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Reporters on the Job

No Threat to Russell Crowe: Staff writer Dan Murphy didn't think that playing the role of a photo editor for a few minutes in a movie about Iraq would be much of a stretch (page 1). "They emailed me my lines ahead of time. It was basically a conversation with one of 'my' photographers and I was warning him that the US military were mad at him for spending time with the insurgents in Fallujah," says Dan.

But when Dan arrived in Morocco to shoot his three-minute scene, it didn't go well. "I was so bad," says Dan, "that the movie crew was in a panic about what to do. I was stiff, and delivering my lines as if I were struggling through a poem by Longfellow."

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Fortunately, one of the actors with a starring role was Mido Hamada, a German-Egyptian. "He coached me through some of the basic principles involved - about how to behave naturally in an unnatural setting, how to trick yourself into believing that the false is real."

The next day went better. "There was sort of this magical moment when I began to respond as my character would in the situation," says Dan.

But, Dan adds, he has no plans to quit his day job.

David Clark Scott
World editor