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NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. pop singer Cyndi Lauper and husband David Thornton share the big screen as actors at Tribeca Film Festival for the first time since the couple met on a movie set nearly 20 years ago.
While they appeared as themselves in a 2005 children's movie, their scenes as a former couple in Serbian director Darko Lungulov's debut dark comedy "Here and There" are their first acting roles together since 1991's "Off and Running."
"I thought it would be a great thing to be a part of and I got to be in two scenes with him," Lauper, who has also written a song for the independent film, told Reuters in a recent interview. "He's a fantastic actor."
"I love storytelling so if it's a small scene about a real person then I like to do that," added the singer, who has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide and is known for 1980s hits such as "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" and "True Colors."
Lauper became involved in "Here and There" after Thornton was cast in the lead role as Robert, a jaded middle-aged New Yorker who travels to Serbia to make some quick money by marrying a woman who wants to move to the United States.
"Truth be told I didn't know that Cyndi was (Thornton's) wife and in passing he suggested that his wife could maybe write a song for the film," said Lungulov, laughing, as he recalled how he had to ask who his lead actor was married to.
"It was great to collaborate with them, it was a lot of fun," said the director, adding that he initially had such a small budget for the film that he couldn't approach any agents or actors.
It was only when his script found its way into the hands of producer Jim Stark that it generated some interest among actors in New York City and led to Lungulov casting Thornton, whose previous movies include "Unhook the Stars" and "Home Alone 3."
"It was a pretty ambitious first movie," Lungulov said of filming in both New York City and Belgrade. "It was logistically not ideal for a no-budget first movie."
Thornton, who married Lauper in 1991, said he was proud of how much "heart and soul" Lungulov had put into the film, which he started writing in 2004. "I read it and I thought 'I really wanted to try and be a part of this,'" he said.
"He got this film made in a country where you have all of the goodwill in the world and none of the currency. This movie is a testament to one person's desire to be an artist and refusal to say no," Thornton said.
Some Internet critics have already described "Here and There," which is competing in the world narrative feature competition, as one of the top 10 films to see at Tribeca. Variety described it as a "slight, extremely likable pic" that "has an outside chance at arthouse play before cable beckons."
"The story here really added up for me. This is not a big picture movie statement. This is a small slice of life," Thornton said. "It's honest to life, it's not honest to the movies."
Editing by Eric Walsh