Daily Insider for March 1, 2004

updated 04/21/2004 at 12:00 AM EDT

originally published 02/27/2004 12:52PM

March 1, 2004
FACT-FINDING MISSION
The United Nations had a special visitor last week: Nicole Kidman, who slipped into the interpreters' booth to prepare for her next movie role. This month, Kidman and Sean Penn begin filming The Interpreter, a thriller about a UN translator who overhears a conversation that puts her in grave danger. Kidman watched the interpreters in action during a Security Council meeting on Iraq.

PET OFFENSIVE
Ben Stiller's risk-averse character in the comedy Along Came Polly runs into some hairy situations – like crossing paths with the blind ferret that his love interest (Jennifer Aniston) keeps as a pet. Did art imitate life? Sort of. "We had issues," Stiller said at the movie's recent London premiere. "I got bitten by the ferret at one point, in a scene. So I had to get, like, a rabies shot and a tetanus shot. And I talked about it on a talk show in the United States. I made a joke about (the fact that) I didn't like ferrets. So they wrote me like a thousand emails about ferrets. The ferret people are very touchy people. I have no problems with ferrets. It's the ferret owners." Next up for Stiller: Starsky & Hutch, opening March 5.

FUHGEDDABOUDIT!
It pays to be a media mogul. Matt Lauer, Bryant Gumbel, and power couples George Stephanopoulos and Alexandra Wentworth and director Steven Soderbergh and wife Jules Asner got a sneak peak at the highly anticipated season premiere of HBO's The Sopranos, airing for the rest of us on March 7 at 9 p.m. The viewing was part of a dinner reception at New York's Four Seasons restaurant, in honor of show creator David Chase.

STRAIGHT TALK
When Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's Carson Kressley and Jai Rodriguez went to the 2004 American International Toy Fair in New York recently to promote the word-building game "Take Four" by Learning Resources, they figured out that it could help with their show. "We're learning words like 'nest' and 'rat,' which comes in handy on Queer Eye," said Kressley, offering an example: "This is a real rat's nest you live in."

Reported by: KATHY EHRICH, PETE NORMAN, LIZA HAMM and MOLLY LOPEZ

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