April 14, 2021
She went from Leicester to Los Angeles – and is now bound for outer space. But Intergalactic, which was filmed in Manchester, has made the British star want to return home
‘I miss the English bants’: Parminder Nagra on ER, Bend It Like Beckham and new sci-fi Intergalactic
I can’t tell if the pained expression on Parminder Nagra’s face is because of the bad Zoom connection or the words I can’t help blurting out the moment she appears on my screen. She’s sitting at a table in her home in Los Angeles, the California sun streaming through sash windows into a sitting room dotted with keepsakes from her many films, and all I can think to say is: “I can’t believe I’m talking to Jess from Bend It Like Beckham! I loved that film!”
We’re meant to be discussing the actor’s new role in Intergalactic, a dystopian sci-fi drama about a group of female high-security prisoners who hijack a spaceship and set off in pursuit of freedom. But instead we’re discussing the role Nagra took on almost 20 years ago, playing Jess, a teenager who discovers herself on the Football pitch, while navigating her Indian heritage and British life. Is it annoying that people still talk about Bend It? “No,” says Nagra, “because it’s such a huge part of my life. I’ve just gotten older. I keep thinking people are going to think I still look the same, when I don’t. But I’m still proud of the film. It’s probably what I’m most recognised for.”
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