In tonight's 81st annual Academy Awards, "Slumdog Millionaire" is among the nominees -- some even say the favored nominee -- for best picture. ABC's David Muir recently had the opportunity to speak with the film's leading actress, Freida Pinto, 24, about her first feature film in the United States. Below is the transcript of their conversation.
David Muir: How are you feeling? Any butterflies?
Freida Pinto: A bit nervous but well excited. This is my first time at the Oscars ever. First film and first massive major awards ceremony so, very excited.
David Muir: You say this is your first Oscars, in fact it's your first real movie ever, right?
Freida Pinto: Absolutely, first movie ever. It all started two years ago with an audition process that lasted six months. I had absolutely no idea whether I was going to be in or out and after six months I was finalized as Latika. So it took me a long while to get there but it was worth every moment that I put in.
David Muir: If you had to go back in time just a year or two could you ever have imagined being in Hollywood walking down red carpet?
Freida Pinto: No, absolutely not. I don't' think so because even when I was auditioning to the film, I really didn't think it was going to be one of those films that goes to the Oscars. It was just one of those films which I knew was a special film, and that was it. It just started with it and ended at that. So I think it's a massive blessing.
David Muir: Did you ever have dreams that you would be one of these actresses picking out a dress for the Oscars?
Freida Pinto: Well, I always had dreams about wearing dresses and meeting actresses and actors who I've always admired and idolized, but I didn't think it was going to be a the Oscars.
David Muir: How difficult was it to shoot the move in those neighborhoods?
Freida Pinto: You know the most challenging part was to get people to not look into the camera because what happens is back in India, very much like in America, people are crazy about the film industry and the moment they see a camera and the moment they see a director, they actors they start looking straight into the camera. You have to include everyone in Mumbai -- there's a million people around commuting, probably going to work, going back home with these million stories written on their faces, you have include all of them and that's what makes this film really complete. So I guess it might have been a challenge but Danny Boyle, they had to take it up, he did the job.
David Muir: How many takes did it take just to get the dance right?
Freida Pinto: We did it over three nights and we rehearsed over two weeks and these dancers, these background dances came in on the day of the shoot, picked up the dance in like five minutes. It was the most fun part of the film where you could just have this release and uplifting moment. It was kind of funny because the entire station was cleared out for the dance, and you never get to see that in Bombay.
David Muir: How often have you been asked to redo the dance as you travel through the states?
Freida Pinto: Almost everyone, which is why you have to go around telling people you know what, 'Slumdog's' not just about the dance. We've done it almost everywhere, please don't ask me to do it here. I cant even say I'm living a dream because honestly not even in my wildest would I imagine this to be my first film. Honestly I don't know what to make of this.
David Muir: I was reading up on you and I read that you actually used to dress up as a teletubby as one of your first jobs.
Freida Pinto: Well yeah, that is something… there was this one off occasion where someone backed out and required someone dress up as teletubby for this party and I was the only one who was free, so I said okay Freida why not. As you see in the film with every question we start revisiting his life's stories, one by one and you realize that his ultimate aim of going on to that game show was never about the money and that's a beautiful message, because at the end of it all he wants is his one true love who he knows is going to keep him really, really happy and he that's the only thing he wants in life. So I guess it's a beautiful message of hope as well at the end of the film that you just keep trying and trying and trying and you might just get what you want.
David Muir: Are you ready for the red carpet?
Freida Pinto: Still practicing my walk--its' a performance.
David Muir: Well Freida, good luck, we wish you all the best tonight!
Freida Pinto: Thank you David.