Belfast Telegraph

Nicole Kidman impressed how far young movie son has come from the streets of India

The Lion star communicated with her screen son using a sort of sign language because he didn't speak English at the time.

Indian child star Sunny Pawar has perfected his English for awards season.

The newcomer, who has won acclaim for his role in Lion opposite Nicole Kidman, couldn't speak English when the film started production and director Garth Davis had to create a new language so he could communicate with his young star.

"He arrived and he didn't speak any English," Nicole tells the New York Times. "He wasn't an actor. The director (Garth Davis) had to build a language that was sort of miming and not verbal so Sunny could understand what he meant.

"Because I was female he would react to me differently and sometimes push me away and I had to mime, 'gentle, gentle soft', and he'd sort of wink at me and smile. Garth said the way I was going to rehearse with him was to play a sport. I tried but I'm not the most athletic (person). I can kind of hit a ball, but not really. I was faking it but it bonded us through cricket and then soccer."

Co-star Dev Patel adds, "He was picked from 2,000 kids and I was in India waiting to do my stuff. It was like daddy day care with hundreds of Indian kids crying but they found Sunny. He'd never been on a plane before or in front of a camera let alone seen a Hollywood film, and he leads the film for more than the first half of it."

Nicole can't wait to hook up with her movie son again when awards season gets serious this weekend (08Jan17) with the Golden Globes, adding, "He's a really bright boy and he speaks English now which is a beautiful thing."

Lion is up for three top prizes at the Globes, including Best Picture.

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