Russell Peters may have mastered the comedy stage by selling out concerts (including Madison Square Gardens) around the globe but conquering Hollywood has taken a bit longer.
“The challenge for me has been getting the right roles,” explained the Toronto native recently. “I’ve been offered a ton of (movie parts) but do I want to play the 7-11 guy or the taxi guy? Hence my movie career has been slower than most.”
Things may be changing for the man who has sold hundreds of thousands of his comedy DVDs. Now co-starring in this Friday’s release of Breakaway, Peters has found his place in what’s likely the first-ever film about an Indo-Canadian hockey team.
“I’d like to say that I was the seed for (Breakaway) because I used to do a joke about an all-Indian hockey team,” said Peters. “I used to do a joke about the Toronto Maple Sikhs and (writer and star Vinay Virmani) even told me that’s what gave him the idea for writing this film.”
It’s an obvious point of pride for Peters, even if playing Canada’s national sport isn’t.
“I can’t stand the game,” said Peters. “There’s a whole generation of Indo-Canadians that grew up loving hockey. I would go out and say I’m very much in the minority for not liking hockey.”
Instead, Peters offers that he related to the film’s central story about a striving first-generation Sikh athlete who must deal with issues of family and identity in discovering his life’s ambition.
“It’s really about the immigrant experience and it just happens to circle around this particular group,” said Peters.
“But it’s the same story for every first generationer. And even if you’re not a first-generation immigrant family, you can still relate to it — it’s about a guy with a dream.”