‘Slumdog’ star heads to Israel

The sexy starlet of “Slumdog Millionaire” will kick start her newfound film career in Israel. In the month since “Slumdog” swept the 2009 Oscars with eight wins, Pinto has become Hollywood’s hot, new commodity. Woody Allen snagged her for his next film, an untitled project set in London co-starring Nicole Kidman, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins and Naomi Watts. And earlier today, it was announced that Pinto is in Israel to film “Miral,” about Palestinian and Israeli women, written and directed by Julian Schnabel. Props to Pinto for her business savvy—even as a newbie, her choices suggest ambition for a serious acting career.

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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.”

In “Miral,” Pinto will be sharing the screen with female lead Hiam Abbass (“Lemon Tree”), a Palestinian actress who lives in France.