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Bobek skates into acting role opposite a 'King'

NEW YORK -- The woman enchanting Sean Penn in the remake of the classic film "All The King's Men" is none other than former U.S. figure skating champion Nicole Bobek.

In her movie debut, Bobek plays the love interest for Penn. She performs a skating routine in a nightclub, mesmerizing Penn, then
becomes his girlfriend until meeting an untimely demise. The movie is due out in 2006.

Bobek, the 1995 national champion and the last woman other than
Michelle Kwan or Tara Lipinski to win that title, did her program
on a small sheet of plastic ice. So, not only was she acting for
the first time -- her hair is pure black in the film, not her
natural blond -- but she also was trying to deal with an entirely
uncommon surface on which to skate.

"There's not much momentum skating around on it, so you have to work a lot harder to do anything," she says. "But in a way it was natural, definitely, because of the skating and the fact I love to perform. I'm not a competitive person, but I love to create, and the music is the reason I am out there. And to be out there and to
have Sean Penn watching me all the time in the film is weird. It
was like: 'Is this really happening?' "

Bobek has two other scenes in the movie, one when she is going
into a bar and another one leaving Penn's bedroom. It took long
hours to film even such a limited role, with the actors often
working until dawn.

Much of the film was shot in New Orleans, and Bobek says her
memories of the city have taken on a "surreal feeling."

"We did a lot of shooting in the French Quarter and, on days
off, I had some days with nothing to do and did a lot of walking
around the city. I was just there in February and now look. It is
very sad and very eerie."

Bobek says she would enjoy more acting assignments, and would "like to produce creative stuff. Skating has slowed down for me. You need to find some inspiration after 25 years of it. What can I
do now?"