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Tuesday, 26 March, 2002, 12:21 GMT
Stone puts Arafat in spotlight
Stone met the Palestinian leader in the West Bank
Stone met the Palestinian leader in the West Bank
Film director Oliver Stone has interviewed Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for what he described as a documentary on world conflicts.

The controversial filmmaker visited Mr Arafat's office in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Stone said he had already interviewed "a series of Israeli leaders" and hinted that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was among them.


I'm not a newsman, I'm not investigating, I'm not looking for scoops that will beat everyone

Oliver Stone
The filming follows a documentary he recently made on Cuba and its president, Fidel Castro.

Stone said his motivation behind the trip to the Middle East was to find what makes a world leader tick.

He said: "There's always a similarity in world conflicts everywhere you go.

"What is the common denominator? Maybe pride, maybe human ego, maybe the sense of humiliation, all these factors.

Heath Ledger is set to star in Stone's new movie
Heath Ledger is set to star in Stone's new movie
"These characters that you meet, Mr Arafat and Mr Sharon, whoever it is, they remind you what life is about, what leaders are about, what power is about."

More than 1,500 people have been killed since the start of the current Palestinian uprising, which erupted in September 2000.

Stone refused to pass judgement and said: "This is not about speeches. I'm not a newsman. I'm not investigating, I'm not looking for scoops that will beat everyone.

"I'm looking for long-term classical values: what your life was like, what the meaning of your suffering was, what regrets you have."

The 55-year-old is one of America's most controversial figures, and is well-known for tackling gritty and violent subject matter in his movies.

Lawsuit

Stone won the best director Oscar twice for Born of the Fourth of July and Platoon, as well as a writing award for Midnight Express in 1979.

He also directed Natural Born killers in 1994, about a couple who go on a violent crime spree, but the movie initially sparked a lawsuit against Stone.

He was accused of making a film which incited a real-life murder, but the case was thrown out in March last year.

His next big screen project will be his take on Alexander the Great, which is set to star Australian actor Heath Ledger.

See also:

26 Mar 02 | Middle East
Stand-off over Arafat travel ban
08 Mar 99 | Entertainment
Director faces lawsuit over violent movie
25 Aug 99 | Entertainment
Stone agrees to drug treatment
11 Jun 99 | Entertainment
Director Stone arrested on drugs allegation
13 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Natural Born Killers lawsuit dropped
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