Jessie Mei Li, who will play Alina Starkov in the upcoming Netflix series Shadow and Bone, sees parallels between her on-screen character and her personal life.
In a March 2021 interview with Collider, the Brighton-born actress discussed her character in Shadow and Bone and the parallels she saw between her real life and her on-screen character.
Mei Li said at first that her character was of mixed ethnicity, similar to herself, as she was born to an English mother and a Chinese father.
In the first few episodes of the show, the All About Eve stage actress added, her character Alina is subjected to discriminatory comments from individuals.
“It was wonderful,” she remarked, “because there are some instances in the first few episodes where you see Alina getting racist comments and whatnot.”
Alina, who is also an orphan, “doesn’t feel worthy” as a result of such incidents. However, later in life, this inspires her to do something since she realizes that she can go from being no one to being someone.
Mei Li eloquently described the sensation, saying:
Mei Li also talked about how she got the part and how she remembers the audition process. She recalls glancing through the audition script and being astonished to learn that she was up for a mixed-race role.
“Oh, I never get mixed racial roles, it’s always one or the other, I never look enough of anything,” she explained.
After a worldwide search, the actress was chosen to portray the part by the series’ casting crew. “I believe they received over a thousand submissions.” “I thought I’d never acquired that because there were hundreds of tapes and things like that,” Mei-Li explained.
Shadow and Bone is a fantasy series set to air on Netflix on April 23, 2021, based on Leigh Bardugo’s worldwide bestselling Grishaverse novels. Eric Heisserer is the showrunner, and it is produced in collaboration with 21 Laps Entertainment.
Aside from Mei Li, who plays the lead, the series features Ben Barnes, Freddy Carter, Amita Suman, Kit Young, and Archie Renaux, among others.
Mei Li made her stage debut in February 2019 at the Noel Coward Theatre, playing Claudia Casswell in All About Eve.
She will also be seen in the upcoming film Last Night in Soho, directed by the mercurial Edgar Wright, in the role of Lara Chung.