- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Stealth visit

Nicole Kidman slipped in and out of the United Nations headquarters in New York this week to prepare for her role in the upcoming Sydney Pollack movie, “The Interpreter.”

In it, she plays a U.N. translator who overhears a conversation that could cost her her life.

Miss Kidman watched U.N. interpreters in action Tuesday during a Security Council meeting on Iraq. She arrived and left the interpreters’ booth above the council chamber without reporters or photographers noticing her, according to the Associated Press.

Last week, “Interpreter” co-star Sean Penn was here in Washington to prepare for his role as a Secret Service agent, but much of the movie’s action will take place inside U.N. headquarters — a first for a Hollywood film.

While the outside of the building has appeared in numerous movies, no director had been permitted to film inside until Mr. Pollack asked U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan last month.

Mr. Annan agreed in principle, and, according to the Associated Press, the presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council gave the green light for “The Interpreter” to be filmed inside the United Nations.

Metallica’s ‘Monster’

In more rock movie news, the heavy-metal band Metallica has scored a distributor for its documentary movie, “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.”

IFC Films has agreed to back the theatrical release of the movie, which was directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky and won praise at the Sundance Film Festival for its in-depth portrayal of the tribulations surrounding the band’s “St. Anger” album.

It documents intense clashes between singer-guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich as well as the former’s five-month leave for alcohol rehabilitation, which threw the band’s future in doubt for nearly a year. “Monster” also captures scenes involving the firing and replacement of bassist Jason Newsted.

Throughout the movie lurks one Phil Towle, the group’s collective therapist.

Doing it his way

Neil Young fans know to expect the unexpected. Consider “Greendale,” an environmentalist concept album, which has become a movie in which Mr. Young performs its songs as a cast play-acts the “Greendale” narrative behind him.

“There’s a real clash of the cultures now of what music is really about and what performing is really about and what people expect in this entertainment era,” Mr. Young told the Los Angeles Daily News. “They really think you need to do certain things, like all your hits.

“People have gotten so lulled into this feeling of knowing what to expect and believing that’s what they’re supposed to get. For me, it’s just a great feeling to do something different and have it work.”

“Greendale” opens in the District March 19.

Now it’s official

The Washington Opera has become the Washington National Opera.

In a Capitol Hill press conference held yesterday afternoon in the Russell Senate Office Building, the organization’s president, Michael R. Sonnenreich, announced that its Board of Trustees has voted to rename the company, formally acknowledging its designation as the National Opera of the United States as passed by an act of Congress in 2000. The company’s general director, Placido Domingo, also was present.

The conference was attended by current and past members of Congress who had spearheaded the legislation, including Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, and Paul S. Sarbanes, Maryland Democrat, and Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat, and former Rep. William Goodling, Pennsylvania Republican.

Mr. Kennedy remarked that seeing Republicans and Democrats smiling in the same room these days “is a rare thing, and only the Washington National Opera can do that.”

T.L. Ponick

Puddle of booze

His name is “Mudd.”

Puddle of Mudd was just 15 minutes into its Toledo, Ohio, show Sunday when intoxicated lead singer Wesley Scantlin threw a bottle and began spitting at the crowd of more than 1,000.

Undercover state liquor agents decided to arrest him, said Earl Mack, an agent with the Ohio Department of Public Safety’s investigative unit.

“We thought we were going to have a riot based on this guy’s conduct,” Mr. Mack told the Associated Press. “It could have been a lot worse.”

We hope he’s better behaved when the band performs at the 9:30 Club March 22.

Compiled by Scott Galupo from staff, wire and Web reports.

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