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IRAN: 'Body of Lies' hot in Tehran, causes headache for actress


The Ridley Scott action-spy flick "Body of Lies" just hit the silver screen in the United States. But on the streets of Tehran, the Iranian capital, the movie is already selling wildly as a boot-legged DVD, and it's not just because women want to swoon over stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Russel Crowe.

Golshifteh Farahani, Iran's red-hot young actress du jour, plays the love interest in the movie, as Aisha, a Jordanian nurse who is the object of the attentions of an American spy, played by DiCaprio.

It may mark the first time in memory that a bona fide Iranian actress who made a mark in Iran's lively film scene has crossed over to Hollywood. And it may have caused her a bit of unwanted Middle East-style intrigue: Because of the movie, she' might have some troubles in her own country.

Farahani, a 25-year-old former music student with a million-dollar smile and a breezy laugh, has already starred 17 movies in her home country.

She was already a big star in the Islamic Republic. But after appearing opposite DiCaprio, she's become huge.

Over the last few days in Tehran, street-side book and DVD vendors have begun selling copies of the movie.

"Come see Golshifteh and Mr. DiCaprio!" the barkers holler. "Buy and watch with Farsi subtitles! Hollywood quality film! Come before they're sold out."

Young women in dark black all-covering chadors as well as those in slinky tight petticoats and colorful head scarves, young men in blue jeans as well as those in the prim dark suits and white shirts of the pious line up in droves.

Passersby popped out of taxis momentarily to buy their own copies of "Golshifteh," as the street vendors call the movie.

One young man at a street-side stall says he sells about 100 copies a day at about $1 a pop. The DVDs are mostly low-quality. Someone mounts a video camera in a movie theater and uploads the results to Iran, where they're burned onto discs.

Farahani's Aisha starts off the movie with a headscarf, but eventually lets it fall off to reveal her curly dark hair, a no-no in Iran's conservative film industry.

Appearing in the movie has already gotten her in trouble with Iranian authorities, Farahani told the New York Daily News in an interview earlier this month:

I had a lot of problems because of this movie ... [Iranian officials] took my passport. The intelligence service interrogated me several times. In the end, the judge said, 'We have to see the movie and then decide what we're going to do with you.'

Indeed, she said, though the movie has made her Iran's biggest big-screen darling, it might complicate her life when she goes back:

I'm totally in love with Iran. I have family there ... But I lost one opportunity to do a screen test, for 'The Prince of Persia.' I'm not ready for that again.

That's depressing to many Iranians. They fear that if she ever settles down abroad, state-run television will stop airing her movies.

-- Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran and Borzou Daragahi in Beirut

Photo: Golshifteh Farahani at the opening of "Body of Lies." Credit: Agence-France Press

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Comments () | Archives (18)

it,s a long long time that l love her and saw all her filmes in iran . she is so nice and kind and simple . l wish her the best .

Hollywood is big, but, bigger in life is success. No one should deried their values, just to get rich! Like porn star make quick money, but, not many people choose that career. Farhani need to make a good choice, if she really loves her country, she should be ready to respect its cultural values.

Golshifteh is such talented girl, not only in acting; she is an artist and even if She fails acting in Hollywood (which I doubt) she has other skills that will take her to where she deserves to be.!!!!........ she could be a waitress in american resturant.

Golshifteh Farahani is the product of the Islamic Republic of Iran. they help her and supported her by all she can not deny their help . in hope of more fame and more money she left her country. she was not banned to play in a film once.she is nothing but an oppurtuniste.

Golshifteh Farahani destiny is total failure. she has not anything to persuade hollywood to give her valuable and lasting role. she may find a chance to play in some worthless minor film. those who persuade Golshifteh Farahani to think he has a place in hollywood ,decieved her . Golshifteh catagorically is finished.

Golshifteh is such talented girl, not only in acting; she is an artist and even if She fails acting in Hollywood (which I doubt) she has other skills that will take her to where she deserves to be.

She is coming from a very talented family and art is in her blood.
Iran had no future for her at least not until this Islamic republic is in charge.

I wish her the best and I know she will become a star in Hollywood soon or later.

Golshifteh Farahani is the * PINK PINTER* OF Iran and Asia. so she can show her art in this region but not in west and hollywood. she is in search of being an universal actress, but she has not the potential and capacity for the universal demantion . i think she miscalculate her ability.

Ms. Farahani is a wonderful actress. She is also an artist and as such she does not belong to Iran or Hollywood in the sense that anyone owns her soul and can tell her what to do. In this country we once thought that black people should not marry white people or that certain types of people were intrinsically superior because of their race or gender. Religion has done much to foster this prejudice and so it is with Golshifteh Farahani who by virtue of being both beautiful and a first-rate artist has roused the anger and suspicion of religious hard-liners. It is sad that she has to endure this for the sake of her art but history will be very kind to her and this is the way it should be.

Golshifteh Farahani will be succeed in hollywood if she repace the sex symbole Sharon stone.I praised those who called Golshifteh Farahani as Pink Pinter! because her movements as the same of Pink Pinters movement .this is a smart and tactful "title" for her .Will Golshifteh Farahani be a sex symbol in hollywood?

I think that lady Golshifteh Farahani, could play dozen or more master pieces film in Iran .but i see no horison for her in west. with this decision she mssed a big oppurtunity to play a role till her 30 when she is still young . i am sure she will be repentant for this un wise decision to try to find a place in holly wood . what a pitty for Gleshifteh and losing his great chance to play in iran . really golshefteh walk and run just like pink pinter . she is our "pink pinter ". i wish that lady frahany return and play role for her coutry and people.

dear golshefth farahani you are a star in iran cenama . p.p or( 9pink pinter of persian film) is a title you deserved to received by iranian people. all over iran called you pink i pinter of persian film. wish you a good time. kimia .tehran

Golshifteh Farahani, in iran is known as " pink pinter of Iranian cinema" ! this pink pinter of iranian made has no any bright future in hoolywood.
o! pink pinter return home ! holly wood is not a good place for you!!

For better or for worse this is one consequence of globalization. Nobody can prevent you from expressing your abilities and benefiting from your blessings. Golshifteh is a brave and open-minded artist. Living in middle east and joining Hollywood is a simple proof of this fact.

what had happened to the other iranian actors or directors or actresses(like Shohre Aghadashlou) even after being nominated for oscar ? where is she now?and where this young lady is going?to compete Angelina Goulie,Kidman,Blunchett?
yes absolutely we all wish good luck fo her and any other iranians.but for what price?
after some years being isolated both from home and that what she is after?

Golshifted just did the wright work.She deserves to be a Hollywood star.Iranian regime is very angry because of her and it's not strange for Iranian people,because they don't want the success of us.In their opinion we don't have any worth.The most important thing for them is success of terrorists like Hizbollah and Hamas.I hope for a free and democratic Iran,without Mullahs.

"Any one at any time & any where in a special frame can do any thing that he or she wants to do" I call this freedom that you can't see that in iran
Ehsan from Isfahan

Many people in Iran believe she did the right thing. Hollywood cannot be compared with what we call film-making here in Iran. I love my country, but I'm not blind to its shortcomings. Good luck to her. She has my blessing at least, if that counts.
Maryam from Tehran


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