'Slumdog Millionaire' Star Freida Pinto in Israel to Film Movie

Freida Pinto played the female lead in the Danny Boyle film that won 8 Academy Awards this year.

Freida Pinto, the female lead in the Oscar-winning "Slumdog Millionaire," is in Israel to prepare for shooting a new film by Julian Schnabel, which will be entirely filmed here. French cinematographer Eric Gautier ("The Motorcycle Diaries," "Hearts") will be behind the camera. Shooting on "Miral" is scheduled to start next month, immediately after Pesach. The screenplay was adapted by Schnabel ("The Diving Bell and the Butterfly") from a book by Palestinian-Italian writer Rula Jebreal, who collaborated on the script. It focuses on the interwoven lives of a few Israeli and Palestinian women, from the early years of the state through the early 1990s.

Pinto, 24, began her career as a model in Mumbai, switching to film acting only after British director Danny Boyle discovered her at an audition for "Slumdog Millionaire." She played Latika, the love interest of Jamal Malik, who wins 20 million rupees on a television trivia show.

Following the dizzying success of the film, which took home eight Oscars and whose worldwide box office receipts so far are estimated at over $270 million, Pinto's fame spread quickly. She was recently cast in Woody Allen's next film, due to be filmed this summer in London, alongside Josh Brolin and Anthony Hopkins.

In "Miral," Pinto will be sharing the screen with female lead Hiam Abbass ("Lemon Tree"), a Palestinian actress who lives in France. The film's Israeli producer, Eran Riklis, said yesterday that casting for the film has not been completed.