The ravishing redhead was thrown into the Hollywood limelight as Tom Cruise's wife, but Nicole Kidman became an A-list actress and household name based on the strength of her acting abilities, not because of a wedding ring she once wore. Many have been fooled into thinking that Nicole was born Down Under because of her accent, but she was actually born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on June 20, 1967. Her parents had moved to the U.S. to allow Nicole's biochemist father to pursue his research on breast cancer. When Nicole was 4 years old, her family moved to Australia, where she and her younger sister Antonia were raised under strict rules. Anthony and Janelle Kidman were extremely politically active, and they instilled similar values into their daughters. The Kidman girls were required to discuss a political issue or current affair with their parents at the end of every day. Difficult though it may be to believe, Nicole felt extremely awkward and out of place while growing up. Although today her statuesque figure is part of her beauty, as a child her figure was disproportionate, and she stood at a lanky height compared to her classmates. A pale complexion did not make matters any better for young Nicole.
Insecure with her awkward appearance, Nicole sought refuge in performing and drama. She became involved in the St. Martin's Youth Theater and then the Philip Street Theater in Sydney, where she impressed future director Jane Campion, a film student at the time. Nicole's love for ballet and the performing arts, combined with Jane Campion's encouraging words, were enough for Nicole to know that acting was her calling. Nicole made her film debut in 1983, in the Australian films Bush Christmas and BMX Bandits. Her performance spawned further roles, and before long she dropped out of high school to pursue a full-time acting career and tend to her mother, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. As her mother gradually recovered, Nicole began to achieve star status in Australia. She also established visibility in the United States, appearing in the 1989 thriller, Dead Calm.
Nicole's next film would mold her life in more ways than one. Starring in the racecar flick Days of Thunder, she stole co-star Tom Cruise's heart both on and off the screen (even though Tom was actually married to Mimi Rogers at the time). The couple wed after a brief courtship in 1990.
While Nicole continued to enjoy prominent roles in such American films as Billy Bathgate (1991), Far and Away (1992), co-starring then husband Tom Cruise, My Life (1993), and Malice (1993), they did not fare particularly well at the box office, and the actress remained low on the ladder of Hollywood's commodities. In 1995, Nicole finally secured A-list status with a critically-acclaimed performance in Gus Van Sant's film, To Die For. Her role as a fame-hungry journalist swept aside any suggestions that Nicole was just another actress and garnered her the Best Actress award at the Golden Globes. Bigger roles followed: the sexy love interest in the summer blockbuster Batman Forever (1995), a leading role in Jane Campion's film adaptation of The Portrait of a Lady (1996), and a co-starring role opposite George Clooney in The Peacemaker (1997). In 1999, Nicole appeared alongside Tom Cruise in the psychosexual drama Eyes Wide Shut, which was director Stanley Kubrick's final film. Returning to her theatrical roots, Nicole then starred in the Broadway production of The Blue Room, which garnered her rave reviews and a Theatre World Award.
In 2001, Tom filed for divorce from Nicole, which was highly publicized in the media. Nicole and Tom were married for 10 years and adopted two children, Isabella Jane and Connor Anthony.
The divorce didn't stop Nicole: In 2001, she appeared in Birthday Girl, the supernatural thriller The Others, and Moulin Rouge!, the Baz Luhrmann musical that earned Nicole her first Academy Award nomination and another Golden Globe win. Her next film was The Hours (2002), in which she shared the screen with Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep. This time she took home the Oscar and the Golden Globe for Best Actress for her gut-wrenching portrayal of Virginia Woolf.
Nicole was busy in 2003, with starring roles in Cold Mountain with Renee Zellweger, The Human Stain, and the experimental Lars von Trier drama, Dogville. The latest entries in her filmography are Birth (2004) and The Stepford Wives (2004). In 2005 and 2006, The Interpreter, Bewitched, The Producers, American Darlings, Emma's War, Eucalyptus, and a Baz Luhrmann biopic on Alexander the Great.
Nicole Kidman has also made the leap into producing, serving as producer for In the Cut and executive producer for American Darlings. When not working on films, Nicole Kidman can be seen in ads for Chanel No. 5, and making headlines thanks to romances with rocker Lenny Kravitz and Liz Hurley's ex, Stephen Bing.
Kidman is poring over the Old Testament !
Nicole Kidman is studying the Old Testament with a private tutor these days and wishes to travel to the Middle East in order to beat the heat of stardom.
"I love the Middle East; I love the smells and the sensations. I'd love to go on an archaeological dig", Fox news quoted her as saying.
"And I'd like to get my degree in philosophy. At the moment I'm doing a course in the Old Testament, but linking it to the Middle East, to Israel and Palestine. I have a tutor who teaches at UCLA (University College Los Angeles) and Pepperdine (University) who's wonderful; he comes to the set for two hours twice a week, and then I do a weekend class as well", she added.
Kidman stresses that along with focusing on travel and study, the best way to help turn down the heat of stardom is never thinking of oneself in the third person.
"It's really frightening when you hear an actor use their own name like it's a brand ", the report quoted her as saying.
Nicole's mettle test
THE tough questions flew thick and fast at Nicole Kidman yesterday, but it wasn't a hungry media pack, just a group of school-aged drama students. Kidman revisited her alma mater, the Australian Theatre for Young People, to meet students, staff and board members.
She also recorded a video testimonial, partly directed by fellow alumni Baz Luhrmann, to help the school raise funds.
But she wasn't counting on the flood of questions from the eight to 11-year-olds in the drama class when she walked in on their improvisation exercise.
"What's the worst movie you've ever made?" one student bravely asked.
Kidman diplomatically replied: "I'd better be careful answering that because I'd be getting letters from producers saying, 'How could you say that about my movie?' "
Kidman said she had started taking photographic lessons in Sydney to prepare for her role as photographer Diane Arbus in the film Fur, which is due to start shooting in May.
"That's one of the great things about being an actress . . . you get to learn new things," said Kidman, who this year took out restraining orders on two paparazzi.
Nicole Kidman's love life back on track
Seems that romance between actress Nicole Kidman and tycoon Steve Bing is back on - with a round of golf.
The Oscar-winning beauty and the film producer, who split in January, were spotted on a golf course in Kidman's native Australia and during the game Bing was seen lovingly offering some tips, according to femalefirst.com.
"Nicole and Steve looked very much in love. They were having a great time. Steve was teaching Nicole some new golf techniques. They were very intimate, touching and hugging," the website quoted an onlooker as saying.
Kidman and Bing, who is the father of Liz Hurley's two-year-old son Damian, began dating last October with friends claiming Kidman was ready to marry him.
Nicole Kidman: 'I have been through a lot. As I get older I've more to give'
Since her divorce, Nicole Kidman has blossomed into the most talented and versatile actress of her generation. On the eve of her latest film, Birth, she explains why splitting up with Tom Cruise was the turning point in her career.
Nicole Kidman is perhaps unique in Hollywood. She has the sort of untouchable star quality patented in the 1930s by Carole Lombard and Norma Shearer, the physique of a Norman Parkinson model, and the artistic aspirations of Anna Magnani or Lotte Lenya. She can wear a prosthetic nose, get raped in a Brechtian set or kiss a 10-year-old boy on the lips, and she will still be on the cover of Vogue .
In person, she is quite remarkably beautiful. An erstwhile freckled redhead, Kidman is now of a single creamy hue, from her flawless face to her vanilla hair, which has been swept back and made to tumble, as though carelessly, past her shoulders. She is so long, and so lean, that she seems almost to be a trick of perspective. When I meet her, she is draped over an anonymous hotel sofa in a paper-thin designer pea-coat and knee-length skirt, her middle as concave as a Fifties mannequin's, her glossy legs stretching endlessly out towards crocodile heels.
Kidman has gone, in recent years, from playing the infanticidal mother in The Others to playing a suicidal Virginia Woolf in The Hours , from a brutalised slave in Dogville to a love-haunted widow in her new film, Birth . Is there something about the damaged qualities of these characters that appeals to her?
'Ah, I don't know,' she sighs, closing her eyes and stroking her forehead with the palm of her hand. (When I saw her do this in Eyes Wide Shut, I thought it was overacting. Now I see that it comes naturally.) 'I don't know,' she repeats, 'I suppose I run away from too much analysis. I certainly don't go and choose damaged people. They're people I respond to, at this stage.'
As you might expect of an Australian who has spent the last 14 years in Los Angeles, her voice has a soft antipodean lilt, with slightly Americanised vowels. Onscreen, she's as good at playing English women as she is at playing Americans, and her natural accent is somewhere between the two - her own, but distinctly unemphatic, with an evenness that suggests it may be lying fallow, in anticipation of the next cinematic incarnation.
The directors she's worked with routinely comment on her flexibility. Stephen Daldry, who directed her in The Hours , has referred to her as 'a transforming actress'. Jonathan Glazer, who directed Birth , has gone so far as to call her 'malleable', as if she were nothing without a director's modelling hand. Kidman responds by telling me she thinks 'cinema is a director's medium, so you're saying, "What do you want?" Being an actor is about adapting - physically and emotionally,' she adds. 'If that means you have to look great for it and they can make you look great, then thank you. And if you have to have everything washed away, then I'm willing to do that too.'
What some might call flexible, others might call erratic - a risk Kidman takes with her unpredictable choices. But at her best, Kidman is a blonde cut out for Hitchcock. She can be haunted, in an aristocratic, everyday sort of way, the kind of haunting that never interferes with one's chignon but shows, for that very reason, the way the surface of things can crack. In The Others , she plays a very proper wife and mother trying to hold it together against such terrible odds she doesn't realise she's already lost it. In Birth she is a well-off 35-year-old in mourning, an emotion that becomes more crazed as time wears on. The film was booed at the Venice Film Festival, for a scene in which Kidman and a little boy who claims to be her reincarnated husband share a bath. But the movie is not about sex, it's about the figments of one's most tortured imagination, and in that sense it also owes a great deal to Hitchcock. Like James Stewart in Vertigo , Kidman is not really in love with the person before her, she is in love with the person he represents. 'This is a film about love,' Kidman says now. 'What is a great love? Is there a love of our life? Do you ever recover from the loss of somebody that was so important to you?'
NICOLE KIDMAN met Tom Cruise on the set of Days of Thunder , a Tony Scott film about stock car racing in which they were co-stars. She had grown up in Sydney (though she was born in Hawaii) and had been acting in TV series since the age of 16. The Australian thriller Dead Calm brought her international attention in 1989, and she made Days of Thunder in Hollywood in 1990. Within a year, she and Cruise were married; she was 22.
Kidman has always been very close to her family; her father is a biochemist and a clinical psychologist, and her mother is a nurse who was active in the women's movement. She and her sister Antonia were brought up as Catholics, under her mother's motto: 'Don't let anyone break your spirit.' When she got married, she tells me, that was what was most important to her. She and Cruise adopted two babies - Isabella and Connor, now 12 and 10 - and she put her career second. Then she met Stanley Kubrick.
'He taught me to believe in myself artistically,' she says. 'I spent my twenties raising my children, and wanting to, and being married. That was my driving force. And then he said to me, "No, you have to respect your talent, and give it some space, and give it some time." Which was a lovely thing to be given. And my children were a little older then.'
Kidman has said that working with Kubrick on Eyes Wide Shut - a land mark film, his last, and the only film since their first in which Kidman and Cruise co-starred, 'resonated through our lives and marriage. Stanley breaks you down.' Now she says that in the roles she took on after her divorce - two of which have been Oscar-nominated, one of which won, 'Suddenly I was able to have the time to put some of the things that were going on inside me_' and then thinks better of continuing. She eventually responds on a practical level. 'It was by chance that The Hours came along. Was I in a place where I could say, I'm going to go to England and make this? Yes. Could I do that earlier, when I was married? No, I couldn't travel like that. We had a thing where we couldn't be separated for more than two weeks. So that made a lot of work just not possible. Which was fine by me.'
She pauses, and croaks a little. 'I'm going to need some water,' she says.
For better or worse, Kidman's reputation in the gossip columns has varied as many times as her choice of roles. She has gone from being seen as a star's appendage in 1990 (when Tom Cruise was thought to have 'made her') to being famous as an Oscar-winning triumph in 2003 (when Tom Cruise was thought to have held her back). In between, she has been an ice queen (after To Die For ), a vulnerable victim (after her divorce), and a girl about town. She has been linked with practically every co-star anyone could think of, plus Lenny Kravitz.
Glazer thinks she 'seems to find a role that speaks to her at different times in her life', though he adds that, 'Some of the roles she's chosen are more honest than others.' When he cast her in Birth , his favourite of her performances was as the murderously ambitious TV star Suzanne Stone Maretto in To Die For . 'You're not anyone in America unless you're on TV,' her character affirms, before hatching a plot that would make Machiavelli wince. Kidman had been married to Tom Cruise for five years by then. It wasn't her first Hollywood film, but it was her breakthrough, a complicated part she played with manipulative gusto, and which she felt she was 'destined' for. 'I guess,' Glazer reflects, 'in a funny way that's who she was then.'
'I've been through a lot in my life,' Kidman often says, and tells me she believes that the best performances 'come from your experiences, and the things you've been through and so therefore you're more willing to expose yourself. As you get older you have more to give.'
'The thing to understand,' says David Hare, who wrote The Blue Room and the screenplay for The Hours , 'is that she's intensely practical. She deliberately chooses roles or undertakings which involve an autodidactic element - "I'll learn about Virginia Woolf, I'll learn how to act on stage, I'll learn to sing". She likes anything which involves acquiring new skills and knowledge.' In order to play Woolf, she learned to write right-handed. She took up smoking for The Human Stain , learnt Russian for Birthday Girl and the cello for her forthcoming Sydney Pollack movie, The Interpreter .
Does she think she's hard on herself?
'Yeah,' she says. 'Hard on myself in the sense that_ when I'm lying on my death bed, I wanna have some peace.' Where does that instinct come from? I ask. 'God knows,' she laughs, 'A lot of religion as a child, and a strong, strong, strong imagination that can sometimes be_' - she trails off - 'dominating.'
KIDMAN LIKES to write. She writes short stories, some of which she hopes to publish one day, and she likes to read - the poetry of Anne Carson, an erudite, experimental writer, and Philip Larkin. 'I have a great respect for words, and the meaning of words, and the way in which we have to be very careful_ um, with what we say.' Writing, she says, 'is something that helps to keep me together'.
From time to time, Kidman will imply some kind of intimate intricacy, then shake her head with a half-smile and a miniature exhalation, as if it were all about to be too much. One doesn't expect revelations from her - the cover story in the current Harper's Bazaar features, by way of intensely personal detail, the fact that she enjoys the smell of fresh flowers - but given her frequently haunted screen presence, you can't help but imagine a hint of torment. Jonathan Glazer, who says he didn't get to know Kidman all that well during the filming of Birth , despite finding her gregarious and 'bubbly', suggests that, 'She's very hard to read - and there's something fascinating about watching that, trying to decode someone. There's a complexity there, and a very powerful inner life going on.' David Hare tells me that, 'Anyone who knows anything at all is very protective of her for all the obvious reasons.'
'It's all going to fall apart,' she has been saying recently, and 'it won't last much longer'. What does she mean? 'I don't know,' she breathes, and looks at the floor. 'I act, I don't know how I do it, and I'm not sure if I can keep doing it. You know, you're never sure whether it's going to be there again.'
Is she superstitious? 'I have moments where I've said, don't tread on that crack in the pavement, don't have a black cat walk in front of you. Deep down am I superstitious? No. Do I believe in trying to be as kind as possible and as compassionate as possible because ultimately you're alone with yourself and your own conscience, and you want that to be as clear as possible? That's not superstition. You have to just try and stay pure and know what you value.'
'And what do you value?'
'I think the connections with the people in my life.'
A PR, who I now realise has been standing behind me throughout the interview, leans in and tells me I have a minute left. Randomly, I ask Kidman what's the maddest thing about her family. She laughs. 'My dad tap dances!' Then she thinks again. 'My kids aren't that mad - within a mad, mad world they're pretty together. I'm working hard on it. But we're all pretty mad.' She smiles. 'Beautifully mad, I would hope.'
Nicole Kidman Gets Her Wish And Becomes A Witch
Nicole Kidman used to pray to God to be made into a witch.
The Oscar-winning beauty has revealed, as a girl, she dreamed of a future in spell-casting and sorcery and would pray every night to make her dreams come true.
The Australian star, who will play Samantha in a movie version of hit sitcom 'Bewitchedâ', said: I used to say 'please God make me a witchâ'.Nicole, 37, is earning 9.3millionGBP for the role, famously played by legendary actress Elizabeth Montgomery on TV.
She added: Since I was a girl people have told me I look like her.
Meanwhile, Nicole appears to be working her magic on Steve Bing after they enjoyed a romantic weekend together sparking speculation their romance is back on.
The Oscar-winning beauty and the film producer, who split in January, last week enjoyed intimate meals and played golf during their break at Nicoleâ's Sydney home.
Although her spokesman insists they are just good friends, sources claim they are keen to give their romance another go.
One said: They were clearly affectionate to each other.
Nicole Kidman Wins Top Skinnies Award
NICOLE KIDMAN has been honoured for fighting skin issues at the eighth annual SKINNIES AWARDS, which are held to reward the film stars who serve as role models to the fair-skinned and spotty.
Kidman has received the online event's first Lifetime Achievement Award for constantly looking after her fair skin, while taking on a succession of face-changing film roles.
California dermatologist DR VAIL REESE, who hands out the awards yearly on his www.skinema.com website, reveals Kidman beat JULIA ROBERTS to the first Lifetime Achievement prize.
He says, "For the longest time, Nicole Kidman has been a role model for the fair-skinned. She's pale and suffers apparent hand eczema, and yet she's one of the most attractive women."
This year's (05) Skinnies also honour LINDSAY LOHAN, who picks up the Missing In Action Award for hiding her freckles behind skin-safe sunless tanning make-up. Reese adds, "If you look at Lindsay in THE PARENT TRAP in 1998 and now, she has gone from playing a freckly pre-adolescent to a beautiful woman."
Meanwhile, JAMIE FOXX picked up the quirky Pimpliest Portrayal honour for allowing his adult acne to feature heavily in his portrayal as RAY CHARLES in RAY.
Dr Reese says, "It's a very brave statement for him not to cover up his acne. It shows those with the skin complaint that you can have acne and still be a big star in Hollywood movies." Finally, GWEN STEFANI claims the Favourite Lesion prize for the beauty mark she sported as JEAN HARLOW in her movie debut THE AVIATOR.
Nicole Kidman's 'Interpreter' Opens Tribeca Fest
Nicole Kidman's latest film that was shot in the United Nations building, will make its bow in New York.
The world premiere of "The Interpreter" will kick off the Tribeca Film Festival on Tuesday, April 19, reports the AP.
The Sydney Pollack-directed project is the first film ever to be shot inside the UN Headquarters, which only caused a stir when certain diplomats were replaced by actors on camera. Scenes were shot in the General Assembly and the Security Council, as well as regular corridors and hallways of the complex.
Other films screening at the fourth year of the film festival include the horror remake "House of Wax," starring Paris Hilton and Elisha Cuthbert and basketball documentary "Through the Fire."
The Tribeca film festival was co-founded by Robert DeNiro, who created it specifically to revive community spirit in Manhattan after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
"Interpreter" centers on Silvia Broome (Kidman), a South African interpreter for the United Nations who overhears a plot to assassinate an official. Now Sylvia has to stay alive long enough to convince people that what she heard is real. "Interpreter" will open nationwide on Friday, April 22.
Nicole Kidman to Play Photographer Diane Arbus
Nicole Kidman has been cast as Diane Arbus in "Fur," reports Production Weekly.
The movie is Biopic of photographer Diane Arbus in, the seminal American photographer. Kidman will replace Samantha Morton who had been in talks to play the part.
Arbus, who already had a history of severe depressions and a crumbling marriage by the time she began to take the controversial, technically innovative pictures of dwarfs, nudists and drag queens that won her a reputation as "a photographer of freaks." She committed suicide in 1971.
"Fur" will be directed by Steven Shainberg fom a screenplay by Erin Cressida Wilson. The movie being partly adpated from Patricia Bosworth's biography, which you can read more about in our database.
Robert Downey Jr. is also cast and filming begins this May in New York.
Nicole Kidman: Stunning Aussie Talks 'Birth'
Filmmaker Jonathan Glazer affirms the promise of his brilliant debut, Sexy Beast, with his new film Birth, teaming with Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman for a metaphysical love story that explores the space between what we know and what we feel. Kidman stars as Anna, a delicate young widow who is on the verge of a new life when a solemn little boy appears, claiming to be the reincarnation of her dead husband. As Anna, Kidman achieves a breathtaking emotional transparency to portray an intelligent woman who discovers another side of herself in the face of a bizarre, yet tantalizing possibility. The actress is beautifully paired with Canadian child actor Cameron Bright, who portrays the boy interloper with a haunting stillness and conviction. Bringing an assured sense of style and form to a decidedly unconventional narrative, Glazer creates a world that is at once strange and familiar, like a fairy tale. And like many fairy tales, Birth is part romance, part mystery, and part family drama—woven into a magical whole about love, mortality and the unknown.
One could say that this relationship Anna has with the boy [Sean] could be one of self-seduction, Freud's belief of the "love object."
I agree. But I mean that's so well put because that's what it is. I mean, there were even times when we were discussing, 'does the boy even exist?' You know it's a time on her life that she needs this to happen. She almost wills it to happen.
Did you go to Jonathan [Glazer]? Was the script sent to you?
He thinks that. The script was sent to me, he thinks I went to him and I thought he came to me. Either way, we ended up sitting at a lunch and connecting. So, yeah, I was sent it and I read it and I thought it was interesting. Obviously, I wouldn't have done this film if I felt the director wasn't going to deal with the subject matter in a very gentle, delicate way. I met him and thought, 'ah.' And I love Sexy Beast too.
It feels like Anna's emotional damage goes farther back than her husband's death? Did you build a background for her or take right from the script?
I never discuss how I work really. You do different things for different roles. And I think part of acting is about maintaining an amount of history that doesn't need to be revealed. I hate hearing stories of about this preparation and I sort of learned my lesson about it. It's very private. And to create a character is very personal and private. I think it takes away from the allure of a character.
What do you mean you've learned your lesson?
Well there were times where I discussed things in preparation and I always sort of cringe now when I see that. Because I think that there's too much information available. You know you go see a movie or a play, you see a piece of art and you have your relationship with it based on that. Now we're so aware of so many things that go into things, I hate the making of movies… all of those things. I don't like to sit there and see how things are deciphered.
You think there's something others can learn from those things?
I think if you want to learn, you go to acting school and you also watch performances and you go put things together. I don't know, but to me there are so many different ways to learn.
The way you look in the movie, it's very interesting. In fact, you kind of look like a newborn. Is this something you discussed with Jonathan?
No Jonathan said that she should have short hair, but it was in relation to her being a widow. I think it was about being not adorned with things, but being very bare in what we chose. Even in way, her dress, everything's quite sparse.
One of the disarming things about Anna is that she's not a heroine. Your character is kind of cold, how did this affect you being something more?
Well, you're so much in a director's hands. When you're an actor you're not directing or writing, so you're not quite sure how you're being portrayed in a strange way. But I know Jonathan said to me, I want to be able to catch your thoughts. Leave it up to me but I need you to go and come to me with your, just, allowing things to just be, rather than having to make things happen. And I think that's very much Anna in the life of the film. Is that everyone's doing all these things around her, and trying to convince her to do this, and she going to marry Danny [Joseph], …she needs a good life, no one is actually dealing with her in her life. Which is still very damaged, distressed woman.
Did you have people, who you know, in mind to speak with people who have had such depth in grief?
I talked to people about grief. I have a friend, I have two friends actually, who both, not lovers, but had lost their fathers. And they still are incapable from moving away from that, even though it's been years down the track. How it just kind of permeates your existence. One particular friend, I can still see she's in a state of grief, and its years down the track. And she just said to me, 'you never recover.'
Do you think this movie might make people address or think about how they deal with grief?
I don't know, I think this movie is about a lot of things. It's about the way in which we-he uses the phrase "under a spell"-which is interesting in terms of being held under that spell of a person, even though your memory of them may not be the truth. Anna doesn't even know what she's doing, he's [Phil, her dead husband] having an affair, but how could she make him up? But her love for him and her desire for him to come back are so powerful.
But how should she change things?
I don't know, this is a film that is very much about… I don't know, I don't have any answers. I sort of walked into this as an exploration and I'm not quite sure. To me, I find it very original. I sat and saw it for the first time at the Venice Film festival and I was like 'oh my god.' The pace of it is unusual, the writing… I mean Jonathan is an unusual man and this very much comes from him. And he worked on it for years, you know, he was very careful in what he wanted to say, very careful and very sure of what he wanted to do with it as an artist. And I love that, I mean that's very rare. And I totally support it. But I don't have the answers, because I didn't write it and I would grapple with him. But as an actor you're part of a story that's being told, you're not sitting there writing the script.
I had this experience with Lars van Trier as well. Because Dogville was Lars. It was what he wanted to say, and then suddenly I'm in the fray of having to explain it, when I want to ask him.
In the concert scene, were you told to think things?
That was my own thing. It wasn't that detailed in our discussions, in terms of 'now this is what she's feeling,' It was very… he just trusted me, that I would take a take and do something with it. So you need to take those and their different a lot of the time, but I was existing in her head. But during that, Jonathan isn't someone who likes big reactions, big emotions. So everything was always keep it very, very interior. Please don't… everything that goes through your head. If someone told me not to think anything, that would freak me out. I do my own thing and then it's he either likes it or doesn't like it. I think we only ended up doing a few takes on that, which usually takes much longer than that. But luckily I had the music to. [Yes, live.] I loved that it's a moment in a dark theatre and there's all these people around, and yet it's so quiet and so close up and so monumental in terms of what she's now going to go and believe and do.
So, you're obviously so scrutinized by people. Does it stop you in being spontaneous in life?
Now my choices in films are spontaneous. People always say to me, 'why did you choose that?' I mean, particularly, they ask 'why did you decide to make that film in this stage of your career?'
How about your life?
My son loves Joe's Pizza here [in NY]. So, we do that. He goes at 11 o'clock at night; can I go get a slice? I'm like 'uh, alright, let's go." He just thinks New York pizza is the best. He's been staying here the last few years, so he's pretty clued up to, as he says 'where there's a good slice.' There isn't one in LA, he's decided.
When you met up with Jonathan did you have a whole bunch of questions for him? When you got together and sat down?
We don't say that much. We don't talk that much. But I'm not a big talker, don't they have that thing where women are suppose to say 5,000 words a day? I don't think I come anywhere near. Haven't you heard that? The difference between men and women is that women speak 5,000 words and men only speak 1,500. I think I'm about 1,500, so I don't know where that puts me?
So, you don't ask questions?
I don't know how to explain how you work. It's explaining how you work.
When you work with someone like Lauren Bacall, what do you take away from that?
Lauren and I are very close. Lauren has kind of taken on a very maternal role in my life. She guides me, she gives me advice, she's very strict. She's really wise. I really trust and admire her, cause she's a survivor in this very crazy kind of world. She's very straightforward and blunt; she's like that with me. Which my own mother is like that as well, so I actually really cherish it because you don't need all the sugar coating… as long as the person's motives towards you are kind, then it's greatly appreciated. I think she's wonderful in the film, a strong matriarchal role.
Are you working on Bewitched?
I am, yes.
A big contrast in experience. Do you have the nose twitch down?
Yea, I hope so. It's like when people say, can you do a South African accent, cause I had one in The Interpreter. Now it's, 'do the nose?'
How about going home at night, doing this film? Were you able to leave that role?
No, it's more like being in limbo making this film. Not more than any, no, but certainly there are a few of them. There is a way in which it just affects you. Weekends were more like, 'I need Monday to come around.' You exist in sort of a limbo for a period of time.
Once you wrapped, how long does it take to get back to normal?
I'm pretty good at being able to move away from something. But you keep certain… [pause] too much talking.
Crowing may have hurt Kidman
Nicole Kidman took exception when Russell Crowe aired his opinions on actors who appear in advertisements.
The actor, who has just been paid $5 million to appear in a four-minute extravaganza for Chanel, was said to have been hurt by Crowe's forthright views.
There were raised voices between the two and, according to insiders, their friendship is practically over.
"I don't use my celebrity to make a living," Crowe, 40, said in Australian GQ magazine. "I don't do ads for suits in Spain like George Clooney or cigarettes in Japan like Harrison Ford.
"And on one level, people go, 'Well, more fault to you, mate, because there's free money to be handed out'. But to me it's kind of sacrilegious -- it's a complete contradiction of the f------ social contract you have with your audience."
While he did not mention Kidman, 37, she was said to have been furious.
"Nicole was really upset by what Russell said and their friendship is all but over," a source in Australia said yesterday. "They had a huge shouting match and she is feeling very hurt."
There was already tension between the two, who have known each other since they were struggling actors in Australia in the early years of their careers.
Eucalyptus, the movie they were working on in Australia, was cancelled on Friday, just before filming was due to start.
Nicole Kidman: Bashful Beauty
What sets Nicole apart from most of her contemporaries is her preference for tackling challenging roles. While the other leading lights of her generation have gone the route of big budget vehicles and enormous paycheques, the Aussie actress has also appeared in a steady stream of smaller projects filled with creative integrity.
Gus Van Sant’s wickedly black comedy To Die For was a turning point in her career. Her portrayal of a ruthlessly ambitious weather girl, which was roundly applauded by critics, marked her transition from rising star to respected character actress.
Nicole’s movie choices have also stirred up more than a little controversy. Her collaboration with Tom in the thriller Eyes Wide Shut, a tale of paranoid jealousy and sexual obsession, sent shockwaves through the Tinseltown press, while the savage abuse suffered by her character in Lars von Trier’s Dogville likewise stunned critics. But it was the more recent Birth which provoked the biggest row. Many movie fans were outraged by a nude scene in which she shares a bath with a ten-year-old boy.
One might expect an actress who pulls down $15 million a movie to be especially self-assured, but Nicole’s co-workers all agree she doesn’t have a trace of arrogance. Indeed, she has a reputation as a something of a retiring soul – when one interviewer compared her to silver screen legend Grace Kelly, she was positively taken aback. “I don't feel like that at all,” she exclaimed. “I feel very Australian and very gawky, and ridiculously shy.”
The self-deprecating performer, who suffers from nerves whenever she has to take to the red carpet, sees herself as just another actress doing a job. “It doesn’t matter what I think,” she says. “Unless I write it and direct it myself, I’m in a film because I want to be there and portray a character authentically and honestly.”
In the last few years Nicole has earned a reputation as one of Hollywood’s most talented actresses. Despite the many accolades that have come her way, however, the performer insists her role as a mother remains her number one priority. "It's your kids," she says, "who bring you the most joy.”
Tom and Nicole adopted Isabella Jane in 1993 and, two years later, became parents for a second time by adopting Conor Anthony. While the pair divorced in 2001, they have remained on good terms for the sake of the children. The Oscar winner says she always considers her two biggest fans before agreeing to a project, and she is looking forward to spending some quality time with them in the months ahead. “I’m taking the first part of next year off,” she reveals. “I’ve got all sorts of plans for things I want to do with my kids.”
Fans of Australia’s favourite daughter can look forward to a feast of new movies in 2005 as Nicole has several exciting projects in the pipeline. She has just finished work on The Interpreter, a tense political thriller in which she stars opposite Sean Penn, while the hotly anticipated Bewitched, a big screen remake of the magical 1960s sit-com, is about to arrive in cinemas.
Next year she will be joining Matthew Broderick on the set of the Mel Brooks’ comedy The Producers, before taking a serious turn in the Sudan-based drama Emma’s War. The period piece America’s Darlings, in which she jazzes up the screen with Bronx-born beauty Jennifer Lopez, meanwhile tells the story of the first all-female swing band on the Forties nightclub scene. And folk Down Under will presumably be most excited about recently-announced Eucalyptus, a low-budget Aussie romance featuring Russell Crowe and the inimitable Ms Kidman in the lead roles.
Nicole Kidman sells £5m Sydney home
Nicole Kidman is selling her £5 million home in Australia after it was bugged. A man was caught planting listening devices outside the house two weeks ago.
She also won a restraining order against two photographers after she claimed she felt fearful leaving the Sydney house.
She bought the house with ex-husband Tom Cruise reports The Sun. A friend said: "It fronts straight on to a footpath. Even passing pedestrians can look through the windows. Tom always like the house the most anyway. Selling it would be like closing a chapter and getting on."
Nicole is looking to move in to a penthouse with a view over the opera house.
Nicole Kidman Blasts Harsh Comments
Hollywood beauty Nicole Kidman has laughed off fashion guru Karl Lagerfeld's harsh comments about her looks as "impossible."
The acclaimed designer was quoted in the British press claiming Kidman wears "bizarre body make-up" and is a false beauty -- even though the actress was paid a reported $3.8 million to front his Chanel No. 5 advertising campaign.
But Kidman's spokeswoman Catherine Olim doesn't believe Lagerfeld made the comments.
She tells gossip site the Scoop, "This sounds impossible to me.
"[Lagerfeld] adores Nicole and they have longstanding mutual respect for each other as professionals."
Nicole Kidman takes action
NICOLE Kidman will today take court action against Sydney paparazzi who she claims have made her fearful to leave her home with her children.
Kidman has taken an interim apprehended violence order out against two photographers, as police investigate the planting of a listening device outside her Sydney home.
In a dramatic twist to the bugging case, two photographers will appear in court today to face further allegations.
Freelance photographer Jamie Fawcett received the AVO early yesterday after police identified him as having been outside Kidman's Darling Point mansion on the day a bug was found in bushes across the road.
He was identified from footage from one of four hidden 24-hour security cameras that film outside her home. But rather than question or charge Fawcett - and a second freelance photographer - The Daily Telegraph understands they were both issued with AVOs.
In part, the AVO orders the two not to stalk or engage in intimidating conduct against the "protected person" - Kidman. The orders were issued in relation to an ongoing investigation into the bug found near her house and an alleged car chase on Sunday.
In the AVO, Kidman claims she fears suffering serious injury from high-speed car chases with paparazzi while in Sydney. Her fears forced her to cancel a reunion with her children and made her a virtual prisoner in her own home.
"[Kidman] has remained at home during the past two days, being too fearful to enter a motor vehicle in the event of a repetition of the defendant's alleged behaviour," she states in her AVO against Fawcett. She claims the harassment goes beyond normal media interest in her and her life.
The car chase last Sunday allegedly involved photographers and Kidman and her security guards as they raced across town to the star's mother's North Shore house.
The AVO, prepared by Rose Bay police on Tuesday at 5.37pm, states the photographer not come within 20m of Kidman's Eastern Suburbs harbourside home or "molest, assault, harass, threat or otherwise interfere with the protected person".
It is not known whether Kidman - in Australia to film her new movie Eucalyptus - will appear in Waverley Court today.
The star last night told The Daily Telegraph through a spokesman that, while she could not comment on the case, she had full confidence in the officers in charge of the investigation.
Earlier yesterday Fawcett said the "outrageous" allegations against him and his colleague would be "vigorously defended". Fawcett's solicitor Roland Day said last night he believed the issuing of the AVO was contrary to the intent of the legislation.
Mr Day questioned how someone being outside someone's home to do their photographic job warranted such action. "On the face of it, it may be a fundamental misuse of the Crimes Act legislation that serve's no purpose than to bring a big smile to Nicole's face," he said.
It is understood police have no evidence linking the photographers to the listening device. On the day it was found, a number of reporters and photographers were in Kidman's street.
Nicole Kidman hits town
NICOLE Kidman flew into Sydney yesterday morning ahead of Australia Day, when she's tipped to take out the Australian of the Year Award.
Nicole and her sister, Antonia, arrived at dawn on Kidman's private jet and were met at the airport by their parents and an army of security guards.
The family then returned for breakfast at Kidman's newly renovated Darling Point mansion, where the star holed up all day.
Kidman's timely return suggests she will attend Tuesday night's Australian of the Year ceremony in Canberra, where Prime Minister John Howard will announce the winner, despite reports suggesting she would not be home in time for the Parliament House event.
Kidman is expected to spend the first week of her two-month working holiday with family, having spent Christmas in LA with her two children as she finished off filming commitments for Bewitched.
Daughter Isabella, 12, and son Connor, 10, didn't accompany Kidman from the States, where they are into a new year of school at home in Los Angeles.
Kidman's trip to Indonesia to visit areas devastated by the Boxing Day tsunami as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF has been postponed for a few months at the request of the aid organisation.
The actress is also expected to meet with Russell Crowe this week to discuss their upcoming film, Eucalyptus, for which rehearsals begin on February 7.
Kidman returned to almost a completely new Darling Point harbourside home yesterday.
Recent extensive renovations have involved walls being knocked out, a new paint scheme, new light fittings and door knobs in a chrome, glass and wood combination.
Crowe and Kidman in Oz with Eucalyptus
Fox Searchlight Pictures announced that production will begin February 7 on Eucalyptus, a sweepingly imaginative fairy tale about love and life in Australia, starring an Aussie cast led by Oscar® winners Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman, and Australian Film Institute Award winners Jack Thompson and Hugo Weaving. Based on the New York Times Notable Book of the Year of the same name written by Murray Bail, the film will be directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse from a screenplay she penned. It is produced by Uberto Pasolini (The Full Monty) and Lynda House (Muriel's Wedding) and executive produced by Crowe.
Said Russell Crowe of joining with the Australian filmmakers and cast: "With the help of a few friends we envision this movie as a line in the sand, a statement of power through ensemble and therefore of greater impetus to the industry in general. Per capita, Australians and New Zealanders have made an enormous contribution to world cinema. We fight above our weight. This project will prove to our aspiring writers that an Australian director using Australian actors can use international funding to tell an Australian story."
"I feel very lucky to be working with these extraordinary actors on such a uniquely Australian love story," Director/Writer Jocelyn Moorhouse added. "When I worked with Russell on 'Proof', I was amazed by his powers as an actor and I can't wait to work with him again. Nicole has done brilliant work in overseas movies these last few years and I'm looking forward to working with her in a beautiful Australian setting."
In a world where life and love are fragile, a widower named Holland (Jack Thompson) plants hundreds of eucalyptuses as a memorial to his wife. Living in this man-made forest, hidden away from prying eyes, is Holland's beautiful and mysterious daughter Ellen (Nicole Kidman). Over the years, men have tried to woo Ellen, to no avail. One day, Holland realizes he can no longer keep Ellen hidden, and devises a seemingly impossible competition -- the man who can name all 800 eucalyptuses on Holland's property, by sight, will win his daughter's hand in marriage. Men come from all over the land to try their luck. As a brilliant, dashing botanist (Hugo Weaving) approaches the finishing line, Ellen finds herself drawn to a mysterious stranger (Russell Crowe) whose stories of far away places take root in her soul.
"It has long been a dream of mine to come home to make a film telling a uniquely Australian story," said Nicole Kidman. "To be able to do so with my good friend Russell makes 'Eucalyptus' extra special. Jocelyn Moorhouse has written a beautiful script -- a story of love and devotion -- which I am sure has universal appeal. This will be a wonderful collaboration of Australian talent."
Eucalyptus will be shot in Australia by Director of Photography Mandy Walker (Shattered Glass, Lantana). Both the production and costumes will be designed by three-time Oscar nominee Janet Patterson (Oscar and Lucinda, The Portrait of a Lady, The Piano).
Nicole Kidman Been Bugged in Sydney
Australian home of Nicole Kidman was wired: police discovered an electronic listening device which may belong to a paparazzi or an obsessive fan.
Nicole Kidman has become a target for a well-equipped spying paparazzi. Police in Sydney discovered an electronic listening device at luxurious home in Darling Point which belongs to Australian actress Nicole Kidman.
Police now investigates a security footage that showed a person planting the electronic listening device at Nicole Kidman's mansion while she was away in the United States. The bug was discovered when security officers searched the house Sunday in preparation for Nicole Kidman’s return for Sydney.
A spokesman for the security agency declined to say whether the person on the video was a paparazzi photographer or an obsessed fan.
Thumbs down for Kidman's new man
Nicole Kidman's romance with Steve Bing has reportedly been met by disapproval from her ex-husband Tom Cruise and best pal Naomi Watts, according to a report on Ananova.com.
Kidman has been dating the film producer since November 2004, despite his reputation as a love rat following his public humiliation of Elizabeth Hurley when she was pregnant with their child Damian and a long list of ex-girlfriends.
In 2001, Bing denied Hurley's claims he was the father of her then-unborn child, claiming the Estee Lauder beauty had been romancing other men besides himself.
A DNA test later proved he was the biological father, according to IMDB.com.
According to Australian gossip magazine NW, both Watts, Cruise and other friends of Kidman are warning the actress to end her romance. A friend said: "Tom is unhappy Steven is in the picture."
Nicole Kidman: Rich? Famous? Get out!
You know what the main problem is with being a ‘nobody’? No preferential treatment.
No-one runs up to open your limo door and help you onto that red carpet. No-one sweeps aside the waiting plebs to clear the best table in the restaurant for you and your adoring entourage. No-one laughs the fifth time you tell that same awful anecdote…
But I’ve got some comfort for the cold, huddled masses — a little gossip that proves even the AAA-list get spurned sometimes (a bit!).
For starters, word has it that Nicole Kidman just got turfed out of a nail bar of all places! Just how undignified is that?
And — wonder of wonders — the movie-star throw-out apparently was not the result of diva-esque rantings. No ‘I want my full set of acrylic nails and I want them now!’ from Kidman — in fact, most of the blame has been laid at the door of a rather irritable nail technician.
She showed Nic the exit after much umming and ahhing on the superstar’s part over which precise shade of red she wanted to have her nails varnished with.
Sheer vanity? Maybe. But if you knew that this decision meant the difference between entire fashion- and gossip-mag spreads devoted to the fresh, trend-setting newness of the shade you’re wearing, and the same-sized spread devoted to the horrible last-seasonness of your choice — you too might hesitate…
Then again, maybe Nicole’s found love (or just a particularly difficult crossword puzzle) — as she was reported to be “otherwise preoccupied. Presumably her mind was on her work. But the assistant was hardly sympathetic and was very impatient.”
Work? No — while this really is a complete stab in the dark — I’m going to lay my bet on romance… Only boys are more interesting than a good manicure!
Nicole Kidman: "Birth"
Nicole Kidman cannot help but look every bit the glamorous star she has become. Exquisitely donned in chocolate brown pants suit, her usual blonde curls neatly in place, Kidman is quieter than usual, conceding that she is tired but getting through the day of interviews, in which she is out to promote her latest film, Birth, a controversial film about a widow who is convinced that a 10-year old boy is the reincarnation of her dead husband. Kidman is one of that rare breed of star who can effortlessly switch to the heart of Hollywood's mainstream, but more often than not, take on a film entrenched in risk, that remain on the curious periphery of mainstream cinema. She has worked with some of the most unique film makers, from Kubrick, to Lars von Triers, Baz Luhrmann, Amenábar, and talented British newcomers (Jonathan Glazer, Birth; and Stephen Daldry, The Hours.
For the 37-year old Australian actress, a professional actress now for some 21 years, Kidman laughingly concedes that her agents are used to her making the unique choices she makes, even if it means shooting Birth, a film that includes a controversial bathtub scene involving Kidman's character and a 10-year old boy. "They're used to me now. Like, 'Okay, if that's what you want to do it's all right'." Kidman doesn't agree that too many eyebrows were raised because of that scene, or the film's contentious subject matter. "I think prior when you see the subject matter, but then when people see the film I don't think so because you've obviously seen the film," Kidman explains, further defining Birth as a "very gentle film and not about shocking or trying to exploit and take advantage of something to be shocking. I think it's very philosophical, very languid and very deep, and I think what you see is a really a great director in the making, from Sexy Beast to this. When you look at the diversity and the choices to make two extremely different movies, that's when I go Wow!"
Audiences, too, have reacted to Kidman's own formidable ability to immerse herself in a character. There is no Kidman persona, and Birth, a small, fascinating character piece, is Kidman at her best. All one has to do is watch her face, shot in close up, as her character expresses a variety of emotions without dialogue. It's a long shot in the film, and Kidman, as usual, is modest when explaining how she is able to retain such patience. " You're used to that as an actor. I mean, if you act that's what you're used to is you keep within that space, that time - I mean, there's times when you're bad and then you've got a whole other thing but that can be picked up and the director knows what's going on. 'That's terrible. Start again. Let's go again and try something different.' But most days it's almost like a limbo state you're in and you do exist not with yourself; but some other character. It's almost impossible to explain to people who don't act. That's why it's so tiresome to try and decipher it and why should you? It is what it is."
There is no doubt that when you talk to Nicole, you are not talking to a superficial film star. Always ferociously intelligent and passionate about her craft, Kidman has always had an innate need not to follow the crowd, and now, not to follow the mainstream. Constantly turning down a plethora of studio movies, Kidman says that need to be different, to follow her heart, comes from "being a strange child, I think and just having a slightly different view of the world." Perhaps it has to do with her Australian upbringing, but not necessarily so, she insists. "I don't classify it totally to a country. I think it's far more complicated than that whatever makes you what you are. I don't know, I'm not a psychologist, but I know my existence within my head when I was little and a lot of the same obsessions or ideas are still being played out now and they were right there when I was six, seven, eight and nine."
While constantly dismissing the notion of being a workaholic, Kidman has been working almost constantly since adolescence, exhibiting an almost fearless drive. Asked where that drive comes from, the actress mulls the question over before thoughtfully responding. "It's a weird thing because it's not about going to parties or driving or getting an award, but about you having something inside you that you need to express. I don't know any other way to explain it." Not all of Kidman's slate of films is on Hollywood's periphery, as she has just started filming the very mainstream Bewitched. Kidman justifies that particular choice in very pragmatic terms. "I just like the story. It's about a woman who can do magic and I've always wanted to do magic," she says smilingly, adding that the nose twitching will definitely be a part of this new take on the classic TV sitcom. Kidman also confirms participation in Mel Brook's screen version of his Tony Award-winning The Producers. "That is in the end of April is what they say," and Kidman says she is looking forward "to dance and sing in a Swedish accent. And Will Ferrell is doing it as well." Kidman has also completed The Interpreter with Sean Penn, but won't talk about the thriller. "I'll talk about that when it's coming out, but not now."
Yet despite published media reports that Kidman has signed on to star with pals Russell Crowe and Geoffrey Rush in the $40m Australian film Eucalyptus, Kidman remains very tight-lipped on that particular subject. "It's still up in the air," yet also admits to looking forward playing her first Australian character since Dead Calm, if it indeed goes ahead. "I don't want to talk about it until it's definite and until then, I never talk about it, as I'm the best secret keeper in the world," she says, smilingly. However, what she can confirm is her participation in a new film by renowned Chinese director Wong Kar-Wai. "Yes, that's definite and I'm very excited about that, but I would never be able to tell you anything about that. I've never worked with an Asian director. That's a part of the world where I've never gone. I'll go to Shanghai to do it and I've been meeting with him in New York and we've been talking about it for quite a long time. I may never come back from Shanghai, which is where we'll shoot it. Gong Li's in it. He has a strong sense of where he wants to take me.'
That's typical of Kidman's philosophy when it comes to her career. Even trying to get her to talk about the order in which she plans to shoot this growing proliferation of films, is a challenge. "There is no order. You're talking about someone like Wong Kar-Wai, who'll make the movie when he wants to make it." Kidman, who remains so involved with her films, says, "I don't like the feeling of a film being a product, but that you are stepping into somebody's world and it takes you where it takes you."
As busy as she is, one inevitably wonders what room exists for a personal life. As Birth deals with a woman on the verge of remarrying, one of course wonders whether she gives the idea of another marriage serious consideration these days. "I would get remarried again if I felt I was going to spend the rest of my life with the person, but I'd never go through another divorce." Kidman says that as frantic as her professional life is, it remains important to have room for a personal life. "Oh well, you make time," she says, abruptly.
While her personal life seems in a state of flux, on a professionally creative level, Kidman remains at the top of her game. "I'm glad that I'm getting to tell stories or part of stories that I feel are important. It's nice because I've been in the same place where you've been dying to express yourself or dying to have some sort of outlet and you're not being given the chance and so much of being an actor is being given the chance because, you know, you're not the writer and you're not the director. So it's really nice to be given that chance." And stardom be damned, because after all, it could all come to an end as rapidly as it began. "It's all going to fall apart at some stage and you can watch it happen."
Nicole Kidman stars in "The Stepford Wives"
Nicole Kidman has had her share of playing depressing characters, but finally lets herself ago. Now in New York, she shares the spotlight with co-stars Bette Midler, Faith Hill and Glenn Close, but as per usual, the press cannot get enough of Aussie Kidman. A darkly comic interpretation of the original novel, originally filmed in 1975, Kidman plays a powerful career woman who winds up in Stepford, a mysterious Connecticut town where the women are perfect wives and homemakers, but oddly vapid and robot-like. A film that in part satirises domestic perfection in true American style, Kidman says that, as is expressed in her Stepford Wives, "the thing is that happiness is not found through perfection or even trying to achieve it. I'm nowhere near perfect, and am not ever trying to be," Kidman explains. "Actually, the things that I find most attractive in people are their flaws and imperfections." The workaholic Kidman, now an Oscar and Golden Globe winner, says that even in her world, she finds time for domestic bliss of sorts. "I suppose that my thing is that I like cooking. That's the thing that I would like to become better at, which actually relaxes me. I don't see it as work. I really enjoy being able to make things, otherwise, forget it. I can't sew. I'm a very poor knitter, but I can wrap Christmas presents really well," Kidman laughingly confesses.
The Stepford Wives, in part, satirizes the all-American housewife, embodied in post-World War 2 American culture. Kidman is unconcerned that today's housewives will find The Stepford Wives offensive. "A stay at home mom is not sort of doing her hair. I mean, basically my mum was at home for most of our lives and I don't think that I ever saw her in stilettos and her hair all done while baking a cake. I mean, sure, she would cook and could sew like the best of them and she would make all of our clothes, but she was real and complicated and a wonderful, wonderful role model for me and a wonderful women. But she didn't have to appear or present herself in any particular way which I think this is. It's all about the presentation and not having a mind." Kidman forcefully adds that "I don't think that that this film is offensive to a stay at home mom or to women who are choosing to raise their children and not have their career for a certain period of time or choosing not to have a career at all, but that's what it's about. It's about that also, and about the choice to do those things."
Kidman says that it wasn't easy trying to relate to the ambitious elements of her character we see at the beginning the movie, this dominant, take-charge character, who is running TV network. "But then I wanted her to be very extreme," Kidman explains. "I actually kept fighting for more extremes in her kind of nature, at the beginning so that you want her to fall in a way, because I think that that's interesting. It's someone who seems so out of control, power hungry, obsessed and completely imbalanced and therefore there's this desire to see them actually fall down and get their comeuppance in a way. Then when she's taken to the other extreme, it's like, 'No. This is too much.' So that's what appealed to me about the character. Am I like that? The beginning woman? No. I have a lot more insecurities, I think," Those insecurities have as much to do with Kidman's continual battle, combining motherhood with the career that has dominated her life since childhood. In previous interviews, the actress has commented on eventually giving up the career, but here she is, centre stage trying to address that issue in this city that never sleeps. "I guess what I grapple with is that I still haven't learned how to balance those things. I suppose that what I'm implying is that at some stage I would love to have another child," Nicole confesses. "I would love to settle into a relationship that's really important to me and I actually am not good at the balance at that. So that's what I sort of see as my future in a way, but I don't see the two combining which I think is a big problem in our society as well."
In discussing the theme of men's suspicion of powerful women in Stepford Wives, Kidman laughs when asked if she feels that to be really the case in her own life. "I don't see myself as terribly powerful or successful. I see myself more as just absolutely loving what I do. With that has come all of the other things that you sort of deal with in relation to it. But I love to act and love to have an opportunity to play an array of women who are sort of fascinating and complicated, which is a dream as an actress. So in terms of men in relation to that, I think that a lot of it is that you maybe don't have a lot of time to give to someone else which comes back to my thing of how do you balance. When you're passionate about what you do, how are you then passionate about someone in your life? I suppose that all works out, doesn't it? So in relation to power and success, I never even think like that. I mean, it's not something that I'm focusing on. It's more about just having the blessings at the moment to do some things creatively and to express things that I have going on inside my head."
Asked what her definition of the perfect man is, a la Stepford-type technology, Kidman offers a slight smile. "I don't want perfect. I think that the discovery of someone is the fun thing and the discovery of the things that someone else might find appalling. You think that they're really cute. I mean, I don't even know what I'm looking for. I suppose it's a mystery isn't it and I like the mystery."
What is not a mystery is how hard Kidman continues to work. About to shoot two more comedies, The Producers and Bewitched, Kidman is reflective about her professional future, disputing the notion that she is rushing forward with a plethora of films. "I hope that it's not rushing. I think I'm in a position where I say no to a lot of things, but I also say yes to things that come my way that I feel strongly about. I don't actually have the answers. I read scripts, respond to them and have the opportunity to work with some of the most extraordinary, talented people at the moment and I respond to that. But I have my time. I actually don't go out a lot. I spend a lot of time with my kids, my sister and my parents and stuff when I'm not working. The good thing about when you make a film is that you work intensively for a period of time, so it's a slightly different way of doing it. You know, you're not working a nine to five job. This film was the longest film that I've done besides the Kubrick film I don't do well with long times. I actually like the period to be short because I have two kids and I certainly won't go certain places in the world because of my kids and just my situation. So I hope that it doesn't appear that I'm rushing, as I really value and honour my work and what it brings to me."
If it's not her work that Kidman obsesses about, then the protection of her children remains of paramount importance. As fiercely protective as she can be in this day and age, Kidman says she does what she can to protect them from the prying eyes of the media spotlight. "I never take them to premieres. They've never been photographed for magazines, and I'm absolutely a maniac about that. The only photos of them that have ever been printed are sort of paparazzi, long lens, and even then, I'm always like, 'Please, please don't.' It jeopardizes them." She sighs heavily when asked if either or both have expressed an interest in acting. "Oh, no, here we go, that's the big one. Honestly, I have to be careful because my job is to be their mother and just because their mother is famous does not mean that they are. My job is to try and give them their life and once they're sixteen, if they're going, 'I want to be an actor,' then it's different."
Nicole Kidman stars in "The Hours"
There is nothing in Nicole Kidman's portrayal of tragic novelist and essayist Virginia Woolf in The Hours that suggests that there is anything ?idmanesque' about it. The tall beautiful actress who radiated sensuality and beauty in last year's Moulin Rouge has evaporated in her latest film. In her place is a stark reminder of how serious Kidman works. But on The Hours, which she consistently turned down at first because of a real fear that she couldn't pull it off, the 35-year old Aussie Oscar nominee admits that she never worked as hard as on this character which included a detailed physical transformation as well as delving into the psyche of Woolf's character. In talking about her preparation, Kidman says that "it is so hard to describe how to do a role, because I think each film requires something different, as does each director." On The Hours, Kidman felt that it was vital to live the character and adopt what is commonly referred to as ?he method' "where you would just go into this other safe beacon and that's what I did," Kidman explains with a slight laugh. "So I kept a journal, read a lot, and it was a place in my life that I was in and then I was able to absorb HER," she explains. Frequently asked how she came up with Woolf's physical characteristics, such as her very specific walk or the now infamous nose, the actress says that she can't quite remember how it all came together. "All I know is that I would go to work every morning start to smoke roll your own cigarettes and then I would try and exist within her. "It is a hard thing to explain and people think you are crazy and then maybe you are but you do it because you believe PASSIONATELY in what you're doing." And it was clearly all worth the trouble. "You're given such wonderful opportunities as an actor when you're given a role like this that you have to be willing to go the distance."
No wonder, as she did go through the distance, Kidman found herself falling in love with Virginia Woolf on so many levels. "I thought, ?his woman is such a magnificent person.' I call her a creature, a magnificent creature, because she really was. The way in which she had this enormous intellect and then this extraordinary fragility and to combine the two creates almost a kind of chemistry and you put it together and it just bubbles. I'm fascinated by her - and I think everyone is."
One can only wonder that given her detailed process, the difficulties she faced leaving Virginia Woolf behind at the end of the day. "It was difficult, especially given the shortness of my involvement. It became increasingly hard to say goodbye to Virginia and at the same time saying: I really wanted to do her justice. In setting out to try and explain certain things in her life, I went out my way to protect that, in a way, so I was able to walk away from it. However, in terms of just her impact, her literature is so powerful, as was her mind, perceptions and ideas, and they all resonate." Kidman adds that Woolf's ideas and themes "still remain relevant. Her work doesn't date and therefore her impact on MY life is pretty profound," Kidman admits. In defining Woolf as an emotional, artistic and vulnerable woman, there seems to be some parallels between the author and the actress who plays her. Kidman doesn't disagree. "I think the lines are very blurred now," she said. "It's strange. I try not to analyze it too much because just now I work primarily off my instinct, my choices. In some way the work and the opportunities of the work have been my saving grace. My children first and foremost kind of gave me day by day the desire to live and then, in terms of just being able to express yourself through different women who are extraordinarily rich."
When Nicole is not working, a rare occurrence these days for the workaholic actress, her children, she says, are what keep her sane. This is ironic given the fact that while shooting The Hours and thus immersing herself into the character, one can only wonder how such a process would impact on her kids. "I'm actually lucky because my mum was able to take care of them for two weeks, so there was only a week where it crossed over and at that time Connor would look at me and go: You're weird and I don't like that nose. So it was a week of kind of him and me feeling a little strange and then we got through it. I know I'll end up getting a lot of therapy about it later on", she adds laughingly.
Nicole remains unconcerned and somehow unphased at her stardom and of course, recognition, believing that she should enjoy her moment in the sun while she can. "I know that it doesn't last forever. I just have to learn to smell the roses a little bit -- and once it's not great, I won't do it any more." A Hollywood A-list player, she uses her power not to get a truckload of money but roles about which she remains passionate, such as the ensemble period drama Cold Mountain, which she recently wrapped in Romania, or her next project, Birth, directed by Sexy Beast's Jonathan Glazer. "He's amazing and I'm very excited about doing it. It's a nice, 10-week shoot in New York."
Since first interviewing Nicole nearly 20 years ago, what is striking about the actress is her ability to remain true to herself. Even now, with her recent star implanted on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame Kidman continues to adopt a down to earth policy, and is clearly having the time of her life. "It's funny, as I was getting the star I was looking around and thinking: Oh gosh, this is so amazing, but I also kind of felt out of it or that I'm really here experiencing this." She adds that she's happiest "when I'm with my children or when I'm making a movie. It's just kind of lovely to be able to feel that excitement about being able to play a character and work for a new director whom you really believe in."
Nicole Kidman: "The Human Stain" & "Dogville"
Nicole Kidman retains a quiet elegance that has been her trademark for a decade. Delicately putting on her glasses ["I really can't see without them"], Kidman is a tad shy, maybe a sign of exhaustion. Amidst the chaos and non-stop energy of the Toronto Film Festival, Kidman has not one but three films screening, including In the Cut, which she produced. In between shooting The Stepford Wives, Kidman has become one of Hollywood's busiest actors, with Cold Mountain still due to hit theatres later this year. Workaholic? Maybe, but the Oscar winner Australian doesn't feel that she is driven to work as hard as she does. "I suppose it doesn't really feel like work to me," Kidman says, pausing slightly. "It doesn't feel like a drive, but more like I've had these opportunities. It's odd, because I made Dogville at the beginning of last year, which was a five-week shoot, and Human Stain was a short shoot for me before I made Cold Mountain. But everyone seems to talk about film making as work, but I don't see it as work", she says with a slight laugh. Rather, she insists, she sees it as something she "loves to do that's an artistic expression, that's more about the joy of being asked to play these roles, with extraordinary directors. Acting, for me, is not a business, but trying to make pieces of art that I believe in, that I feel proud of and the journey. There's no drive behind it but an acceptance of what my life is." That life, she says, is that of an actress "and somebody who ABSOLUTELY loves what they do and would it whether you'd pay me or not, because I'm dedicated to it."
Kidman's dedication is apparent in the films in which she stars, Dogville and The Human Stain. It's the latter that has caused much discussion, in which a sometimes nude and seductive Kidman falls for a 70-year old former professor, played by Anthony Hopkins. Eyebrows may indeed be raised at the sight of the 36-year old beauty lusting after the much older Hopkins, but Kidman shrugs off the criticism, admitting that age doesn't really matter. "The reason people are drawn together, the reason people choose each other, we never know."
Kidman even admits that without all the exterior forces working against them, the relationship of the two characters in The Human Stain definitely could have worked, even though both people were so emotionally damaged. "The different people that enter into your life at different times, they enter into it, because you allow them, they enter because of timing, they enter because of a connection between two people, not the way in which their bodies look."
She says people who operate on strictly physical level probably have very superficial relationships that don't stand a chance. "A 70-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman, a 25-year-old man and a 70-year-old woman, bring it on! It doesn't matter," she exclaims, laughing loudly in the process.
She also dismissed questions about whether she can be believable as a janitor and a farmhand, which is what her strangely mysterious character does in The Human Stain. "I cleaned toilets when I was an usherette in Sydney and my hands got very dirty. Whether you believe me or not, I tried to do the best I could to honour her as a woman."
Human Stain is but one of three intense dramas that Kidman has done. Apart from her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in The Hours, there is Lars von Triers' complex and experimental Dogville. Though much has been reported about the so-called rift between Kidman and the strange Danish director, the actress speaks genuinely passionately about the film and its director. "With Lars, you don't feel like you're making a movie, but rather entering into a world, particularly because the way in which we did it." She recalls working in Sweden, "working in a small town and we all worked together, and in a way, you become part of Lars' psyche, in a way. You go to sleep, you have dinner and breakfast with him, you go to work you eat lunch together and so you're almost joined at the hip." Kidman admits that while such a work environment is exciting, "it's also a very confronting experience, resulting in the different films that he makes. So when I arrived in Sweden, I knew that I'd be working with somebody who "already had a complicated relationship with Bjork, but I arrived there going: I'm here, I'm open and I'm raw, ready to work and ready to be part of your life." There were no sets to speak of, Kidman recalls, "but I was prepared to work through it. He's so unconventional, he operates the camera himself, he'll reach out and hold your hand and talk to you and move you around. It's just a very different format", Kidman explains. "It's not about trying to achieve a performance, it's more about him trying to get inside your head." Kidman promised to do the rest of the director's trilogy but suddenly backed out of the second one, maintaining a need to spend "some time with my kids early next year."
Next to her ever-flourishing career, it's her children that remain a priority for Nicole, insisting that neither she nor Tom Cruise "ever discussed the custody in terms of the children. It's important for me that my kids are a part of my life. That means they come to the film set, they're aware of what I'm doing and they get to give their opinion in terms of the different characters," says Kidman. "But they have a complicated life and it's something you feel guilty for, and something you apologise for, and it's something you say: Well, they're going to get an education out of this that will be slightly different and that's going to be very artistic. I just think that anything you can do to stimulate a child artistically is important. So who knows how it will all turn out in the end but I'm trying to incorporate them and keep them so their memories will be very vivid in relation to the work."
And the work has been very intense of latte, which means she has to shift gears. Kidman next film is finally a comedy, a light-hearted remake of the 1970s horror movie The Stepford Wives. "It's tough being funny!" she says with that hearty laugh of hers. And, by the way, reports of her playing the Elizabeth Montgomery part in a film version of the old TV sitcom Bewitched are premature. She says she hasn't yet committed to it and if she did, Samantha's famous magical nose-twitch "would probably be CGI", she adds, laughingly.
Kidman also concedes that she still suffers from bouts of stage fright, not only before doing theatrical roles, but when she first commits to choosing a film, and sometimes she has to back out. She says Meryl Streep - with whom she co-starred in The Hours - often has the same fear. "I'm actually desperate to do a play again within the next 18 months because if I don't do it I'll never go back onstage. And I want to do it and throw myself in that arena again and want to do it bravely with something that's kind of unusual and bold."
She says although she served as a producer, because of that fear of not being in the proper emotional state at the time, she had to bow out of the leading role that Meg Ryan took in Jane Campion's upcoming psychological thriller In the Cut. "It was a very painful thing to give up," she admits. "But at the same time I was very glad for Meg Ryan." Had Kidman starred in the film, eyebrows would have been raised again, as Ryan plays a lonely academic who becomes sexually awakened by an aggressive cop on the hunt for a serial killer. Sex is back, and a common theme at this year's Toronto Film Festival, and Kidman is certain as to why films dealing with sexual relationships are suddenly back in vogue. "Because it's important and it's a part of our life because I think the denial of it isn't going to help any of us. I also think there is a group of people going: Let's deal with sexual issues, let's deal with things that are confronting, and hopefully stimulate people into conversation and ideas."
As for life after Oscar, Kidman says it didn't sink in until she saw for herself what a global event the Academy Awards were. "I've realized just from my travels, the awareness of it is worldwide."
She says, too, she is especially glad to have won for playing Virginia Woolf, "because she gave me so much and then on top of it, she gave me an Oscar, and I'm glad to have had that through her. I have a strange relationship with Miss Woolf."