Watch an Actor Play Every Ethnicity Hollywood Throws His Way

Slate's Culture Blog
May 20 2014 11:11 AM

Watch an Actor Play Every Ethnicity Hollywood Throws His Way

Today in Slate, June Thomas talks to Cliff Curtis, a Maori from New Zealand who has played just about every ethnicity Hollywood was willing to throw his way: African-American, Arab, Latino, Indian. He even played a lord of the Fire Nation in The Last Airbender. “I take the responsibility of playing another ethnicity very, very seriously,” he says, “and I promise myself and those people that I will represent them with as much dignity and integrity as I can muster. I’m not fooling around. I don’t want to make a fool of that cultural heritage. I represent them as I would represent my own.”

It comes through. In the video above, you can watch Curtis portray several of these ethnicities convincingly—including the Fire Nation lord.

Chris Wade is a video and podcast producer for Slate and occasional contributor to Brow Beat. Follow him on Twitter.