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Penn, Kidman film to shoot at the U.N.

‘The Interpreter’ tells the story of an assassination plot
/ Source: Reuters

The United Nations said on Thursday that a movie starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn would be made at U.N. headquarters in New York, where Hollywood has failed for decades to get permission to film.

The movie, to be directed by Sydney Pollack, is called “The Interpreter.” Kidman would play a Kenyan-born U.N. translator who overhears an assassination plot, becomes a target herself and helps stop the killing of an African leader addressing the U.N. General Assembly.

Shashi Tharoor, the U.N. undersecretary-general for public affairs, said it was the first time in recent memory the world body, including Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the presidents of the Security Council and the General Assembly, had allowed a feature film to be made in the building.

The United Nations rejected Alfred Hitchcock’s overtures to shoot part of the 1959 film “North by Northwest,” which opened with scenes of U.N. lounges.

“It is a way of making the United Nations accessible to people who would not ordinarily think of the U.N.,” said Tharoor, instrumental in getting approval for the film.

“We certainly expect to reach far more people than any public affairs initiative we could have undertaken,” Tharoor said. “Our consistent effort under Kofi Annan is to demystify the organization and give people a sense of what the U.N. is all about, how it looks and how it matters.”

Chilean Ambassador Herald Munoz, this month’s Security Council president, told Reuters earlier in the week the only query he received was from his Spanish colleague, Inocencio Arias, who wondered how one became an extra.