Resemblance is more believable from a distance, but no less terrifying.
ETERAN FILM actor Jon Voight has found additional work when not on a movie set, by donning the black wig he wore in the comedy Zoolander and playing one of the many body doubles for North Korea's elusive and ailing "Great Leader" Kim Jong-il.
"Yes, it's true," confessed the Midnight Cowboy legend and father of "Great Mother" Angelina Jolie, adding, "I look most like him from a distance. And of course I couldn't pull it off without the wig."
In fact it was Voight's comic role as Derek Zoolander's coal-mining father that North Korean officials say caught the attention of the closed nation's infamous leader.
Explained Voight, "His people called me all the way from Pyongyang to tell me that 'Great Leader' really liked my performance in the movie. They thought I was a dead ringer for him when I pursed my lips, which, as you'll recall, was a recurring theme in Zoolander."
The fact that Mr. Voight is taller than Kim Jong-il made the actor all the more sought after. "They say I make GL look 'more not dead,'" said the actor. "All I have to do is toss on the wig and wave a lot. It's easy money."
Voight admitted that photos identified as the North Korean leader appearing on MSN and Google news pages represent only a small portion of his stand-in work for Kim Jong-il.
"Yeah, I've been at this gig for almost five years now, so I've lost track of how many times I've rocked the wig."
According to Voight, the stand-in opportunity has been "such a kick" that he's looking to broaden his experience as a body double for other controversial leaders.
"There's a bunch of 'em out there," observed the actor, "and I'm sure GL wouldn't mind if I moonlighted as Vladimir Putin now and again, or maybe Hugo Chávez. An actor's got to stretch himself, you know."
© 6.1.09 Kate Heidel