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So far, Woody Allen has directed four actresses to four Academy Awards. That fact wasn’t lost on Freida Pinto and Lucy Punch, who play the Woodman’s latest good girl and bad girl, respectively, in his new film, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.
Opening Wednesday, the comedic romance continues Allen’s transferring of his Gotham sensibilities to international locales. Here it’s London, as Dia (Pinto) moves into a flat across from Roy and Sally (Josh Brolin, Naomi Watts) and inadvertently entices Roy, a would-be novelist. Meanwhile, Charmaine (Punch) is a call girl married to Sally’s father (Anthony Hopkins) and living a life free from self-doubt — a trait every other character has in spades. It’s the kind of melancholy roundelay Allen perfected in classics like “Manhattan,” “Hannah” and “Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
How well-versed were you in Woody Allen films when you auditioned?
Very. Back in college I studied literature, and we had a lot of his plays as part of our curriculum. I was really aware of his work by the time I went in for the audition. I really don’t know what I did during the audition, but the fact that I got the part probably means that I did something right! But I think that what actually happens is that when you start to film, everything starts fresh. You cannot predict what will happen and what his style of directing will be like. Everyone told me that he was going to be very quiet and very elusive and that he was probably not going to talk to me. But that wasn’t the case at all.
When it comes to acting roles, Freida Pinto has yet to meet her tall, dark stranger. In Woody Allen’s wry comedy You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, the stranger means different things to different characters: handsome lover to one, possibly death to another.
Freida, at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival to promote the movie, said her metaphorical stranger is not being able to live a fantasy such as working with Allen and co-star Josh Brolin.
“I was sick to my stomach knowing I had two amazing talents – Josh Brolin, Woody Allen — working with me,” said the Indian former model, who got her big break in Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. “I really spent my first days being nervous and being very petrified about which way I was going — Was I going to get fired? It was this immense amount of pressure and stress,” she told Reuters in an interview.
During the TIFF, Freida revealed to The Press Association that she is hoping to open doors for other Indian actors. The actress – who found fame in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire and now has roles in movies including Woody Allen’s You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger and Julian Schnabel’s Miral – aims to work in English-language productions around the world, wherever she finds the right roles.
The 25-year-old said: “I am the minority, as one might call it, in the film industry out here, so I have to be very careful as to what films I take up. Coming from India, we don’t have too many Indian stars here. … Some really talented people have tried who’ve never really made it, and I feel this is a brilliant opportunity for me to open doors even to them, not just for myself.”
She continued: “So I’m really excited that it’s happening at a time when I like to use this word ‘colour-blind’. I think everybody, bit by bit, is becoming colour-blind, and I think that’s really nice, because none of the films that I’ve done so far have focused on ethnicity as far as I’m concerned. And that makes me really happy.”
Woody Allen has claimed that Freida Pinto was perfectly cast for her role in his upcoming film You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger. In the movie, Pinto plays a young art gallery assistant who begins an affair with a married writer (Josh Brolin).
The AP reports that Allen told journalists at the Toronto International Film Festival that the character required an actress that is just as beautiful as Naomi Watts, who plays the writer’s wife. “We wanted somebody that he looked out the window at who was an obscure object of desire. We figured, who could it be?” he said. “He’s married to Naomi Watts, who is so beautiful and such a wonderful actress.” He continued: “What could lure a guy from Naomi Watts? Nothing really.”
Allen added that a close-up of Pinto early in the film confirmed that he was right to select her for the role. “You see that face close up over the table, and that face is pulverising. She’s so beautiful.”
You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger will debut in US cinemas on September 22.
The world premiere of Miral was held yesterday at the Venice International Film Festival, and now the first reviews are here! It’s been given mixed-to-poor reviews by the US critics, saying that it doesn’t quite live up the high expectations everyone had after Julian Schnabel’s last movie The Diving Belle and the Butterfly. I’ve featured some of the reviews below.
Remember, these are only a first look at reviews for Miral, I will make another post of reviews where top industry critics are included closer to the release date.
While any film addressing the Israeli-Palestinian divide can expect a measure of controversy, few hearts or minds are likely to be stirred by Julian Schnabel’s inoffensive, well-intentioned “Miral.” Schnabel’s signature blend of splintered storytelling and sobering humanism feels misapplied to this sweeping multigenerational saga of four Arab women living under Israeli occupation, the youngest of which, Miral, emerges a bland totem of hope rather than a compelling movie subject. A year-end Stateside release date will raise expectations unlikely to be borne out by either passionate critical response or sustained arthouse biz.
Bound to raise perhaps the most criticism is the casting of Pinto, the Indian actress-model who came to fame in “Slumdog Millionaire,” in the role of an Arab Everygirl — an odd choice for a drama predicated on specifics of cultural identity. While Pinto looks appropriately willful, driven and occasionally fierce as Miral clashes with her loving guardians (and is later whipped in prison for her suspected terrorist involvement), neither she nor the material convincingly demonstrates why, of the countless stories that have been told about the conflict, this one was worth singling out.
Some of the dialogue in Miral is portentous in the extreme. Characters deliver lines like “this is a very crucial moment for our country – our people can’t take it any more” rather than speaking in anything that remotely resembles normal speech. There are distracting cameos from stars like Vanessa Redgrave and Willem Dafoe, who are on screen for a few moments and then disconcertingly disappear from the story without trace. Schnabel is covering three generations but his storytelling style is more cumbersome than nimble. At its most leaden, this is more like a school lecture in Middle Eastern history than it is a piece of drama. Newsreel footage is thrown into the mix in heavy-handed fashion and characters – as they age – suddenly go very grey. Quiet domestic scenes and climactic political moments are juxtaposed in seemingly random manner. Even so, it’s hard not to root for Husseini (played with great dignity by Abbass) as she tries to educate the orphan kids and thereby save them from a rootless existence in the refugee camps. Miral herself is played very engagingly by Freida Pinto as a mischievous and idealistic teenager with an acute sense of natural justice.
Another Italian magazine alert! Freida Pinto’s also featured in a very special Venice Film Festival-supplement to L’Uomo Vogue‘s September issue. She talks about Miral, which is premiering tonight at the festival! Not only is it a new interview, but a new picture as well. She looks gorgeous (though a little unrecognizable) in it, as seen in the preview above. Click on it to see her feature in a slightly bigger size. Thanks to Emmanuelle for the heads up!
If you have the magazine, I’d really appreciate scans or a translation of the interview. Simply e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be given full credit for your help.
The actress reveals how she attained her most challenging role yet, in Miral.
For Miral Schnabel was looking for a Palestinian protagonist. “The casting had already started, but Danny Boyle was good enough to personally direct my video for the audition. The script moved me in an inexpressible way: to a certain degree the story narrated is very similar to what happened when India and Pakistan were divided up. I wanted the role at all costs. I don’t know why Schnabel chose me; I can only say that when I did the audition I so identified with the role that I put all of myself into it.
At a certain point I had to say how much I loved my father: at the end Julian commented: “You really must love your father”. I think my total support for the character convinced him. And I have the feeling that looking a little like Rula Jebreal helped matters too”.
Freida Pinto’s featured in the September issue of O Magazine (Oprah’s magazine) in the section “Aha! Moment”. She talks about a very important question: the view on different skin-complexions in India. I really recommend you to read it (and check out the gorgeous photo attached to the article) in the press archive or the gallery.
Not only is Freida in O and T magazines (seen in the previous posts), she’s also featured in the September issue of In Style, with actress Hilary Swank on the cover. I will have original HQ scans from that as soon as I receive the magazine. Stay tuned for those and more coming soon!
I am now back from vacation and ready to start updating the site frequently again. And it looks to be a busy coming month for Freida Pinto! She’s currently on the cover of T Magazine’s Fall 2010 Style issue (the outtakes were added a few minute ago). I have now added the magazine scans in fantastic quality (really!) to the gallery.
Be sure to visit the gallery right away to check them out. Also, read the interesting interview with Freida from the magazine in our press archive!
It’s official without an official announcement being made: Freida Pinto has been cast in the Planet of the Apes reboot, Rise of the Apes, where she’ll join fellow cast members James Franco and John Lithgow. Earth’s Mightiest had the opportunity to catch up with the actress ever so briefly to discuss the film.
Pinto, who has just wrapped production of Tarsem Singh’s Greek Gods adventure Immortals and who became an instant star with Slumdog Millionaire, reflects on what she looks for in the characters she chooses to play, and her general feelings about Rise of the Apes.
The film deals with a scientist (James Franco), who, in his attempts to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, which his father (John Lithgow) is suffering from, attempts genetic experimentations on an ape named Caesar, inadvertently sets into motion a series of events that will result in the downfall of humanity. Pinto plays a primatologist named Caroline.
“What I try to do with my characters is to bring something different to all of them. Sometimes just being yourself can bring out the uniqueness of whatever it is. For Rise of the Apes, I auditioned for it without reading the entire script. I don’t remember when it was that I watched Planet of the Apes, but it was ages ago. When I read what the story was about – and the idea of the film is out there – I really thought that, yes, it was a big budget film and all of that, but it really had a soul in the kind of story that they really wanted to put out there. It’s a battle between humans and apes with humans trying to make themselves superior by exploiting another animal.”
“I just thought that there was a lot of soul to it. When I read the script, finally, after auditioning, I found myself even more drawn to it. I also like films with a lot of animals in it, and what happens to animals really does break my heart.”
Rise of the Apes is scheduled to reach theatres in June of 2011.
Freida was recently interviewed by Indian newspaper Hindustan Times on how her life has changed since Slumdog Millionaire. It’s a very interesting read as we learn a lot of new things on the lovely Freida Pinto. Be sure to check it out in full in the press library!
It’s been a year since Slumdog Millionare put her on top of the world. Sitting pretty across the seven seas, Freida Pinto looks down to tell us how much life has changed
So, are you the next Bond girl?
I have already issued an official statement that I have not been approached for the next Bond film opposite Daniel Craig as yet. The rumours are of course flattering but for the moment my projects for 2010 – 2011 include Julian Schnabel’s Miral, Woody Allen’s You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger and Tarsem Singh’s Immortals.
Did you watch the Oscars this year?
Yes, I did watch the Oscars, as I do every year. I was rooting for Gabourey Sidibe who I thought was fabulous in her first film Precious. And Sandra Bullock who besides a phenomenal performance in The Blind Side looked so very beautiful. Sandra finally got her due!
What memories of the red carpet did it bring back?
I was reminded of the chaos, the battle with time to finish all the important interviews and the non-stop running around in high heels which made your feet ache after a while. 2009 will always be a great year for me.
Why weren’t you there at this year’s Academy Awards show, as a presenter or at least as part of the audience?
That’s a question for the producers and organisers. (Laughs) They probably had an overdose of us last year. I can’t question their decision.
When you look back on the year that was, what have been the highs and the lows since Slumdog Millionaire’s release? Has Freida Pinto changed much?
Of course I have changed… And have also remained the same! (Laughs) Confused? Well, let me explain… My level of awareness has changed and so has the sense of self-reliance. My ambition to succeed has amplified and my responsibility to both my family and myself has increased. But at heart I’m still the same Freida who her near and dear ones know best. And I like it that way!