“As I play characters like Jas, this strengthened my belief in why I fight this fight. They make me want to do it more,” actress Freida Pinto says in her chat with Gold Derby (watch the exclusive video above) about her lead role in the historical miniseries “Guerrilla” on Showtime. The recent project co-stars Golden Globe and SAG Award winner Idris Elba, who also produces.
Pinto has been acting professionally since her BAFTA-nominated supporting performance in “Slumdog Millionaire,” the 2008 Oscar winner for Best Picture. She is also noted for her activism and explains, “This fame that comes along with a popular film like ‘Slumdog’ gives me the added advantage of using my voice for things that I really believe in [and] to talk about things that really matter to me and that matter to the human race.” Regarding how her role in “Guerrilla” fits into that, she notes, “One of the things that I learned from playing Jas is to keep the calm as much as I can and not to react with anger but to react with passion.” Pinto elaborates, “She is volatile, she is active, she is very impulsive at times and in playing a character like that, I understand that when someone’s under pressure, their reactions can go in any direction.”
Despite hailing from India, Pinto has mostly stuck to Hollywood productions in lieu of Bollywood over her career. “My instinct is to do things that people all over the world will watch, to do it on an international scale, even if it’s a little tiny indie film because I want more people to watch what I do because I want to be able to tell great stories,” she explains. “Guerrilla” notably marks Pinto’s first role on television after nine years in the industry, other than appearances as herself. She hopes that it is not her last, revealing, “I’m more than happy to do it just because I feel as a medium, it has changed so much and there is so much more now on television that is explored in terms of content, in terms of characters, in terms of character arc that we haven’t really seen in film lately.”
From showrunner John Ridley, the Oscar winner for “12 Years a Slave” (Best Adapted Screenplay, 2014) and Emmy nominee for “American Crime” (Best Limited Series, 2015 and 2016), “Guerrilla” is the first major dramatization of the 1970s Black Panther movement in England. “It’s material that has been explored for the first time. It’s very brave, but at the same time, it can be very controversial,” Pinto says before asking, “How come we don’t know about this time in Britain’s history? We know so much about the civil rights movement; how come we don’t know much about the British Black Panther movement?”
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