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Kidman's Interpreter disappoints ambassadors

Story by: Jack Foley

NICOLE Kidman has been busy making friends at the United Nations as part of preparations for her latest movie, The Interpreter.

The Oscar-winning actress stars alongside Sean Penn in the Sydney Pollack directed tale of a UN interpreter, who comes to New York from a fictional African country troubled by civil unrest.

Penn will play a Secret Service agent trying to prevent the leader of a country from being killed.

The movie marks the first time that Hollywood has been given permission to film inside the UN headquarters and, as part of her preparation, Kidman attended a Security Council meeting on Iraq to watch translators in action.

She was also given an interpreter's booth at the UN.

However, while the actress has gone down a storm among ambassadors, the film itself has led to some being disappointed.

Several of the real-life ambassadors at the buildng had been hoping to appear in the movie, but were frustrated to find that actors are to play the roles of diplomats instead.

According to a report on the BBC's website, Spain's UN ambassador, Inocencio Arias said he was one of those to have missed out, having earmarked a role as a prime minister.

Arias, who has appeared previously in films, is quoted as saying: "It was my dream that I was going to be in a movie with Sydney Pollack directing.

"He's one of my heroes in the movie industry. But then the day before the shooting they called and said the union had some reservation, some qualms.

"I wasn't even going to charge any money. If they had to give me some money, I was going to give it to research."

In attempting to explain the situation to the ambassador, however, Pollack initially claimed it was a 'UN decision', but then insisted that a lot of ambassadors and UN staff did not have the relevant work permits to be paid by an American film company.

But his comments have done little to appease the diplomats, with Jordan's ambassador, Prince Zeid Al Hussein, adding that it was 'a great shame' they weren't allowed to appear in the movie.

"We're very familiar with the work of interpreters... and we feel well attuned to do that sort of thing," he insisted.

Kidman and Penn began shooting The Interpreter in March, and it should be finished in time for a US release in November.

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