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Why Eva From Only Looks So Familiar

One of the more surprising movies to pop into Netflix's Top 10 in recent days is a timely indie sci-fi gem from 2019 called Only. The largely overlooked flick follows the tale of a young couple named Will and Eva who are desperately trying to survive an epidemic that's killed every woman on Earth — every woman except Eva, that is. That fact naturally complicates their lives in increasingly dangerous ways, especially when Eva's existence is discovered by a pair of bounty-hunting survivalists. Equal parts searing study in isolationist angst and harrowing survival thriller, Only propels itself forward on the strength of its cast, which features the familiar faces of Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton) and Chandler Riggs (Carl from The Walking Dead). 

The lone female in Only's principal cast will also likely seem a bit familiar. It belongs to Freida Pinto, who has appeared in a handful of high-profile projects in the last decade-plus. Here's why Eva from Only looks so familiar.

Freida Pinto tried to raise a wolf-child in Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

Only is hardly the first time Freida Pinto has made waves on Netflix. In fact, just a couple of years ago, she turned up in a key role for one of the streamer's biggest original productions, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. She was one of the few live-action characters in an all-star cast featuring the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Christian Bale, Naomi Harris, and Andy Serkis (who also directed the film).

You likely recognize the name Mowgli from the pages of Rudyard Kipling's iconic adventure tale The Jungle Book (adapted into Disney's Oscar-winning 1967 animated musical), about a human child raised by wolves in the wilds of India. Netflix's Mowgli retells that famed story, alongside others cribbed from the pages of Kipling's All The Mowgli Stories collection.

One of those secondary tales eventually finds young Mowgli (Rohan Chand) making his way into the human realm and being looked after by a caring woman named Messua, who is portrayed in the film by the one and only Freida Pinto. Unfortunately, Mowgli's time amongst the humans is limited, as the call of the wild proves too strong and the ways of humans too cruel. Still, Pinto is more than memorable even with brief screen time in Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle.   

Freida Pinto inspired some magic in Slumdog Millionaire

For anyone who bore witness to Freida Pinto's big-screen debut, the actor's potent screen presence was hardly surprising. That debut film was, of course, Danny Boyle's Best Picture winner Slumdog Millionaire, which found young Pinto portraying the film's troubled-slash-serendipitous female lead Latika. 

Set largely in the slums of Mumbai, Slumdog Millionaire finds a noble-hearted youngster named Jamal (the film's other breakout, Dev Patel) making a shocking run at the big prize on India's version of Who Wants to be A Millionaire?, only to be arrested and accused of cheating after claiming his millions. In defending himself to an investigator (the late, great Irffan Khan), he details how his own tragic life story fatefully led him to knowing the answer to every question asked of him on the game show's broadcast.

Part of that story involves him and his brother meeting a brave little girl who becomes one of their "family." Though the two are tragically separated from Latika, Jamal carries a torch for her into adulthood. He uses his appearance on the show to try and reconnect with the older Latika, who's grown into quite a beauty, though she's also gotten tangled with some seriously bad guys along the way, including Jamal's wayward brother Salim (Madhur Mittal).

Heavy as that narrative may sound, Slumdog Millionaire proved the feel-good movie of 2008 upon release, earning heaps of critical praise on its way to a nearly $400 million box office haul and a surprising awards season run that ended with the film netting that Best Picture statue. It also made a star of Pinto, who is as luminous as she is achingly fractured as the older Latika in the film.

Freida Pinto unknowingly helped start a war in Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Though she's tended more toward the independent side of cinema throughout her career, Freida Pinto is also no stranger to the blockbuster set. In 2011, the actor stepped very much into the summer movie spotlight when she scored a key role in one of the year's more unexpected success stories, the Planet of the Apes franchise reboot-slash-prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes. As it happens, this is also the film that first introduced Pinto to her future Mowgli director Andy Serkis (who played the chimpanzee Ceasar in the film via motion capture).  

Directed by Rupert Wyatt, Rise of the Planet of the Apes found James Franco portraying a brilliant young chemist who believes he's on the path to finding a cure for Alzheimer' Disease. That path leads him to test his serum on the titular primates, who soon revolt against their human captors and, as we well know, eventually claim Earth for themselves. 

Franco's character's partner is Dr. Carolina Aranha, a primatologist who offers keen insight into the simian mind while helping Ceasar develop his faculties. Dr. Aranha was portrayed by a fresh-faced Freida Pinto, who, even in the early stages of her career, more than held her own opposite the likes of established talents like Franco, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, and David Oyelowo.     

Freida Pinto played a mythological princess opposite the future Man of Steel in Immortals

In a perfect world, 2011 would have been the year that made Freida Pinto one of the biggest names in Hollywood. After breaking out via Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire and scoring the lead role in indie auteur Julian Schnabel's Miral, she more than made the case for stardom after her turn in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Unfortunately, one of her other 2011 releases slowed the momentum considerably. That release was the big budget spectacular Immortals, which, upon release in November of 2011, proved less than beloved by critics. Though it eventually turned a solid profit oversees, it went down as one of the year's bigger busts in the United States. 

While Immortals is hardly the definition of cinematic art, we can't help but wonder if U.S. audiences didn't judge the film too harshly. Yes, it lacks emotional depth, but that's not really the point of such movies; spectacle is. Of the spectacle on display in Immortals, we'll simply say that director Tarsem Singh (2000's The Cell, 2006's The Fall2012's Mirror Mirror) outdid himself in terms of scope and unbridled visual audacity for his telling of this tale of man vs. gods.

He did so with an absolutely stacked cast of players featuring the likes of silver screen stars John Hurt, Stephen Dorff, and Mickey Rourke. Among the film's rising stars were a pre-Man of Steel Henry Cavill, Luke Evans, and Freida Pinto, who really was great in the role of Phaedra, even if the film never quite gives her enough to do.