×

Wall Street Journal Movie Critic Mistakes Dev Patel for Kal Penn

Updated 1:10 p.m. ET: Since the time of publication, the Wall Street Journal has issued a correction on the online review of “Lion” that reads, “An earlier version of this article misidentified Dev Patel as appearing in Mira Nair’s ‘The Namesake.'”

Original: Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgenstern made an embarrassing error in a review for the movie “Lion” in Friday’s newspaper, when he confused Dev Patel with Kal Penn.

Both actors are of Indian descent, but their careers have been very different. Patel, 26, who plays Saroo Brierley in “Lion,” is British, while Penn, 39, was born in New Jersey.

In his review, Morgenstern says that “Lion” is Patel’s “richest performance” since 2006’s “The Namesake.” But Patel, the star of “Slumdog Millionaire,” wasn’t in that film directed by Mira Nair. The part was played by Penn, whose other credits include the “Harold and Kumar” movies, “House” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

The mistake drew outrage on social media, including a tweet that was retweeted by Penn, asking if Morgenstern meant “the other brown actor.”

Popular on Variety

Morgenstern, who won the Pulitzer Prize in film criticism in 2005, called the mix up a “dumb error” on Twitter. His review was posted on Wednesday afternoon online. At the time this article was published, the Journal hadn’t corrected the mistake in the digital version of the story, which still says Patel was in “The Namesake.”

A representative from the Wall Street Journal did not respond to Variety for comment.

Patel is in the running for Oscar consideration in the best-supporting actor race for “Lion,” which opens in limited release this weekend from the Weinstein Co. For two consecutive years, the Motion Picture Academy has come under fire for nominating all white actors in its four acting categories.

But awards pundits believe this year could mark the end to #OscarsSoWhite. In addition to Patel, there’s also been strong Oscar buzz for Denzel Washington and Viola Davis (“Fences”), Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer (“Hidden Figures”) and Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”).

More Film

  • Olivia Wilde

    Searchlight Aggressively Pursuing World Rights to Olivia Wilde's 'Perfect' at EFM

    Searchlight Pictures has emerged as the frontrunner for the Olivia Wilde-directed gymnastics movie “Perfect,” amid a days-long bidding war out of Berlin’s EFM. Variety understands that the studio is ‘heavily pursuing’ world rights to the hot title — one of a crop of female-led projects at the market — with A24 and Warner Bros. also [...]

  • 'High Ground' Review: Ugly Conflict and

    'High Ground': Film Review

    There’s a hint of John Ford to “High Ground,” a sinewy, sun-baked faceoff between indigenous and invading armies in the Arnhem Land wilderness of Australia, though by now we probably need a better word than “western” for films that situate the tensions and tropes of Hollywood operas in their own distinct geographical context. Handsomely mounted [...]

  • Undine

    'Undine': Film Review

    Christian Petzold’s “Undine” begins with a breakup. Framed tightly on the face of lead actor Paula Beer, we absorb the news as she does. But this is no ordinary separation, and as jilted lovers go, Undine’s far from typical. Her name betrays what sets her apart, although in the vast realm of mythological entities, undines [...]

  • Emma Movie 2020

    'Emma' Starts Strong at Indie Box Office

    Focus Features’ “Emma,” an adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel, had a solid opening at the specialty box office this weekend. Director Autumn de Wilde’s feature film debut earned $230,000 in its debut outing across five theaters in New York and Los Angeles, ranking No. 1 in each location. That success translated to a $46,000 [...]

  • Pablo-Guisa-and-Gabriela-Sandoval

    Morbido, Sanfic Share Specifics of New Joint Horror Initiative (EXCLUSIVE)

    Pablo Guisa, founder-CEO of the Morbido Group, Latin America’s largest horror conglomerate, based out of Mexico City, and Gabriela Sandoval, founder-director of Sanfic Industria, the Santiago Intl. Film Festival sidebar for projects and works in progress, met in Berlin to finalize details for the inaugural Factoría Mórbido-Sanfic, a joint initiative intended to strengthen the genre [...]

  • Berlinale 2020: Variety, Medienboard Fete '10

    Variety Presents 'Ten Europeans to Watch' at Medienboard Party in Berlin

    Variety’s “10 Europeans to Watch” were feted Saturday night at a party held by Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg at Berlin’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Co-hosting the evening were Kirsten Niehuus and Helge Jürgens, managing directors of Medienboard, the regional film, TV and digital-media funding body. Pictured above are U.K. filmmaker and rapper Andrew Onwubolu, known by his alias Rapman [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content