- Associated Press
Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PARIS (AP) - France’s first lady, a former supermodel turned songstress, is making her debut as an actress, filming this week in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris.”

Even her busy husband, President Nicolas Sarkozy, wasn’t about to miss the action. He showed up on the Left Bank set Tuesday, in dark suit but no tie, to watch his spouse in her latest creative venture.

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

Tuesday’s scenes were shot in the heart of the Left Bank, near the Pantheon, the resting place of many of France’s luminaries.

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 playing herself 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.

Allen is clearly a fan of the first lady.

When he was 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.

As first lady, Bruni-Sarkozy has kept her artistic life and star status mostly on the back burner. She did release a new album two years ago, though refused to tour and gives royalties to the Foundation of France.

It was not clear whether she was being remunerated for her film role, or if her payment was in thrills.

Bruni-Sarkozy is not the only French actress in the film, which also features Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard. Other stars are Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Kathy Bates.

Allen, in his usual self-deprecating style, warned the French movie-going public in April that “I’m going to kill myself” if his biggest European boosters don’t like this movie, or his “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,” screened at the Paris Film Festival.

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