In the event you needed to kiss your greatest pal, how would you put together?
For Shazad Latif, who starred reverse his real-life good mate Lily James in What’s Love Bought to Do With It, it was a complete pack of mints.
It was nonetheless “very awkward” but additionally “very sweet and very funny”.
“I got through an entire pack beforehand, just to make sure I was fresh,” he instructed information.com.au. “We just handled it with a lot of care, and we love each other anyway. It was a nice moment.”
What’s Love Bought to Do With It is Latif’s first characteristic lead position in a profession that has included supporting elements within the likes of Penny Dreadful, Star Trek Discovery, Toast of London and Spooks. And he’s simply spent a 12 months in Australia filming Nautilus, an enormous finances Disney+ sequence primarily based on 20,000 Leagues Underneath the Sea.
He’s even beforehand labored with James – in The Pursuit of Love – however they shared few scenes.
It was solely after he and James have been each hooked up to What’s Love Bought to Do With It, did the mates determine to let the filmmakers know, “Oh yeah, by the way, we’re best friends”.
“Me and Lily have been real close friends for years, and when Lily got involved, it sort of kicked it off. And so, I owe Lily James my life.
“We used to be at house parties improvising together, it was fun to do it in a professional sense.”
In What’s Love Bought to Do With It, Latif performs Kazim, a profitable Pakistani-British physician who decides to pursue an organized marriage – or, because it’s recognized, an “assisted marriage”. The seemingly unorthodox selection prompts his childhood pal, filmmaker Zoe (James), to centre a documentary on Kazim’s journey.
You don’t should have seen too many rom-coms to know the place this story goes.
As is commonly the case with the style, it’s not the top however the way you get there that issues. And Latif and James have a simple chemistry that comes naturally to 2 individuals who have been precise buddies for years.
However working with James wasn’t why Latif was interested in the mission. The chance to be part of one thing which instructed a narrative from inside his tradition. Latif was born in London to a Pakistani father and an English/Scottish mom.
The actor mentioned the movie will “demystify” the apply of assisted marriages to audiences who aren’t aware of it past stereotypes.
“There are so many variants of love anyway,” he defined. “We’re just taking a little slice and getting a glimpse into it.
“In England, there’s a history of [assisted marriages], just look at the royals. It’s not just one culture. It’s something that’s all around the world. It’s just that it’s so prevalent in South Asian cultures. It’ll demystify that it’s not a forced marriage, that’s not what we’re dealing with here. It’s parents going, ‘hey, we want to be involved’.
“Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s the same as dating on Hinge.
“The film is dealing with it in quite a modern way, it doesn’t pigeonhole the process. It’s a rom-com with a lot of heart.”
His dad died when Latif was 23 however he’s nonetheless very shut with that facet of his household. Each side have been very excited that Latif was working with Jemima Khan, who wrote the screenplay.
“Weirdly, my mum used to keep a scrapbook of Jemima when I was younger,” he revealed. “So I grew up knowing who she was, because my mum is a white woman who had been to Pakistan. It was Princess Diana and Jemima Khan who were the people she could related to.
“So I felt like Jemima had been in my life for my entire childhood. I told Jemima that in the audition.”
Latif’s uncle is “dying to meet Jemima”, and the dutiful nephew has promised to facilitate a gathering on the movie’s premiere.
“Pakistanis are obsessed with Jemima,” he mentioned with clear affection in his voice. “But also Shabana Azmi – my cousin cried when I told her Shabana was in it, because she grew up watching Shabana’s movies. For them, it’s a big thing.
What’s Love Got to Do With It may present as another likeable rom-com but its existence – a mainstream film set within the Pakistani-British diaspora and centred on such a culturally specific story – is revolutionary.
“There’s always a thing of art as activism, but the main thing about that is representation,” Latif mentioned. “For young people, seeing people like you on screen, that’s the main thing we can do.”
The movie options two Pakistani weddings and simply strolling onto that on set, when he heard the drums, made it really feel very actual to Latif and his personal experiences. That and the curries across the household dinner desk scene.
“We had about 17 plates with curry. It was just a scene where it was me and my family eating curry and talking. It was so real.
“Anything that can break down a few barriers, it’s opening up space for us and getting a little seat at the table. Any movie that can do that, hopefully people will respond in a nice way.
“It takes a few good years but it has to happen from the top down. We need producers, writers, directors and companies [to get on-board], not just the actors coming through. It has to come from both sides. And I think it’s happening.
“There’s room for everyone, you know?”
What’s Love Bought to Do With It’s in cinemas now