Chris Kattan goes Bollywood

 

“I really don’t think I could ever be a leading man,” he said. “And I’m O.K. with that. But I don’t want to be Mango either. Somebody at ‘SNL,’ a very successful writer, once said to me, ‘Kattan, stick to characters that don’t talk.’ That hurt. And I think other people thought the same thing. So letting myself try something like this was important.”

Chris Kattan, who became famous by acting like a monkey and vigorously bobbing his head on “Saturday Night Live,” is trying, really hard, not to come off as some sort of Hollywood cliché: the desperate-for-attention actor who spends time in India and comes back transformed.

He knows that to claim such things would invite skepticism from people who know him and derision from people who don’t. Before he went to Mumbai last February to film “Bollywood Hero,” a three-part mini-series that has its premiere Thursday at 10 p.m. on IFC, he bristled at suggestions that the 10-week shoot would affect him in any profound way. “I’m fine with the life I have,” he would say.

But he wasn’t. At least not in the professional sense. Grateful as he was for the attention (and money) that had come from “Saturday Night Live,” which he left six years ago, and the lowbrow film comedies that followed — including “Corky Romano” and “A Night at the Roxbury” (for which he and Will Ferrell recreated their “What Is Love?” nightclubbing nitwits from “SNL”) — he was bored with playing human cartoons. He longed for something that required more subtlety than wrapping his legs around strangers and jamming bananas into his face.

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Actors, TV


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