Nicole Kidman Can-Cans On, Hollywood.com, May 13th 2001
“I’m in therapy here,” Nicole Kidman jokes.
She’s not just referring to the psychiatrist-friendly chaise longue brought
into her interview suite in lieu of the typical armchair. She’s reflecting
on the jam-packed day of press interrogations she’s faced after flying
halfway around the world from the Cannes Film Festival in France, where she
dealt with … well, press interrogations.
And then there are questions: “How have you held up since the
separation from Tom Cruise … your miscarriage … his allegation that you know
exactly why the marriage is over …” Not exactly questions an actress is
eager to embrace, especially when they’ve come in rapid-fire,
But Kidman happens to have a film to promote, so she’s left no choice but to
sit, somewhat trapped, as reporters stream in and out the door, put on a
laughing face and fulfill her media song-and-dance obligations.
It’s a career hardship she shares with her Moulin Rouge character,
Satine, a glamorous courtesan and can-can girl in the 1890s who must upkeep
an “unattainable” reputation and please key financiers as she pursues her
dreams of a bonafide acting career. When idealistic writer Christian (Ewan
McGregor) enters her life, Satine doesn’t expect to fall in love. Yet, amid
adoring gazes and an eclectic mix of modern and classic songs (from
“Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” to “Smells Like Teen Spirit”), love
Kidman, 33, is already known for chasing down roles she’s passionate about
(To Die For and Portrait of a Lady were two critical payoffs).
But Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann (Strictly Ballroom, William
Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet) had to be convinced of her singing and
dancing chops, since she’d never done either on screen before. So Kidman
performed “Nobody Does It Better” for the director. He checked out her
acclaimed London stage performance in The Blue Room, and the role was
“When I got the role, I went, ‘Oh, great! I get to make a musical, sing,
dance, act, work with Ewan McGregor and Baz Luhrmann, and film it in
[my homeland of] Australia,” Kidman says.
But during the shooting, which was filmed entirely on soundstages in Sydney,
a rib which halted filming. Adding to the stress, Luhrmann required his
actors to sing their numbers live rather than lip-sync to a pre-recorded
“He said, emotionally, it’s just more pleasant … mouthing to playback would
break the intensity of it,” Kidman reasons. “[But] it’s hard when you’re
crying and singing and trying to stay in the right key and the right timing
When the day was over, Kidman would head to her trailer, where her two
adopted children, 8-year-old Isabella and 6-year-old Connor, did their
homework after school. And in a truly hilarious portrait of Hollywood life,
Kidman would often be found bustling about, cooking dinner in full Moulin
Rouge costume … and the children don’t even bat an eyelash.
“They’re just so used to Crazy Mom that they don’t even notice it anymore,”
Kidman laughs. “[They] do their homework, have their dinner, take a bath,
while Mom’s going on set and she comes back and she’s dressed up like a
clown. She looks completely bizarre in her stilettos and fishnets and
corsets and top hat.”
Such is normality in the Kidman household.
“But it’s my life. I don’t know anything different. And they
don’t know anything different, either,” Kidman says. “They get embarrassed
though … they don’t like to be picked up from school. You don’t want to be
different; you want to fit in, you don’t want too much attention.”
She pauses, then offers, “I bet you they’re gonna end up in the industry somehow.”
"I want to walk through life with grace and dignity and generosity and never take it all for granted."
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