney Animation with a very specific request.
"Guys. An idea. A Disney princess that’s actually South Asian without stereotypes and a predictable plot line. She’s hella street smart, sarcastic and super bad ass," the tweet read. "I’m bringing this back up when I get more clout. This is happening."
"That came from a conversation with me and one of my friends who's Disney-obsessed," Ramakrishnan explains. "She's white and was like, ''Honestly, why do I get so many princesses? You get like, none.' 'Cause Jasmine is Middle Eastern but she's not. She's not from a real place. But it's also based off a real story. We don't have proper, solidified representation."
The clout has officially been secured, so it will happen -- because Ramakrishnan is going to make sure it does.
Never Have I Ever is now streaming on Netflix.
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