LONDON — Actress, producer and entrepreneur Priyanka Chopra Jonas has told CNBC that she finds filming under lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic “really daunting.”
The multi award-winning star, who is currently working on several film and television projects in London, U.K., released her new memoir, “Unfinished,” this week.
The U.K. is currently under its third national lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Chopra Jonas told CNBC that it’s “kind of a crazy experience,” even with the strict U.K. government Covid-19 regulations around filming, including being tested for the virus every day.
“As actors we’re still taking off our masks in front of other actors, you know, and that’s part of the job. And I feel like, that’s kind of really daunting, because you just don’t know,” she said.
“But I’ve so far managed to finish filming two movies. I’m going on to my third job now, which is a TV show … people are consuming so much content right now that someone’s got to make it. So, you know, back at work, but it is daunting I have to say.”
Chopra Jonas said the global crisis was “very scary” and worrying both for her own family — including her husband, U.S. singer-songwriter and actor Nick Jonas — and those most disproportionately affected by the pandemic around the world.
“My husband is a type one diabetic, I’m asthmatic. I have my Mum who’s living with me right now so, I just feel like I’m also, on the job, you know, responsible on a set of hundreds of people. So I take it very, very seriously,” she said.
“Seeing what a toll it has taken around the world, not only with the health of people, with the amount of deaths we’ve seen, but also with jobs, with stability, you know, this has changed a lot of things for a lot of people and brought to the fore the disparity between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots,’ and it’s a very emotional time. So it is very scary.” she added.
Chopra Jonas launched onto the world stage after winning Miss World in 2000 and becoming a Bollywood sensation.
In 2015, she made history when she became, “the first person of Indian descent to ever be a lead on a network TV show”, on the ABC thriller series “Quantico,” she said.
The star added that now felt like a great time to write her memoir, to commemorate her 20 years in the industry.
“Also, I think I’m, on the other side of 35, a lot more confident in myself as a woman, as a person, as a professional for what I bring to the table. And I guess that confidence really helped me deal with the things that might have scared me before,” she said.
Chopra Jonas has over 87 million combined followers across Instagram and Twitter and was an early adopter of social media in her career.
Asked how she copes with some of the negativity on the platforms, she told CNBC she’d be lying if she said she doesn’t read all the comments, but she feels her career “doesn’t depend on my social acceptance”.
“So I treat it as entertainment, I treat it as a way of having a direct communication with people, talking about things I’m excited about and my opinions, but I don’t take it more seriously than that,” she said.
“Of course cancel culture sucks and it’s terrible when people decide to just spew venom without understanding the context of anything,” she continued.
The actor-producer, who also established the Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education in 2011 and is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, continues to be at the forefront of diversity in the global film and television industry.
Her latest movie release sees her star in and executive produce “The White Tiger” on Netflix, based on the 2008 Man Booker Prize-winning novel by Aravind Adiga.
Chopra Jonas told CNBC the project has been an emotional one for her.
“I had tears in my eyes, to see an all-Indian star cast be the No. 1 movie in the world is historic. We’ve not really seen that,” she said.
“It makes me emotional, it makes me feel really grateful that, you know, I’ve been working in America for almost five, six years as an actor now and to be able to see the change that I’ve really fought for and a lot of my colleagues have really fought for is wonderful.”
The star said streaming services like Netflix and Amazon were helping to create diverse and inclusive content “in a huge way.” They have focused on the “cross pollination of cultures” which will educate people from around the world about how different — yet similar in many ways — our world is, she said. “It’s amazing to see.”