Veteran film-maker Sydney Pollack is adamant he did not use Zimbabwean leader ROBERT MUGABE as the blueprint for new movie THE INTERPRETER - he took his inspiration from Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

The Interpreter stars OSCAR-winning actress Nicole Kidman as a female linguist who uncovers a plot to assassinate the despotic leader of a fictional African state.

And the 70-year-old drew on his childhood experiences to fuel his creative process - confessing he is fascinated by the transformation freedom fighters undergo when they do gain power.

He says, "I remember when I was a kid in New York and (FIDEL) CASTRO first came to power. There was a ticker-tape parade in New York, and he went on television and everybody in America worshipped him.

"He was speaking English, and he was this great freedom fighter who had liberated his country. And, slowly, he became a guy you couldn't write anything bad about, you can't do this, you go to jail.

"That's what happened with all these guys. What really fascinated me was what would happen if any of these dictators came face to face with who they were before they became corrupt."

14/04/2005 17:38