Mallika leaves her Bikinis for Burqa!
Monday, March 12, 2007 12:24 IST
By Santa Banta News Network
First, it was Jackie Chan in Myth, and now it is Bill Bannerman, Hollywood stalwart Clint Eastwood's right-hand man. What's with Mallika Sherawat impressing foreign directors? Our very own oomph girl Mallika Sherawat now has signed for a woman-centric Hollywood film "Unveiled" to be directed by Bannerman.

"It's a fantastic story - part thriller, part psychological drama, part film noir... It was so fast paced and exciting and so well written, I couldn't put it down for a second," said Mallika.

"And the icing on the cake was that it's a story from the point of view of a woman -- a woman who has relationships with three men from different continents, and she goes from an ultra-traditional Muslim environment to an ultra-liberal Western one. This is a script I could never say no to," she added.

Bannerman is Clint Eastwood's assistant director and has been honoured by the Director's Guild of America as the best assistant director for "Unforgiven", the film, which went on to win Oscar awards for best director and best film.

About casting the Indian actress, Bannerman said: "I was impressed by Mallika's acting prowess in 'Murder' and knew by instinct that she will be able to do justice to the role perfectly."

Praising the actress further Bannerman said he was taken aback by her level of professionalism and was surprised to find out that she doesn't have a larger body of work and that Bollywood had not tapped the talent as yet.

Bannerman has a phenomenal resume, which includes four films with Clint Eastwood -- "Unforgiven", "Bridges of Madison County", "A Perfect World" and "Absolute Power".

He has also worked as the development executive for "Payback", "Mission Impossible", and "Star Trek: First Contact" and was the executive producer for "The Grudge 2" and "Walking Tall".

Bannerman is directing the feature film with his mentor Eastwood's blessing.

Talking about the film, Bannerman said: "'Unveiled' is a film about a Muslim woman who has two husbands and a lover. It is a twisted film noir, sexy thriller and dark drama. It is the first Hollywood film to feature a female Muslim protagonist.

Describing the character, to be played by Mallika, he said: "Behind the dark burqa (veil), there lies a sexy, manipulative victim, who's dangerous as well as in grave danger."

Many actresses were considered for the role, before zeroing in on Mallika, that is.

Sources reveal, "Hillary Swank and Penelope Cruz had shown interest, but they wanted the actress to be a South Asian or from the Middle East so that she could portray the character of a Muslim woman from the Middle East, and lend a degree of authenticity in terms of accent, body language, knowledge of customs, etc."

Mallika managed to beat actresses Aishwarya Rai and Shilpa Shetty to it.

"Aishwarya Rai and Shilpa Shetty were strong contenders. But speculations are rife that Aishwarya Rai had date problems and her impending marriage plans would have been a possible hindrance.

As for Shilpa Shetty, she only has a big name. In reality, she still hasn't signed anything worthwhile so far," says our source.
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