- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PARIS (AP) - France’s first lady, a former supermodel turned singer, is making her debut as an actress, filming Wednesday in the shadow of Notre Dame cathedral for Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris.”

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy jotted in a notebook while seated next to actor Owen Wilson on a park bench. Allen gave instructions, while dozens of onlookers tried to get a glimpse of the action on the cordoned-off Jean XXIII Square.

The French president showed up on a nearby set Tuesday, in dark suit but no tie, to watch his spouse in her latest creative venture.

Allen, beloved by the French, recruited Bruni-Sarkozy last fall for a role in the romantic comedy which follows a family traveling in Paris for business. France’s first lady reportedly plays a museum director.

This week’s scenes were shot in the heart of Paris, near the Pantheon, the resting place of many of France’s luminaries, and on the Ile de la Cite, the island that hosts Notre Dame.

In November, when she announced her plans to accept Allen’s offer of a role, the 42-year-old Bruni-Sarkozy had said she was unsure of her acting skills.

“I’m not at all an actress. Maybe I’ll be absolutely terrible,” she said in an interview with Canal Plus TV station.

However, she said she couldn’t pass up the chance to play in a Woody Allen film.

“I’d like to _ you know _ when I’m a grandmother, to have done a Woody Allen film,” said Bruni-Sarkozy, who has a son from a relationship before Sarkozy. “I cannot in my life miss an opportunity like this.”

Bruni-Sarkozy had a small role in the 1994 Robert Altman film “Pret-a-Porter” (Ready to Wear) and the 1998 move “Paparazzi,” by Alain Berberian, each time playing herself. Her sister Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi is an actress and director.

When Allen was once asked what famous person he would like to see act, the Dalai Lama or the queen of England, he replied: “Carla Bruni”, according to the first lady’s Web site. “She has charisma and she’s used to appearing on stage. I could give her any role at all,” the site quotes the director as saying.

Bruni released a new album two years ago but refused to tour and gives royalties to the Foundation of France.

It was not clear whether she was being paid for her Allen film role.

The film also features Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard. Other stars are Rachel McAdams and Kathy Bates.

___

Story Continues →