The Interpreter: Principal photography has begun on the suspense thriller "The Interpreter," from Academy Award®-winning director Sydney Pollack and starring Oscar® winners Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn, on location at the United Nations and in New York.
Directed by Pollack, whose classic thrillers "Three Days of the Condor," "Absence of Malice" and "The Firm" have set the standard for the genre, the film stars Nicole Kidman as African-born U.N. interpreter Silvia Broome, who inadvertently overhears a death threat against an African head of state scheduled to address the United Nation's General Assembly. Realizing she's become a target of the assassins as well, Silvia's desperate to thwart the plot ... if only she can survive long enough to get someone to believe her. Sean Penn is Tobin Keller, the federal agent charged with protecting the interpreter, who nonetheless suspects she may not be telling the whole truth. Silvia and Tobin, by nature, see life from different points of view: one, a U.N. interpreter, believes in the power and sanctity of words; the other, a Secret Service agent, believes in reading people based on their behavior, no matter what is said.
"The Interpreter" marks the first time a motion picture has been granted permission by the United Nations to film inside its historic headquarters in New York. U. N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, after meeting with Sydney Pollack, was instrumental in leading the decision of officials from both the General Assembly and the Security Council to consider allowing unprecedented access to the production.
"Although 'The Interpreter' is first and foremost a suspense thriller," stated Sydney Pollack, "the film is in sync with the values of the U.N. and its policies, in that it is against using violence to settle problems between people and countries."
With full U. N. cooperation, and because of efforts made on behalf of the film by the New York State Governor's Office for Motion Picture and Television Development, the Empire State Development Corporation, the Film Office of the City of New York, unions, local vendors and Universal Pictures, the filmmakers are pleased that "The Interpreter" will shoot the entire production in New York City.
"We are thrilled to have the production of 'The Interpreter' shoot entirely in our great state," said Governor Pataki. "I would like to thank Universal; director Sydney Pollack; Charles Gargano, Chairman of Empire State Development Corporation; and the entire New York production community for pulling together to keep this project in New York."
"By extending the number of production weeks from three to sixteen, 'The Interpreter' will mean hundreds of additional jobs for New Yorkers and millions more for our local economy," said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "I thank Sydney Pollack and Universal for agreeing to film their entire feature here in New York City, and our valued neighbor, the United Nations, for providing N.Y.C. with this unprecedented opportunity. When labor, government and the film industry work together, anything can happen, and in this case, it is something truly spectacular for all involved."
From Universal Pictures, "The Interpreter" -- a Working Title Production in association with Misher Films and Mirage Entertainment -- is a suspenseful thriller of international intrigue set inside the political corridors of the U.N. and on the streets of New York. "The Interpreter" is produced by Working Title's Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, and Kevin Misher and is written by Charles Randolph ("The Secret Life of David Gale"), Scott Frank ("Minority Report") and Steven Zaillian ("Schindler's List," "Gangs of New York"). Academy Award® nominee Catherine Keener ("Being John Malkovich") co-stars. Executive producers are Pollack, Anthony Minghella ("Cold Mountain") and G. Mac Brown. Liza Chasin and Debra Hayward co-produce.
Joining Pollack behind the camera are: director of photography Darius Khondji ("Delicatessen," "Seven," "Evita"); production designer John Hutman ("Something's Gotta Give," "The Horse Whisperer"); costume designer Sarah Edwards ("Uptown Girls," "Igby Goes Down"); and editor William Steinkamp (Pollack's collaborator on such films as "Tootsie" and "Out of Africa").
Helping to define the thriller genre with such landmark films as "Three Days of the Condor," "Absence of Malice" and "The Firm," lauded filmmaker Sydney Pollack has directed 18 films which have received a total of 46 Academy Award® nominations. Pollack himself has been nominated three times, winning the Best Director Oscar® for "Out of Africa," which won seven Academy Awards®, including Best Picture. Pollack won the 1982 New York Film Critics Award for his film "Tootsie." He has won the Golden Globe for Best Director twice, as well as the National Society of Film Critics Award, the NATO Director of the Year Award and prizes at the Brussels, Belgrade, San Sebastian, Moscow and Taormina Film Festivals. Most recently he was presented the Directors Guild of America John Huston Award by the Artists Rights Foundation.
Pollack is also an accomplished actor and has appeared in Woody Allen's "Husbands and Wives," Robert Altman's "The Player," Robert Zemeckis' "Death Becomes Her," Steven Zaillian's "A Civil Action," Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut" and Roger Michel's "Changing Lanes."
In 1985, Pollack formed Mirage Productions. Under that banner he has produced such films as "Presumed Innocent," "The Fabulous Baker Boys," "White Palace," "Major League," "Dead Again," "Searching for Bobby Fischer," "Sense and Sensibility," "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and "Cold Mountain." In 2000, Anthony Minghella became a partner in Mirage Enterprises.
Pollack is a founding member of the Sundance Institute, the Chairman Emeritus of the American Cinematheque, a sustaining founder of the Artists Rights Board of Director's Guild and on the Board of Directors for the Film Preservation Board and the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation.
Nicole Kidman's range and versatility have won her wide acclaim for her daring performances. Kidman won the 2003 Academy Award® for Best Actress, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA Film Award and the Berlin Film Festival's Silver Bear for her performance as the great 20th century writer Virginia Woolf in Stephen Daldry's "The Hours." In 2001, she starred in two of the year's biggest box-office hits, "The Others" and "Moulin Rouge!," receiving an Oscar® nomination for her performance in the latter. Most recently, Kidman starred in Anthony Mingella's "Cold Mountain" (her sixth Golden Globe-nominated performance and fourth nomination from the Broadcast Film Critics Association), Lars Von Trier's provocative "Dogville" and in Robert Benton's "The Human Stain." In November, 2003, Kidman was presented with the American Cinematheque Award, honoring her as an "extraordinary artist currently making a significant contribution to the art of the Moving Picture" -- she was only the second actress in the award's 18-year history to be so honored. Her upcoming films include Jonathan Glazer's "Birth" and Frank Oz's "The Stepford Wives."
Kidman first came to the attention of international audiences with her critically acclaimed performance in the 1989 thriller "Dead Calm," directed by Philip Noyce. Since then, she has become one of the most sought after actresses in film, and has been the choice of such directors as Robert Benton ("Billy Bathgate"), Ron Howard ("Far and Away"), Joel Schumacher ("Batman Forever"), Jane Campion ("The Portrait of a Lady"), Mimi Leder ("The Peacemaker") and Stanley Kubrick ("Eyes Wide Shut"). Her 1995 appearance in Gus Van Sant's "To Die For" brought her a Golden Globe, and Best Actress Awards from the Boston Film Critics, the National Broadcast Film Critics, London Film Critics and the Seattle Film Festival. She also received a BAFTA nomination.
Oscar® winner Sean Penn has become one of the most respected actors of his generation during a career spanning just over two decades. Most recently, Penn opened to rave reviews for his searing performance in Clint Eastwood's "Mystic River," for which he won an Academy Award® and a Golden Globe for Best Actor. He has previously been nominated three times for the Academy Award® for Best Actor: in 1995 for Tim Robbins' "Dead Man Walking" and in 1999 for Woody Allen's "Sweet and Lowdown," performances which also earned him Golden Globe nominations; and in 2001 for Jessie Nelson's "I Am Sam." In addition, Penn received his first Golden Globe nomination in 1994 for his performance in Brian De Palma's "Carlito's Way."
Penn made his feature film acting debut in 1981 in Harold Becker's "Taps." In 1982, he entered popular culture, starring as Jeff Spicoli in Amy Heckerling's "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." Penn went on to appear in numerous memorable roles in films such as John Schlesinger's "The Falcon and the Snowman," James Foley's "At Close Range," Dennis Hopper's "Colors," Brian De Palma's "Casualties of War," Phil Joanou's "State of Grace," David Fincher's "The Game," and Anthony Drazan's adaptation of the stage play "Hurlyburly," a role which won him the Best Actor award at the 1998 Venice Film Festival.
Penn expanded his role in the filmmaking process with the creation of his own production company, Clyde Is Hungry Films. Through this company, Penn has produced and appeared in Erin Dignam's "Loved," executive-produced and starred in Nick Cassavetes' "She's So Lovely," appeared in Oliver Stone's "U-Turn," and produced and directed the critically acclaimed drama, "The Pledge," starring Jack Nicholson.
Penn's feature film directorial debut came with 1991's "The Indian Runner," which he also wrote and produced. In 1995, he directed Anjelica Huston to Golden Globe and Screen Actor's Guild Award nominations in "The Crossing Guard," which Penn also wrote and produced. The film featured highly acclaimed performances by Jack Nicholson and David Morse, as well. Most recently, Penn wrote and directed the United States' contribution to the documentary film 11'09"01. This important film (honored by the National Board of Review) gathered 11 acclaimed directors from around the world to create short films in response to the horrific events of September 11, 2001.
Penn was also recently seen in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "21 Grams," opposite Benicio del Toro and Naomi Watts; his performance won him the Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival. Furthermore, Penn won this year's Best Actor award from the National Board of Review (for both "Mystic River" and "21 Grams"), was nominated for a SAG award, and won the BFCA's Critics Choice Award and numerous critics groups' awards for "Mystic River."
In 2002, Sean Penn was presented with the Modern Master Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. In 2003, he was the youngest to receive the Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award from the San Sebastien Film Festival.
Penn recently completed production starring in "The Assassination of Richard Nixon" for director Niels Mueller.
Founded in 1983, Working Title Films has been co-chaired by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner since 1992. Between them, the pair has produced more than 65 motion pictures which have amassed more than $2.5 billion worldwide. To date, their films have won four Academy Awards®, 17 BAFTA Awards and won prestigious prizes at the Cannes and Berlin film festivals, among many other honors, including a total of 26 Oscar® and 41 BAFTA nominations. Working Title was recently presented with the Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema at this year's Orange British Academy Film Awards.
Working Title Films is Europe's most prolific production company, as well as the pre-eminent producer of English-language films outside the United States. Working Title has produced a roster of films that have defied boundaries as well as demographics; among their commercial and critical hits are "About a Boy;" "Notting Hill;" "Elizabeth;" "Fargo;" "Dead Man Walking;" "Bean;" "High Fidelity;" "Billy Elliot;" "Four Weddings and a Funeral;" "Bridget Jones's Diary;" "O Brother, Where Art Thou?;" "Thirteen;" and the recent worldwide hit "Love Actually," among many others. Their upcoming slate of features also includes "Thunderbirds," "Wimbledon" and "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason."
Producer Kevin Misher, head of Misher Films, continues to draw on his deep connections within Hollywood's community of directors, writers and actors to assemble a diverse slate of high profile projects that cross genre lines. The former production head of Universal Pictures (his successful tenure as executive vice president and then president saw the release of such blockbusters as "Meet the Parents," "The Fast and the Furious," "The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns" and "Erin Brockovich"), Misher most recently produced "The Rundown" and "The Scorpion King" under his namesake banner.