Romani child actor from The Painted Bird rejects tv role in the Czech Republic of "bad g*psy child"
Film director Václav Marhoul, speaking in an interview for ROMEA TV, says the role recently offered in the Ordinace v růžové zahradě ("The Surgery in the Rose Garden") television series to Petr Kotlár, the Romani child actor who portrayed the main character in his most recent film, "The Painted Bird", was that of a "Bad g*psy child who bullies poor little white boys." It had been a big dream of the child actor to perform in the popular series with his favorite actor and friend, Radim Fiala.
It was thanks to Fiala that the screenwriters actually wrote a role for the young actor in one of the episodes. "It ended up being a catastrophe, because Pete was offered to play the role, if I exaggerate a bit, of a 'stinking g*psy' who bullies poor little white boys," Marhoul told the print magazine Romano voďi and reiterated in the ROMEA TV interview.
Marhoul learned of the offer from Petr's grandmother, Věra, and decided to speak with him about it. "Don't get mad, but I simply forbid you to do this. A serious film is one thing, but television, and a series like that one, is another. Hundreds of thousands of people watch Ordinace and many of them beileve the actors performing in the series are like their characters even in real life," the director described his conversation with the young actor.
"The producers want to accommodate the audience bias, people who simply see things in black and white terms, that's what it's like. Here are the 'g*psies', they are evil, and then here are the whites, they are good, and they may even have some depth of character developed, but the 'g*psy' roles, if I may say so, are always negative ones. Fortunately, Pete listened to me. He didn't have to listen to me, I'm not his Dad. He heard me, though, and he didn't take the role," Marhoul said.
In the ROMEA TV interview with Patrik Banga, Marhoul also described something that had happened to the child actor during the filming of "The Painted Bird". The two of them stopped at a gas station near Mladá Boleslav for refreshments and Petr ordered a hot chocolate.
"The lady told him: 'We don't have any'. Pete was totally confused. I got involved and I asked her: 'What do you mean, you don't have any? It's written on the sign there behind you.' She hadn't wanted to sell him any just because from her perspective, he was a 'dirty g*psy'," Marhoul recalled for ROMEA TV.
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