Voice For Iranian Women In 'Fog'

There are some stories that prove it's never too late to dream. For almost 15 years, actress Shohreh Aghdashloo struggled in her career. Then she heard of the book "House Of Sand And Fog," a selection on the Oprah book club.

When she envisioned herself playing one of the lead characters, her husband told her "keep dreaming".

She took his advice to heart and now has an Oscar nomination for her performance. She tells The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler getting the part was "pure luck."

She says, "When I first read the book, I told him that if one day they make a movie out this book and they do not give me this role, it's really unfair of them, really unfair. And I think somewhere God heard me and sent me the screenplay. When they called me and told me it is for 'House of Sand and Fog' and they wanted me to audition, I was speechless."

The Iranian stage and screen star says she identified with her character Nadi in more ways than just the shared cultural background. She plays Massoud Amir Behrani's wife who is caught in a tug-of-war between her husband, played by Ben Kingsley, and Kathy Nicolo (Jennifer Connelly) over a house.

Aghdashloo says, "All throughout my life, I had witnessed women like Nadi. And as an actress, when I read the book, I wished that one day it would turn into a film and I wished that I would be able to play her after all."

In the film Behrani is a former Colonel in the Iranian Air Force, who fled Iran and has been reduced to working menial jobs in America to maintain a pretense of affluence. Now he pours the last of his life savings into the purchase of the house that will, at last, bring back the prosperity his family once knew.

Nicolo is a woman who had been left by her husband and had recovered from drug addiction when she suddenly is wrongly evicted from her house for non-payment of a tax she never owed.

Interestingly, Nicolo finds an unlikely source of compassion in Nadi, who regards Nicolo as a person wounded by life. She comes to treat Nicolo more like a daughter than as a person who poses a threat to her home, and the two women form an uneasy bond. And though Nadi is a shy woman, at one point she gets to speak out.

Aghdashloo says, "I have watched the film almost 10 times. And been involved with it for almost three months. But, still, it is pretty hard for me, because it makes me feel about the others who have not been heard so far, all the voices of people who have not been heard. "

The actress hope is that her role would give people some understanding of women like Nadi.

She says, "Next time when one of us is going to see one of these ladies, bitter, standing in the corner of a shop and God forbid if you cut through, she goes, like, making angry sounds and you ask yourself, 'I've given her a place to live and food and democracy and freedom and why on earth she is still so bitter,' you would know where she's coming from."

Her performance earned her the Oscar nomination. She already knows what she is wearing for the event: Valentino. "I love his designs," she says, "They're very feminine. That's why I like him so much."

And as for her career she says, "It took me 25 years to become successful overnight." Now, she says directors are calling and the screenplays are pouring in. "Thank God, it's changing. Life is changing for good."