Kidman shares her Cannes-do attitude
WORK, family and The Voice – Nicole Kidman reveals what’s making her happy.
WHEN Nicole Kidman last attended the Cannes Film Festival in 2003, she was so thrilled to be there she jumped up and down on the bed at the exclusive Hotel du Cap where she was staying.
Reminded of that moment of exuberance, Kidman laughs.
“I now jump on it with Keith,” she tells Insider.
“I don’t have to do it alone.”
Australia’s most famous actor has found a leading man for life in Keith Urban and it’s clear she has never been happier. She’s had two headline-grabbing movies premiere at the prestigious Cannes festival but Kidman is just as pleased that, thanks to his effortlessly charming weekly appearances on The Voice, her Grammy-winning country superstar husband has Australia falling in love with him.
“They should!” Kidman says. “I don’t think they realised how great he is.
“He’s just such an Aussie boy from Caboolture who’s still got that. And talent beyond, I mean you haven’t seen anything yet.”
Dressed in a monochromatic Mad Men-style Dior dress and looking out from the top floor of Cannes’ iconic Majestic Hotel at the sparkling Mediterranean below, the five-time Cannes veteran is sitting pretty.
Her show-stopping turn in the swampy Southern noir film The Paperboy has garnered some of the best notices of her career. In that polarising festival movie, her cougar-licious bottle-blonde floozy gets hot and heavy with a convicted murderer and sparks a fire in Zac Efron’s small-town boy.
And in Hemingway & Gellhorn she bares all in a couple of toe-curling sex scenes with Clive Owen.
At 44, with two children under five – Sunday Rose, 4, and one-year-old Faith Margaret – Kidman has never looked hotter. Urban obviously agrees, flying 35 hours from Sydney to carry his wife’s clutch purse on the red carpet at The Paperboy premiere.
“He and I met later in life and I think when you meet later in life as a couple you have a much better chance of really going to a deep place,” Kidman says.
“I think when you’re younger, and sometimes not, because my parents met when they were 23, but for us we met later in life and we kind of know who we are and where we’re at.
“And I’m very, very fortunate because I just, it sounds so corny, I just adore him. I just love him and it’s that simple. It’s going to sound so corny in print, but I’m saying it.”
Hemingway famously said that courage is grace under pressure and Kidman, who has three Oscar nominations and one Best Actress award to her name, has certainly hurled herself into middle age with panache. She shows no sign of searching for a professional comfort zone; the stability of home gives her wings.
Scorching on screen, Kidman may be. Fearless, not so much.
“No, I have a tremendous amount of fear, but I just push through it,” she says. “I’ll feel terrified but then I’ll just go, ‘So what’s the worst that can happen?’
“And I try to do that in terms of everything I do, even falling in love.
“I’m going to love to the fullest that I can because, why not, you know? And I’m going to love my children that way and I’m going to love my husband that way and maybe there’s going to be pain but I’m willing to accept the pain.”
Upcoming films include Korean director Park Chan-wook’s Stoker, with fellow Australians Mia Wasikowska and Jacki Weaver, Jonathan Teplitzky’s period drama The Railway Man opposite Colin Firth, and a new film from her The Paperboy director Lee Daniels called The Butler.
She’s also signed on to play iconic glamourpuss Grace Kelly in Grace of Monaco, which begins shooting later this year.
Kidman likes to mix it up and says she deliberately offset her “raw and dangerous” performance as an “oversexed Barbie doll” in The Paperboy with a role in Hemingway & Gellhorn.
In the stately TV biopic, Kidman plays Martha Gellhorn, an intrepid war correspondent who had a combustible relationship with American literary lion Ernest Hemingway and was married to him for five years.
“She had extraordinary spirit and tenacity and compassion and she wanted to see the atrocities of the world and give voice to the voiceless,” Kidman says.
“That sort of stuff I just bow to, that’s a force. It may not be my force because I have different desires, but I wanted the story to be told.”
And how do her desires differ from the fiercely independent Gellhorn?
“I want a very deep, intimate, monogamous relationship,” she says. “That’s what I cultivate in my life.
“I want to raise children; I love children. Martha loved children of the world but I want to raise children. I love raising children.”
It’s important to Kidman that her daughters are provided with strong female role models.
“I’ve always tried to step out as a woman to protect other women,” she says. “I have a sister. I have daughters. I have friends and I was raised by a feminist mother and I believe in the strength of that. It doesn’t mean that you hate men, it just means that you have to protect and help each other.
“And that’s only because it is tougher sometimes for women; there is more criticism a lot of times and the choices that women make are judged more harshly.”
Kidman is back in Australia, keeping the home fires burning while Urban shoots The Voice.
She says her husband inspires her and that their hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, inspires him.
“Keith’s career is country music and, you know, that’s his passion so we have to live there,” she says.
“That’s where his work is and I’m perfectly happy there and I’m glad to be able to support him,.”
Hemingway & Gellhorn airs on Showcase on September 9. The Paperboy doesn’t yet have an Australian release date.
"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