Killing Eve's Sandra Oh insists the UK is 'behind' the U.S. in terms of racial diversity

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Killing Eve's Sandra Oh insists the UK is 'behind' the U.S. in terms of racial diversity

Sandra Oh has insisted the UK is 'behind' America in terms of racial diversity as the progression of people of colour behind the camera is 'very sl

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Sandra Oh has insisted the UK is ‘behind’ America in terms of racial diversity as the progression of people of colour behind the camera is ‘very slow’.

The Killing Eve star, 48, spoke candidly with Kerry Washington during an episode of Variety’s Actors on Actors: At Home about working on the hit programme.

Sandra and Kelly both caught their acting breaks working for Shonda Rhimes’ production company Shondaland, which created Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.

Candid:

Candid: Sandra Oh has insisted the UK is ‘behind’ America in terms of racial diversity as the progression of people of colour behind the camera is ‘very slow’.

During the chat, Kelly quizzed Sandra on what it’s like to be an Asian actress on set and she replied: ‘That I’m totally used to, I’m so used to being that.’

Sandra admitted that she believes that the UK hasn’t come as far as America in giving people of colour opportunities in the film industry.

She said: ‘The UK I’m not afraid to say is behind. I am not only the only Asian person on set, sometimes it changes  – which is very exciting when someone comes on set, but the development of people behind the camera is very slow in the UK.’

Candid: The Killing Eve star, 48, spoke candidly with Kerry Washington during an episode of Variety's Actors on Actors: At Home about working on the hit programme

Candid: The Killing Eve star, 48, spoke candidly with Kerry Washington during an episode of Variety’s Actors on Actors: At Home about working on the hit programme

Breakthrough: Sandra and Kelly both caught their acting breaks working for Shonda Rhimes' production company Shondaland, which created Grey's Anatomy and Scandal

Breakthrough: Sandra and Kelly both caught their acting breaks working for Shonda Rhimes’ production company Shondaland, which created Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal

During the chat, Kelly quizzed Sandra on what it's like to be an Asian actress on set and she replied: 'That I'm totally used to, I'm so used to being that'

During the chat, Kelly quizzed Sandra on what it’s like to be an Asian actress on set and she replied: ‘That I’m totally used to, I’m so used to being that’

‘I don’t know about the rest of Europe, so sometimes it was a little… sometimes it would be me and 75 white people and I have not come from that in my film career, which has been much more independent.’

Explaining that usually her experiences have been more diverse, Sandra said: ‘Mostly working with women and women of colour, in the United States it hasn’t always been all white, but being the only Asian person is definitely a familiar place for me.’ 

‘I’ve got to tell you. Even more than that, I think being the only American on that set [for Killing Eve], in Europe, informed me more than the physicality. I’ve not even really talked about this, but there is something about constantly feeling like the observer or the outsider.’ 

Honest: Sandra admitted that she believes that the UK hasn't come as far as America in giving people of colour opportunities in the film industry

Honest: Sandra admitted that she believes that the UK hasn’t come as far as America in giving people of colour opportunities in the film industry

She said: 'The UK I'm not afraid to say is behind. I am not only the only Asian person on set, sometimes it changes - which is very exciting when someone comes on set, but the development of people behind the camera is very slow in the UK'

She said: ‘The UK I’m not afraid to say is behind. I am not only the only Asian person on set, sometimes it changes – which is very exciting when someone comes on set, but the development of people behind the camera is very slow in the UK’

MailOnline has contacted representatives at Killing Eve for comment. 

Sandra’s statement echoes similar comments recently made by director Sir Steve McQueen, who said the UK has a ‘shameful’ lack of diversity in its film industry.

The film director and artist added that the country lags ‘far behind’ the US in representing ethnic minorities in production.

The 12 Years A Slave director told The Observer newspaper that he is ‘fed up’ with the situation, adding that it is ‘blatant racism’.

Speaking out: Sandra's statement echoes similar comments recently made by director Sir Steve McQueen, who said the UK has a 'shameful' lack of diversity in its film industry

Speaking out: Sandra’s statement echoes similar comments recently made by director Sir Steve McQueen, who said the UK has a ‘shameful’ lack of diversity in its film industry

‘I don’t want to hear anyone say, “Oh yes, it’s terrible” ever again,’ Sir Steve said.

‘I’ve heard it a thousand times. They all agree, but nothing gets done.

‘What I want is to see change, not hear excuses.’

The director said he had been shocked on a recent visit to a film set that his friend was working on.

Using his platform: The 12 Years A Slave filmmaker said the lack of diversity in British film is 'blatant racism'

Using his platform: The 12 Years A Slave filmmaker said the lack of diversity in British film is ‘blatant racism’

‘It felt like I had walked out of one environment, the London I was surrounded by, into another, a place that was alien to me,’ he said.

‘I could not believe the whiteness of the set.

‘I made three films in the States and it seems like nothing has really changed in the interim in Britain.

‘The UK is so far behind in terms of representation, it’s shameful.’

He said that issues of race and class ‘overlap’, adding: ‘It’s the Oxbridge thing and it’s throughout the media.

‘Basically, if you want to examine race and class in this country, start by going in a film set.’

Sir Steve added that he ‘tried very hard’ with his upcoming BBC series Small Axe, saying they ‘created our own training scheme with one trainee per department’.

The situation worsened when production was moved from London to Wolverhampton, he said, adding: ‘We had tax breaks, incentives, financial support, but the only BAME people were the drivers and one electrician.

‘The stark reality is that there is no infrastructure to support and hire BAME crew.’

The artist and filmmaker said it is not enough to see more black people working on black films, saying they need to be working on all films and TV.

He then posed the question, how many black people worked on the crew for the Harry Potter films. 

Highly praised: Sir Steve won an Oscar for his gut-wrenching film 12 Years A Slave starring Chiwetel Ejiofor

Highly praised: Sir Steve won an Oscar for his gut-wrenching film 12 Years A Slave starring Chiwetel Ejiofor

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