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Witchy woman: Nicole Kidman works her magic in big-screen `Bewitched', the Boston Herald, June 19th 2005

Her ex has gone haywire professing his love for Katie Holmes, but Nicole Kidman, who cutely wiggles her nose in the big-screen update of ``Bewitched,'' opening Friday, is studiously avoiding any similar revelations.

Since the bitter end of her 10-year marriage to Tom Cruise, Kidman has been linked to a procession of men. Until recently it was caddish billionaire Steve Bing (who as the father of ex-girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley's child demanded DNA proof the child was his).

But Kidman, who turns 38 tomorrow, isn't ready or willing to talk about any additions to her family. Her adopted daughter, Isabella, turns 13 in December, while adopted son Conor is 10.

``Oh God,'' she said. ``If I go down this territory, I end up with headlines, and then I end up getting letters from people saying, `I'll be the father of your child!' `But I don't know you!' '' she said with a laugh.

A fashion icon and one of the world's most bankable female movie stars, Kidman doesn't pretend she's also Super Mom.

"You don't do it all,'' she said. ``What you've got right now is a bit of a tired mother. Just before I arrived here, I woke up at 7 a.m. this morning to play tennis with my son. I was at the MTV Movie Awards last night; we then came home and ordered room service and went to bed (at) about midnight. I got out of bed at 6 to get him up so that I could get him on the court at 7, and I've got to tell you, it's not pretty,'' she said with a laugh. ``It's sweats and it's T-shirts and slightly bleary-eyed, but desperately trying to be a good mom, you know?''

Kidman laughed again. ``I say, `See, you can do it all!' ''

While she had a day-long press schedule, ``My kids are gone to the Dodgers game, and then we're off to an Italian restaurant tonight because I don't have time to cook. So there you see it. Trying to juggle, right?''

Kidman's ``Bewitched'' isn't about a married witch's attempts to be a normal housewife, juggling domesticity with magical spells as Elizabeth Montgomery's Samantha did in the '60s series. This 21st century ``Bewitched'' is about fading movie star Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell), whose comeback hopes ride on playing Darrin, the regular guy who marries a witch, in a new spin on the old series. Kidman's Isabel Bigelow just happens to be a real witch who wants a normal life. Despite having no acting experience, she's cast as Samantha opposite Jack's Darrin and soon proves there's no fool like an egomaniacal actor.

Kidman cautiously committed to ``Bewitched,'' not wanting to have another big-budget flop like last summer's ``Stepford Wives.'' She turned down playing Mrs. Smith in ``Mr. and Mrs. Smith'' to play Samantha and credits Nora Ephron (``Sleepless in Seattle'') with persuading her to get aboard Samantha's broomstick.

``The way Nora wrote the script with her sister Delia, she incorporated quite cleverly the series, with then being able to create new characters for us rather than us trying to mimic the (original) Darrin and Samantha. We were able to kind of have an essence of them. Many people have tried to develop it but have never quite been able to make a story, because if you just stick to the series, then the actual story of that just doesn't warrant a feature film, you know? So that was the struggle.''

Kidman mastered Samantha's trademark nose twitch, a signal magic is about to happen. What would she like to twitch her nose for in real life?

``That you were able to be aware of everything your children were up to. I think what happens when they hit 13 is that there's a lot of secrets.''

Kidman changes herself constantly for the camera, most famously in using a fake nose for her Best Actress Oscar-winning work as Virginia Woolf in ``The Hours.''

``That's movie change,'' she said. ``I'm not a big fan of the plastic surgery stuff, where it's like, `What is that?' I find that slightly macabre. But in terms of people getting a makeover with their house or their clothes, that's OK.''

Her current movie makeover is for ``Fur,'' now filming in New York.

``I'm playing Diane Arbus (the legendary suicidal '60s Jewish photographer),'' she said. ``So I get to step into the skin of somebody else and change the way I talk and move and be. But I'm having a lot of fun. It's a very, very small, odd little film - right up my alley.''

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