—“I’ve got an espresso here,” Nicole Kidman said, nodding at the cup she was carrying as she entered a meeting room at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. “Jet lag,” she explained.
But despite the condition (she came from Australia, where she is shooting, well, “Australia”), Nicole was in a cheerful mood in this recent press con. Wearing a black and green polka-dotted Prada dress and Christian Louboutin ballerina shoes, she beamed when she talked about the kids she adopted with Tom Cruise—Isabella, 14, and Connor, 12. She often laughed and seemed on the verge of blushing when she was pressed to open up about her new love, country music star and fellow Aussie, Keith Urban.
Nicole, who turned 40 last June, said of Keith, “He always says to me, ‘Baby, don’t talk about it (their relationship).’” But when encouraged to share more about her husband of over a year, the actress blurted, “He’s good. He’s a wonderful man and I’m very lucky to have him.”
“His honesty and bravery,” she replied when asked what qualities she admired in the singer-composer.
Has he composed a song for her? “He will have to answer that,” Nicole said. “The two of us are always talking about trying to find the balance between not discussing the intricacies of our life together and being open and proud of each other. We are very proud of our relationship, but at the same time we are trying to keep it protected.”
The privacy matter provoked a question—is she still shy, as she once professed? How does she deal with all the attention? “It’s harder when you are alone,” Nicole stated, seeming to refer to the time when she and Tom just separated. “When you have somebody in your life, which I do now, it’s a lot easier. In the period when I was alone, I became very isolated. It was quite difficult to meet somebody. But then you reach a state where you are able to share your life.”
She added, “That’s what I loved about the Sean Penn film (‘Into the Wild’)—the epiphany at the end where it is about the need to share happiness that resonated very strongly with me.” True-to-life
The movie tells the true-to-life story of a young man who renounced his material possessions, gave his savings of $24,000 to charity, roamed the American West and then ended up in the wilds of Alaska where he realized, belatedly and tragically, that happiness is best experienced when it is shared with another human being.
As for being shy, Nicole said, “Let’s put it this way. There was a big party last night. I went and left by 9 p.m. There were too many people. I much prefer one-on-one company or small dinners rather than parties with big crowds. I think I have more confidence now but my choice is always to spend time with smaller groups. I don’t do as well in bigger groups.”
The questions shifted to those about her children. Was it true that Isabella sported purple hair at one point? “Blue,” she clarified. “But only for a little while.”
Blue hair now—what about tattoos? Nicole sounded firm: “Once you’re 21, you can choose to do what you want to do. But until that point, my kids aren’t getting tattoos. We had this discussion in our house recently. My husband has tattoos, so with him, I don’t mind them. I think you have to be a certain age to choose something that will be permanent on your body. I don’t think you can do it when you’re 14 or 15. Call me old-fashioned.”
In her new film, “Margot at the Wedding,” Nicole plays a mother who brings her adolescent son, Claude (newcomer Zane Pais), to her sister’s (Jennifer Jason Leigh) wedding over the weekend. Noah Baumbach, who received awards and nominations for “The Squid and the Whale,” wrote and directed this tale about coming to terms with one’s family and one’s self in distress.
While Claude loves his mother, he is starting to be annoyed by her. Have her own kids started establishing their own identities and given Nicole the brush-off, accompanied by that exasperated cry, “Mom?!” She quipped to laughter, “They started doing that when they were five.”
“It’s part of bucking the system,” she rationalized. “You want to have control of your life. That’s what Claude is trying to do in the film ... I’ve certainly had that with Bella and Connor but at the same time, I am lucky because they’re very tolerant ...” Role model
Laughing, she volunteered, “With my own mother, I was such a hellion. I was like, ‘I am going to do what I want to do.’ Now, I am so grateful that she was very strict with me but she did it with a lot of love. She gave me a strong role model to follow.”
“Margot at the Wedding” marks the first time Noah and Jennifer, who are married to each other, are working together. Nicole clarified the reports that she, Jennifer and Jack Black, who portrays the latter’s fiancé, sometimes lay in bed to rehearse their lines. “It sounds very bohemian, isn’t it?” Nicole reacted with a smile. “It was Jennifer and I who would lie in bed to create that sisterly bond.”
But from the way she described the off-the-set bonding, it did sound like they enjoyed a sort-of bohemian camaraderie: “Jen’s a great cook. She would have dinner parties or sometimes brunches. I lived right next door to them so I would just walk and climb over the fence and we would have breakfast or dinner, sit around and play games. One of the great gifts when you make a small movie like this is that you’re all in it together.”
The Oscar and Golden Globe Best Actress winner for “The Hours” disclosed, “My husband was there so he was able to join in and get to know Noah and Jennifer and play guitar with Jack. It was all pretty laid back until we got on the set.” Homey touches
Whether she’s in the Hamptons or anywhere else on the globe, the Hawaii-born Nicole tries to keep homey touches like displaying a digital photo frame (which projects pictures of her loved ones) and her own pillow (it travels with her) on the bed. “I try to set up my home wherever I am because I move and travel so much,” she said. “But as long as my husband’s there or he’s visiting regularly, then I’m pretty good. That also goes for Bella, Connor, my sister, nieces and nephews. We all manage to make the world seem small. We all travel to see each other a lot.”
When a journalist inquired when she’s going to have her own biological kids, Nicole declared, “I would say it’s in God’s hands. If God wills it, it will happen, right?”
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