Thereís a mesmerising scene in ĎBirthí when Jonathan Glazerís camera lingers on Kidmanís face for several minutes as her character, Anna, watches a staging of Wagnerís ĎThe Ringí cycle with her fiancť Joseph (Danny Huston) and is gradually overwhelmed by emotion. Kidman delivers an impressive performance in a film that is also marked by good turns from Huston, Lauren Bacall and the young Cameron Bright.
Did you hear Wagnerís music as you played that key scene?
Yes, I did. By that stage I was so into my character, Anna, that I was able to just run with it. Whatís unusual about Jonathan is that he allows you to do that; in most films, that kind of scene would be cut.
You cut up your hair for this film...
Yes, but I donít really like to discuss anything in terms of how I construct a character, emotionally or physically. With ĎThe Hoursí, I went into detail about that and I think it ended up distracting from the film. It was very destructive: everyone was making jokes about Ďthe noseí. The nose, the nose, the nose, the nose... And you think: hold on, itís not only about a nose. If only that hadnít become an issue. Meryl Streep reminded me that Laurence Olivier would wear a different nose in every different film. It was a given that thatís what you did as an actor. But now weíre so caught up with how an actor looks.
Do you still plan to work with Lars von Trier again?
Iím going to go back, yeah...
Iím not sure, we havenít distinguished the actual time, but yes, I will... Weíll see.
After ĎDogvilleí, you gave up the chance to play the same character in three films for von Trier.
I was doing ĎThe Stepford Wivesí, and I couldnít leave the country at the particular time that Lars wanted me to. I have two kids, I couldnít do it. And I will choose life over work.
Can you see yourself having a career as long as Lauren Bacallís?
I donít know if I have the resilience. Laurenís strong. But I donít think I have that. Everyone wants a piece of you in the media, does that get you down? Yes, but it comes and it goes, right? Itís so transient. I think thatís the great thing about getting older; you realise thereís no point in staying up all night worrying about things. Thereís so many other things that are important.
I think the latest press story was that you had a serious bone disease...
I donít know where thatís coming from! It was something about osteoporosis... I donít even know what that is. I guess I donít have anything going on in my love-life right now, so something has to be written, no?
Interview: Dave Calhoun
ĎBirthí opens on Friday November 5.
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