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Can someone in Hollywood please find a funny role for Freida Pinto? Her sister, Sharon, is begging you.
When the 32-year-old actress told her sibling she’d signed on to make Showtime’s ’70s underground activist drama Guerrilla, Sharon had some concerns: “Do you get raped? Do you get killed? What happens?”
Understandable. Since Pinto hip-swiveled and thumka’d off the screen of 2009’s Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire and into fashion magazine pages everywhere, she’s appeared in a host of serious-issue films. Movies like Miral, directed by Julian Schnabel, about a Palestinian girl caught in the Arab-Israeli conflict; Desert Dancer, about a young Iranian who risks his life to work for his art; and the upcoming Love Sonia, a drug-trafficking drama in which Pinto stars as the owner of a brothel.
Now, in Guerrilla, written and produced by John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) and co-starring Idris Elba, Pinto plays a nurse radicalized by an underground cell in London in the early 1970s. Pinto describes the six-episode series as “my dream television gig”—i.e., “six heavy, intense, juicy, entertaining episodes of something that will get people talking.
But Pinto is also ready for an upbeat turn, and she promises she’s not as dark as some of her roles suggest. “I’m very bright on life in general,” she says, sipping a turmeric latte with almond milk, no sweetener, at Bardonna, a coffee-house in Larchmont, near her Los Angeles home. “But in performances, I like getting out of myself.” Plus Guerrilla, she says, has at least a few moments of lightness and levity. (Sharon apparently responded to this by saying Pinto had “a very f—ed-up sense of ‘light.’ ”)
Freida Pinto is featured in the May issue of the British edition of Vogue magazine to promote her new mini-series Guerrilla. She’s included in the “television portfolio” among other actresses such as Michelle Dockery, Kate Bosworth, Jenna Coleman and more. See a stunning picture of Freida in this post, and read a quote from her interview below. Magazine scans will be added as soon as we can get our hands on a copy. Check back later for that!
“I have to admit, I think the Brits had it right way before the Americans when it came to TV,” Freida Pinto said about filming Guerrilla – her first ever television role – in London. “I grew up in India watching British television and it was always intelligent and always entertaining. It felt like coming home.”
Freida Pinto thinks everyone would benefit from a little bit of improv.
“I think, even for people who aren’t actors, it is great to take an improv class. It is great to unleash something within you in an environment that is healthy instead of lashing out or heating up,” explains Pinto, colorful in a Temperley outfit on an otherwise gray New York day. “I kind of feel like I grow every day, learning so much about people — people that I don’t meet, but I play them — and so I learn to empathize more. I think this is the most important thing [for actors] because sometimes we play some unsavory characters.”
The Indian actress has picked up her first television role, starring alongside Idris Elba and Babou Ceesay in the limited Showtime series “Guerrilla.” The six episode political drama, which premieres on April 16, was produced and written by Oscar winner John Ridley, who also directed three episodes. The show is set in London in the politically and racially turbulent early Seventies amid the rise of the Black Power movement.
“I actually heard about the show last year in March, before the auditions and the casting process had even started. My team had already read the pilot episode and they were like, ‘There is a show that John Ridley is directing and has written as well, and there’s nothing to change about this character. It’s almost like it’s written for you,’” Pinto recalls. “But, obviously, it wasn’t written for me, and I had to go out and fight for it.”
The day is finally here – Guerrilla premieres tonight on Showtime! Created by Academy Award-winner John Ridley, the six part mini-series was inspired by true events, and tells the story of a pair of activists in 1970s London set out to free a political prisoner and wage a resistance movement. Starring Freida Pinto, Idris Elba and Babou Ceesay, Guerrilla has received great reviews with terrific mentions for Freida.
Variety said “Pinto is exceptional in the role. The actress carries a certain gravitas into her role as Jas Mitra, and as a result she’s both hard to read but strangely familiar by the time the real fireworks start. Pinto proves to have enough heft as an actress that she can balance how zealously she is watched, and how symbolically she is interpreted, into a chin-upraised defiance that channels both Angela Davis and Patty Hearst — a chic icon that is either leading or childishly swept up in something vast and seething.”
Be sure to tune in to Showtime tonight at 9PM to watch the first part of Guerrilla. I have included a few trailers, clips and interviews in this post for you to watch before tonight’s episode. Enjoy!