I don't think the choices her stylist makes are actually bad, it's just the execution of some of her looks. The hair is either messy or the makeup is too heavy. She did have two fantastic looks when promoting Miral, however. The Dior gown and the McQueen dress she wore to the London Festival. She looked nice in the Chanel Couture dress, but the hair let her down. The same for the Marc Jacobs.
Isn't Elizabeth Stewart also Gwyneth Paltrow's stylist? I remember complaining about her because I was so disappointed with her Iron Man 2 looks. She's not the greatest stylist.
She's in The Annual Independent Critics List of the 100 Most Beautiful Famous Faces
6. Freida Pinto
She debuted on the list last year, following her breakout performance in “Slumdog Millionaire”, and rises two spots in 2010. The pristine Indian beauty is a sure-fire lock to be on this list for the next decade.
Freida Pinto: The Slumdog Millionaire siren on finding fame and falling for her leading man
By JANE GORDON
The story of her overnight transformation from unknown to A-list celebrity mirrors the plot of Slumdog Millionaire, the film that catapulted her to fame. Freida Pinto tells Jane Gordon about sudden superstardom, falling for her co-star and why she’s learning how to say no
'I couldn't work with Dev again - the magic of Slumdog is too much to live up to,' says Freida
Freida Pinto is so busy on the afternoon we meet that she has forgotten today is her birthday. The 26-year-old actress – whose role as Latika in the 2008
Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire turned her into an A-list star – has been working so hard (on a clutch of roles in a range of diverse new films) that there has been no time for personal celebrations. Apart, that is, from a morning phone call from her British boyfriend – and Slumdog co-star – Dev Patel, 20.
‘He was the first person I spoke to this morning but he is away filming in India so we will celebrate later. It’s fine, birthdays come and go, and right now I am going where the work takes me,’ she says with a slightly weary smile that lights up a face frequently described as ‘the most beautiful in the world’.
The work Freida speaks of has taken her to places she never imagined she would see, and brought her into contact with people she never thought she would meet. These roles have involved her filming in Canada alongside Mickey Rourke in Immortals, in San Francisco with James Franco and Andy Serkis for her part in Rise of the Apes (playing, needless to say, a glamorous scientist rather than an ape) and in London (where we meet) in Woody Allen’s new film You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.
Freida is, she freely admits, a little overwhelmed by the speed with which she went from being a Mumbai-based model aspiring to be an actress to becoming the kind of celebrity who is pursued by the paparazzi and features on the cover of GQ.
‘There is always this fear that your moment is here and that it will never come again. Being in the right place at the right time – and being cast as Latika – is the story of my life as well as that of Slumdog Millionaire,’ she says.
The younger of two daughters born into a privileged middle-class family – her mother Silvia is principal of a high school in Mumbai, and her father Frederick is a retired banker – she became a model after gaining a BA in English Literature from St Xavier’s College in Mumbai. Determined to move from modelling to acting, Freida experienced, she says with a sigh, more than her fair share of rejection, auditioning for ‘hundreds’ of roles before Danny Boyle, director of Slumdog Millionaire, cast her as Latika. Boyle says that the moment he saw her – among hundreds of girls on tape – he
thought, ‘That’s her.’
The fact that the love story in the film – between Latika and Jamal – was echoed in real life with a romance between Freida and Dev Patel has, Freida concedes, added to their growing mutual celebrity. Six years her junior, Dev’s post-Slumdog success has not equalled that of his girlfriend (his role as Prince Zuko in last year’s The Last Airbender was nominated for the Worst Supporting Actor Razzie at this year’s Golden Raspberry Awards) but the couple remain very much an item even if their working schedules make time together difficult.
‘It’s about respecting each other’s work and respecting the relationship. We have to think, “OK, you are working there and I am working here but we are going to have to make time for each other.” We have the same attitude to our work. When I am filming I can’t be thinking about him, and when he is filming he can’t be thinking about me,’ she says with a resigned grin.
Freida is very grateful for her success – her life, she says, is ‘amazing’ – but she does sometimes resent paparazzi intrusion into her private life.
‘I am fine with them when I am working or promoting a film, but they get annoying when the two of us are together. There is double the interest and that’s sad because you realise it’s not about the work, it’s about the gossip.’
When they are apart the couple keep in contact by text or phone, and when they are together they try to keep out of the public gaze.
‘My parents have met his parents. It’s an Indian thing; it’s very much a part of our culture to meet your friends’ parents. I hope they like him and are not pretending. But Dev is so chilled out, there is nothing not to like about him. I don’t know a single soul on the set of Slumdog, or after that, who has come up to me and said, “Oh, he is a brat” because he is so not like that. He is the easiest person to get along with, and so funny,’ she says.
The relationship seems to be strong enough to withstand the long periods apart and any resentment or jealousies that might naturally arise when two people are working in the same industry. Dev is apparently happy about his girlfriend posing for glamorous – and slightly suggestive – pictures for the US edition of GQ.
‘The decision to do those pictures was mine. I definitely knew how I wanted to look. A stylist may have chosen the clothes but the decision to wear them was mine. I would hate to feel that I was being objectified. I have always said that a woman’s sexuality should not be used in a way that is demeaning to her. But, you know, I don’t think this is a sexist issue any more because actors are strutting their stuff in photo shoots just as much as actresses now,’ she says (perhaps alluding to naked shots of Dev from his days as the star of the Channel 4 series Skins).
Whether by design or just good fortune (her agent, she says, is one of her ‘best friends’), Freida has gained some plum roles – from highly anticipated blockbusters such as Immortals and Rise of the Apes (both scheduled for release in November) to her title role in Julian Schnabel’s controversial arthouse film Miral, which is due for release on DVD in April. Miral tells the story of the Dar al-Tifl orphanage in Jerusalem – and was shot on location in Israel. Freida plays a 17-year-old Palestinian orphan who falls in love with a political activist and is drawn into the conflict.
‘I was brought up as a Catholic in India, and as a child I read all these stories about the birthplace of Jesus. You read stories about the Mount of Olives and you build up this image in your head that the Holy Land is going to be a certain way. When you get there all you see are walls and checkpoints. It was a bit of a surprise but, if you can ignore all that, it is such a beautiful place you want to do something to restore the peace,’ she says.
Freida’s most recent film is Woody Allen’s new comedy of manners You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. She plays Dia, a beautiful cellist who becomes an object of desire for Roy, played by Josh Brolin, who is married to Sally (Naomi Watts).
‘It was nerve-racking. Working on Miral was magical, I felt that I was that person; but in You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, my third-ever film, I was just so nervous. Doing all my scenes with someone as amazing as Josh Brolin made me very anxious. By the time I got over my nervousness the film had wrapped – I won’t make that mistake again.’
The pressure of work in the past year has been so great that recently Freida became unwell (she won’t reveal the nature of her illness) and she has now resolved to slow down a little.
‘I worked with this fabulous costume designer on Immortals and she said something so important, but at the same time harsh, to me. She said, “Freida, you have to learn to be selfish – you have to learn to say no.” I know that I have to master the art of saying no without offending people because I have to protect myself. I am coping with everything that is happening but when I got sick I thought that was my body’s way of saying, “Slow down, there is no rush. You are only 26.”’
As charming as she is beautiful, Freida attributes her ability to stay grounded in the wake of her sudden success to the support of her family. She is very close to her sister Sharon – who is an associate producer for Indian-based news channel NDTV – and is accompanied in London today by her mother and father.
‘My sister is like my best friend and I feel the need to drag her to every new place I go because I want her to experience it along with me,’ she says.
Apart from her work, family and Dev, she also loves fashion (she is wearing a bright orange Dior dress today because she loves to ‘play with colour’ and refuses to take a stylist’s advice to ‘only ever wear black or grey when you are in London’). Indeed, one of the more unusual benefits of her fame and her nomadic lifestyle is the ability to add to her ‘crazy shoe collection’ because back home in India – she confesses with a giggle – it’s difficult to find any shoes in her size.
‘I have unusually big feet for India – 41, which is a size 10 in America and a size 7 in the UK – so I just go crazy when I come here or to the US. I buy three pairs for me, three pairs for my sister, three pairs for Mum. Sometimes I just look at them, I don’t even get to wear them, which is so sad,’ she laughs as she looks down at the stunning Roger Vivier pair she is wearing today.
Regardless of her avowed intention to ‘slow down’ and turn off her phone (which is propped beside her during our interview), the work keeps on coming – she is rumoured to have been offered a role in the next Bond movie and is said to be taking the lead role in Trishna, Michael Winterbottom’s modern retelling of Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
There will not, however, be a sequel to Slumdog Millionaire, and no chance of Dev and Freida being cast together in the foreseeable future.
‘I wouldn’t want to work with him, but I don’t mean that in a bad way. He said something similar in an interview that was misinterpreted. What he was trying to say is that so much happened on Slumdog Millionaire, in terms of it becoming so big, that if the two of us were paired in a film as a couple again it wouldn’t live up to that. Nothing ever could. It’s too much magic to live up to on screen,’ she says.
But off screen, I quickly ask as we part, could they live happily ever after like Latika and Jamal?
‘Who knows?’ she says, shrugging her shoulders and laughing.
Miral will be released on DVD by Pathé Productions on 4 April. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger is in cinemas now