Himesh Patel found it hard to comprehend that he had been cast alongside stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence in Adam McKay’s star-studded satire Don’t Look Up.
The 31-year-old actor, who played Jennifer’s journalist boyfriend in the movie, is amazed that he’s enjoyed success in Hollywood and, despite a string of hit movies behind him, he’s still in awe of being amongst such big names.
He recalled: ‘When they released the cast list for Don’t Look Up I was like, “Are you kidding me?” And then they released a grid of all our faces, and mine was there and I was like, “What? What?”
‘And I still am a little bit like that.’
The apocalyptic dark comedy, about the discovery of a world-ending comet heading straight to Earth, also featured Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett and Timothée Chalamet among its starry ranks.
Himesh also has a cameo role in new TV show Ten Percent, the British remake of French comedy Call Me Agent, alongside stars including Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter also making an appearance as themselves.
It was another project he was shocked to be considered for.
He told The Times magazine: ‘I thought, “Why are you asking me?” Especially when you’ve got Jim Broadbent playing someone else [the founder of the agency], not Jim Broadbent, and I’m playing me.’
The actor shot to fame playing Tamwar Masood in EastEnders and revealed he believes there is still a bias against people who started their careers in soap, which he thinks stems from ‘snobbery’.
‘I think there’s still a perception within our industry of the sort of actors that do EastEnders, or the sort of show EastEnders is, the perceived quality of it compared with something like, say, The Crown.’
The Yesterday star views his years on the show as an acting apprenticeship, and said he was keen to ‘give young people access and demystify it, to decelebrity-fy it’ as it was a ‘wonderful job’, however ‘the work is not glamorous’.
He also admitted that ‘there was a fear for me’ when he left EastEnders in 2016 that his association with the show would prevent his career from progressing.
However, with Danny Boyle casting him in the lead role for Yesterday opposite Lily James not long after, and appearances in the sprawling BBC adaption of The Luminaries, as well as Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and TV show Station Eleven to his name too, that appears to be far from the case.