Adrian “Kali” Turner,” a former student at Peeples Elementary School and a part-time Fayetteville resident, is getting a taste of Bollywood and Hollywood.
Turner, 12, plays a character named Joel in the film “My Name is Khan.” The movie, which tells the story of a Muslim man with Asperger’s Syndrome suspected of being a terrorist after Sept. 11, 2001, stars two of Bollywood’s biggest stars – Shahrukh Khan and Kajol. Turner’s role was originally supposed to feature only a handful of lines, but the part grew and Turner flew to Mumbai for a month to be a part of a film that will be released in 40 countries in February.
“I can’t say much about my character,” Turner said, not wanting to spoil any surprises. “He is from Wilhelmina, Ga. and his brother died in a war.”
Turner has appeared in several other films, many of them student films with much smaller scales and budgets. “My Name is Khan” was his first major feature film.
Although he was on set for a large part of each day, Turner got to do some sight-seeing and shopping. He visited the Gate of India, Chowpatty Beach, the planetarium and Elephant Island.
“I really liked it in India,” Turner stated. “Everyone was so nice.”
In late 2006, Turner participated in the Actors, Models and Talent Competition (AMTC). He placed second in monologue and commercial and was a finalist in Best Overall Child Act. After meeting with agents and managers at the event in Orlando, Fla., the advice was for him to go out to Los Angeles.
Turner’s first audition was with Larry David for a part on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
“I had to yell at him for killing my hamster,” Turner said. “It was all improv and really fun.”
He didn’t land the role on the HBO comedy but because of some skills he picked up at Peeples Elementary, he landed his first role on the Nickelodeon children’s program “Yo Gabba Gabba.”
“I had done cup stacking at Peeples and the audition said to bring a cool trick,” said Turner. “I did cup stacking on the show and danced with a banana.”
Turner lives out in Los Angeles most of the time, returning to Fayette County in the summer and at the holidays. In addition to “Yo Gabba Gabba,” Turner has also landed roles on television shows ranging from “iCarly” to “Flash Forward,” among others.
“In ‘Flash Forward,’ I play a Somali kid,” Turner stated, adding that because of all of his roles he has learned Hindi, Zulu and Somali. He is also learning about the behind the scenes aspects of the entertainment business and hopes to one day become a director.
His roles in television and film have brought him all over the world and had him acting with some of the industry’s biggest names, but his love of music put him on the biggest stage last year. Turner was a part of the AGAPE National Children’s Choir and performed at the Inauguration of President Obama as well as on “Oprah,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” and “Larry King Live.” Those performances had the choir singing with stars like Will I. Am, Mary J. Blige and Sting.
Turner is currently doing voice-over work for Old Navy’s mannequin campaign and is working on an EP with a boy band called Boyz Crew. Although it seems he is often busy with school (he is home schooled) and work, he still has time to be a normal kid. He enjoys riding his bike, skateboarding and playing XBox. He often goes back to the AMTC conference and talks about his experiences and help other young actors reach their goals.
When asked what kind of career path he’d like to follow in Hollywood, Turner replied, “I just want to try and inspire people with the movies I make, spreading a message of peace.”
It’s a lofty goal, but one that Turner has every confidence that he will reach.
By: Michael Boylan
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