It's TMBWITW Time...Again
It has been some time since we've mutinied over Ms. Aishwarya Rai, the Bollywood bombshell who in her past couple of film ventures hasn't had too much luck conquering the western film market. Rai, who made her Hollywood debut in the somewhat successful English ode to Bollywood, Bride and Prejudice and flopped in the poorly executed (yet visually exciting) Mistress of Spices, may have scored a nice role and hopefully a better foray into the west with her role as Mira, a sword-wielding warriorete, in Doug Lefler's, The Last Legion. The film, which stars Sir Ben Kingsley and Colin Firth --Rai impressively receives third billing -- is the story of twelve-year-old emperor Romulus Augustus, who in the midst of the fall of the Roman Empire, escapes to join up with a small band of survivors who make their way to Britain in search of the chotu ruler's ultimate legion, one of which I take is Miss Rai.
I have to say after seeing the trailer (I know, it is just the trailer) Aishwarya's performance looks quite good (link). The role is completely different than anything she has been in before, the cast is stellar (Ben Kingsley was Gandhi!), and Ash as an ass-kicking, sword handling fighter is a nice contrast to the usual, happy-go-lucky, Bhangra-circle dancing Ms. World that we are used to seeing. It can only be a good thing that she is moving away from doing the strictly desi themed film and towards playing a non-ethnic role. A well-received performance here, in an actual mainstream film, has the potential to really catapult her to the Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz levels, and on top of all that, Rai has extra incentive for this film to be successful, she bought the Indian rights. The Last Legion rated PG 13 is being distributed by MGM and the Weinsteins, and is set to release sometime in 2007 (I've seen both January 19 and April 27 as potential release dates).