How Hot Did Things Get on ‘Cold Mountain’?
Nov. 21, 2003 — Two of Hollywood’s hottest leading ladies spent seven months cut off from the modern world in an isolated Romanian village with a young, handsome leading man filming a Civil War epic. Of course, the movie fueled racy rumors.
Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, Jude Law sat down with 20/20′s Barbara Walters to talk about their upcoming film, Cold Mountain.
The film, which opens Christmas Day, is a sweeping Civil War epic based on the best-selling novel by Charles Frazier. Law plays Inman, a Confederate soldier who becomes disillusioned with war and sets out on a journey back home to the town of Cold Mountain in North Carolina. Kidman plays Ada, the daughter of a minister who moves to Cold Mountain and finds herself unprepared for the hardships of war. Zellweger plays Ruby, a backwoods country girl who teaches Ada how to survive.
Neither woman wants to publicly state the name of men in their lives, but it is well known that Zellweger was seeing rock star Jack White of The White Stripes, and Kidman is dating rocker Lenny Kravitz. But Kidman and Law did set the record straight on their alleged love affair on the set of Cold Mountain.
Kidman says their on-screen love scene was strictly on the set. “It’s like we know each other in a very deep way now. I’ve kissed the man when the cameras were rolling. You know, so it’s slightly unusual. I’ve lain there when the cameras are rolling. I mean, that’s not, you know, the norm, but nothing gets crossed over into your personal lives,” Kidman told Walters.
Law’s personal life was in turmoil throughout the production of Cold Mountain. Last month, he was divorced from his wife, actress Sadie Frost. They have three young children. And just recently, it’s been reported that he’s involved with 20-year-old British actress Sienna Miller. Through it all, the one thing that’s kept him going seems to be his acting.
Law said, “I think there’s a responsibility to yourself again to maybe make the right decisions and to continue making decisions that come from the heart, and, in this celebrity sort of culture, to retain a certain amount of privacy and self respect.”
Zellweger says that despite her success, she could see giving up her acting career under the right circumstances. “I’m not a very good movie star. I would like to be. I would like to say that it’s so great. At the same time I question its importance,” Zellweger said. And could she give up acting for love? “I could give pretty much anything up for the right reasons,” Zellweger said.
A Bonding Experience
Kidman and Zellweger say they bonded during the filming of the movie, which often took place under trying conditions. “I liked her immediately. It’s funny because she’s so beautiful and regal, and you meet her and she’s warm and has a wonderful sense of humor,” says Zellweger of Kidman. “And that’s what I noticed about her right off — was her giggle.”
“We would spend an enormous amount of time together during the day,” says Kidman. “And just talk, talk about our lives and. kind of why we did it and, you know, was it still worth it, and all of those things,” says Kidman. “So it was really good for me to be around another woman who was having similar experiences.”
The two actresses say there’s no acrimony about Kidman’s Oscar win over Zellweger last year. “I don’t really look at it as a loss,” says Zellweger. “It was such a long time coming for her. She has deserved that honor over and over and over again.” Kidman says the win was bittersweet. “I knew what she’d done in Cold Mountain. I see that woman’s talent and her versatility. And I see that she has that in her future. I mean, you just know it with Renée. She will win an Academy Award.”
Stars Loved Rural Isolation
Even though the movie is set in the American South, most of the filming took place in Transylvania, a small isolated province in the mountains of Romania. Director Anthony P. Minghella says, “If you go in the air and look down on America it’s got all of the tattoos of the 21st century, the way that big farm equipment leaves their scars … But in Transylvania there are … miles of this completely virgin landscape.”
And his cast of Hollywood royalty loved the isolated location. “It was blissful,” says Law. “I think in the little town where I lived … I was the only person who had a car. Everyone else had a horse and cart.”
“My mother said to me, ‘I don’t think you’ve ever been happier,’” says Kidman. Zellweger added, “It was fantastic. It gives you a lot of time to think about what it is that you really need. More importantly, it makes you realize what you don’t need.”
"I’d like to be wise. You have to go through a lot to get there, but I’m willing to go through a lot." - Nicole Kidman