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Nic's off-screen dramas, the herald sun, March 27th 2005

"IT is very hard for a single woman in my position," says Nicole Kidman, carefully.


In one of her more dramatic visits home she has seen a film collapse, been involved in court action with a photographer and been romantically linked with the son of Mohammed Gaddafi ("that was business") and millionaire Steve Bing ("we are friends").


The court action against paparazzo Jamie Fawcett was actually suggested by the police.


"Apart from having photographers camped outside my front door all the time it was getting dangerous chasing my car through city streets," Kidman says.


"It was the police who suggested the action. They said you have the same rights as any other citizen."


And as for the shutdown of the film Eucalyptus she is not playing the blame game.


"It's very, very sad for me personally. I remember that part of the world from my childhood holidays and I really wanted the rest of the world to see a part of Australia we know about but they don't."


On April 4, Kidman will lead the way up the red carpet at the Opera House for the world premiere of her film The Interpreter.


In the movie she plays a United Nations interpreter who can speak a rare language called Ku used in a southern African dictatorship. One night she overhears a plot and becomes involved as the assassins and the secret service detail (led by Sean Penn) both try to target her for different reasons.


Directed by Sydney Pollack, the movie was the first that was allowed by the UN to film in the building.


"I think it was very important that we did film there," says Kidman. "Filmgoers can spot a set these days and this gave extra credibility."


She sat in with the interpreters for several days studying them at work. Although they filmed at weekends and late at night Kidman did meet many of the UN delegates and Secretary-General Kofi Annan.


And there was that language invented by a linguist that she and others had to learn. Ku is a cross between Swahili and Shona and Kidman learned it phonetically ... just as she learned Russian for the film The Birthday Girl though she later learnt Russian formally as well.


It's a long way from her first stage appearance in a school nativity play where she appeared as a bleating sheep wrapped in a car seat cover.


"I so much wanted to be an angel," she laughs.


In Sydney this time she has been a real homebody. Instead of being involved in the stresses of filmmaking on the set of Eucalyptus she has stayed home a lot and learnt cooking.


"I can do lamb shanks and home-made gnocchi," she says. "It's wonderful to be able to go to the fish markets and choose your dinner."
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