At the Movies
Nicole Kidman has clocked up over four decades in the movie business
James Evans talks with the Australian icon about her Hollywood career
Nicole Kidman reveals that despite so many years ensconced in the trials of Tinseltown, she still finds substance and variety in the work she does – to the extent that today, many regard the star as being truly in her prime.
From Nicole’s earliest roles in native Australia to her rise as one of Hollywood’s most esteemed leading ladies, Kidman has crafted a career that exemplifies versatility, talent and timeless grace.
Born in Honolulu and raised in Sydney, she began her acting journey on the stages and screens of Australia, before a move to the US brought Nicole both challenges and opportunities.
With her striking presence and undeniable talent, Kidman has taken on diverse roles that range from the enchanting Satine in Moulin Rouge! to the formidable Grace Fraser in the HBO series The Undoing.
Her ability to immerse herself in the characters she portrays, together with Nicole’s captivating screen presence, have made her one of the most sought after actresses of her generation.
Celebrated not only for her on-screen talents but also ventures behind the scenes as a producer, Kidman’s dedication to championing women’s voices and stories – especially through her production business Blossom Films – is noteworthy.
The upcoming Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom sees Nicole reprising her role from the first film as Queen Atlanna; and as with the first Aquaman instalment in 2018, the sequel is also directed by James Wan, who created The Conjuring and the Saw franchises.
Kidman says she is thrilled to have been working with her fellow Australian.
“I can’t say anything other than that James is one of the best directors working right now, and it’s been amazing creating this piece of art and drama with him again,” she enthuses.
Nicole adds: “I’m an ‘aqua warrior’ – and I thought that it was only going to come around once in a lifetime… turns out I was able to get a second shot at it!”
Kidman wasn’t able to operate in the relative home comfort of Australia since the sequel was filmed in the picturesque county of Cornwall in the UK.
“For the first film, it was fantastic to be close to my mother for an extended period. Knowing that the second was going to be in the United Kingdom for a prolonged time, I prepared for it and promised my family it wasn’t going to be like this again! But it was definitely an excuse to have fun,” Nicole reveals.
She adds: “There’s been a lot of intensity in my work in the past and I wanted to prioritise enjoyment on this. I’m completely spontaneous and random in my decisions – so never let it be said that I don’t have diverse taste! I love jumping in at the deep end.”
Having taken on a breadth of female characters including a gazing ingénue (Days of Thunder), sex siren (Batman Forever), housewife (The Stepford Wives) and the selfless matriarch (Lion), Kidman knows better than most about what the perils of being a woman in a man’s industry are.
Over the past few years however, the stunning strawberry blonde has not only witnessed the huge shift to more female driven narratives but has also been fuelling it.
The best example of this is the television phenomenon Big Little Lies, based on Australian novelist Liane Moriarty’s book of the same name.
It was a project that only came to fruition thanks to the determination of its two lead stars and co-executive producers Nicole and Reese Witherspoon.
Kidman says: “I had coffee with Liane and said: ‘Let us option your book please, and I promise you we’ll get it made.’ She replied: ‘Only if you and Reese play Celeste and Madeline.’ And I responded: ‘Deal!’”
Unlike her Big Little Lies alter ego, Nicole and Keith Urban really do have an idyllic marriage. They split their time between the couple’s homes in Nashville and Sydney with their two daughters.
With Kidman also sharing two adopted children with ex-husband Tom Cruise, she and Urban navigate their busy schedules to enable as much time together as possible.
When asked about the secret to their marriage, Nicole says: “It helps that besides my kids, Keith is the person whom I always want to spend the most time with – he has a great sense of humour. But even when you’re in love, a lot of patience and commitment is still required!”
“Even though the girls are older now, it’s nice to know that they still want me there. Acting takes up so much of your life, and this is where a balance between work and family is impossible.”
The Oscar winner emphatically supports the notion that motherhood is the greatest role there is. She affirms: “You have to make a choice and it will always be them – they come first.”
“I’m an ‘aqua warrior’ – and I thought that it was only going to come around once in a lifetime… turns out I was able to get a second shot at it!”
“There’s been a lot of intensity in my work in the past and I wanted to prioritise enjoyment on this”
“Never let it be said that I don’t have diverse taste! I love jumping in at the deep end”