New York: The cast came out to play at the premiere of Indian-born director Tarsem Singh's Greek god battle action film, Immortals in Los Angeles. Henry Cavill wore a suit that barely contained his Superman physique, while his co-star Freida Pinto was chic in a metallic, textured Antonio Berardi gown. The big-budget 3D film opens on Friday.
The stunning visuals and bloody fight scenes from 300 return, but with the additional gloss of Greek gods and Henry Cavill starring as Theseus, Mickey Rourke as bad-ass King Hyperion and our own Pinto as the Sybelline Oracle, Phaedra who is more than just a "token girl" in the movie.
Pinto lends her brooding sensuousness to Immortals and has a steamy love scene in the movie with Cavill, who is currently filming the next Superman movie. The romance blooms when Pinto helps Theseus assemble a small band of warriors and embrace his destiny in a desperate battle against King Hyperion and his murderous Heraklion army.
There is a memorable moment in the film when the actress’s naked derrière gets so close to the camera that her backside takes up half the screen. The press has gone wild about how this is Pinto’s first nude scene, but the actress burst everyone’s bubble after the premiere.
“You are going to be very disappointed when I tell you this, but that was a body double,” said Pinto.
“That wasn't you at all?” asked shocked Barry Koltnow of the Orange County Register.
“The close-ups of the face were me, of course, but the whole stripping down scene was a body double. I wasn't even asked to do the scene. The director said there would be a body double and that was it. He pretty much knew what he wanted, and he felt like he didn't need me for the scene,” Pinto told the LA-based daily.
Pinto said she felt no insult that the director never asked her to do the sex scene. “People seem to have no issue saying they had stunt doubles for particular scenes. They even brag about having stunt doubles, and he (the director) said there shouldn't be an issue over it. His feeling was that there was no actual acting in that part of the scene, so why should I be there?”
Pinto has managed to get her foot in Hollywood after catapulting to stardom on the back of her role as Latika in Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire. She has had a string of big movies this year and a higher profile in Hollywood after blockbusters such as Immortals and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Last year, she did two strong independent films including Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.
“There are so many stories of people of my ethnicity who have come ahead of me and tried and not made it. It's scary to think of that, but I guess the timing was better for me. That defining moment came for me before the Oscars ceremony when I got a call to audition for a role in Julian Schnabel's film Miral, and I was given the part. And then, three days later, I was given the part in the Woody Allen film,” said Pinto.
Immortals producer Mark Canton knew they’d found their Phaedra in Pinto; “It was time for her to step up and be a real movie star,” he says. “She’s phenomenal looking. She’s a real professional. She felt like the most natural part of the movie for us. There was no question that we wanted Freida Pinto.”
Pinto’s otherworldly air won director Singh’s immediate approval. “Phaedra needed to be exotic compared to most of the people in her world,” says Singh. “People might expect that because it’s a Greek film, she would be Greek, but that’s not what I envisioned. When I met Freida I just said, she’s it.”
There are obvious Indian footprints all over Immortals from the lead actress to the director Tarsem Singh, but what is not as well known is the fact that the producers saved money by shooting in 2D and converting to 3D in post-production in Mumbai. The bulk of the conversion was handled by the Khar facility of Prime Focus. Brilliant 3D stereographer David Stump spent months in Mumbai supervising the work.
Immortals, which cost $85 million, was shot in 62 days on a soundstage in Montreal using digital cameras. Director Tarsem Singh has a reputation for creating visually stunning films starting with his 2000 debut film The Cell. He moved from India to the US to study business at Harvard, but soon turned to film studies at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design where he developed his visually energetic style.
Singh said Immortals served as a "Trojan horse," a vehicle to realise his personal vision on a grand scale. “I love reading Greek myths,” says Singh. “But I was not interested in making a film based on the originals. I was intrigued by the relationship between gods and humans. So I thought, we could take some traditional tales and, like in Renaissance painting, use the mythology as the basis, but add things that are relevant to our time.”
As a result, Immortals is an adrenaline-fueled action adventure, packed with daredevil stunts, special effects and the excitement that 3-D can deliver. There’s a lot of testosterone in this movie.
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Updated Date: Nov 11, 2011 12:01:35 IST
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