EW Staff
February 11, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

We’re dying to see ”The Interpreter”


WHY WE CAN’T WAIT It’s fun to hear Nicole Kidman try out a few new accents, and to watch Sean Penn do anything.

THE PREMISE Kidman’s a United Nations interpreter who overhears an assassination plot; Penn’s the skeptical federal agent assigned to protect her.

SOURCE A screenplay by Charles Randolph, Scott Frank, and Oscar winner Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List), from a story by Martin Stellman and Brian Ward

THE BACK STORY Not even Hitchcock got to film North by Northwest at the U.N.’s Manhattan headquarters, and the organization was reluctant to make an exception for Oscar winner Sydney Pollack (Out of Africa). But the director ultimately persuaded U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to let him shoot on location on weekends.

BURNING QUESTION Doesn’t Annan have better things to do than respond to queries from Hollywood directors?

COME FOR Kidman and Penn, two recent Academy Award winners on top of their game

STAY FOR That location work, which — according to Kidman — pays off in authenticity and atmosphere. ”The weight of that building, the magnitude of what’s gone on there,” she says, ”you feel it as an audience.”

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