Nicole Kidman has been a busy girl since winning a best actress Oscar for The Hours, notching up starring roles in Dogville, Cold Mountain, Birth and The Stepford Wives. Later this year we'll see her as a spell-casting housewife in Bewitched, but this week she's on more serious ground in The Interpreter as a United Nations translator whose life is endangered when she overhears a conversation about an assassination attempt. Here she speaks candidly about the challenges of the role, the importance of the UN and her disappointment about the recent collapse of the Australian film Eucalyptus...
VN: Did you know much about the UN before you started work on the film?
Nicole Kidman: I really didn't know that much about it as an institution. So I did an enormous amount of research into its history, and why it came about in the first place - the way in which it functions and what it attempts to do. It wasn't surprising; it was more of an eye-opener.
VN: Your character speaks a make-believe African language. How difficult was it to learn?
Nicole Kidman: When you're learning any language, whether it be a make-believe language or French or Italian, the agility of your mind is what's interesting. As an actor you're used to learning lines anyway, but when it's a made-up language there's no reference for it. It's not like you're going, "TV, right, this is the equivalent word." You're having to learn sounds, which is a really hard thing to do. You're phonetically having to memorise sounds with no reference.
VN: Tell us about your role as a UN Citizen of the World.
Nicole Kidman: It's a lifelong commitment as an ambassador to Australian UNICEF, to raise money for different issues. I think it's important for me as an actor that I say these are the issues I'm going to be committed to. One of them for me is women and children's health around the world and their rights; the other is ovarian cancer, I do a lot of fundraising for that. There's also a Romanian orphanage I care a lot about.
VN: Do you think you and Russell Crowe will ever get to make Eucalyptus?
Nicole Kidman: I would love it to get made, if they want me - it was something I was very excited to do. I am upset we didn't get to put something that I think would have been very beautiful on the screen. But if they can get the script right and agree on that, maybe it will come together.
VN: The collapse of the film meant you had some free time. What did you do?
Nicole Kidman: Sleep a lot, be with my kids, swim in the ocean, lie around on my parents' couch and watch the football - the things you would hope you get to do! I'm at a time in my life that for me to go back to work it has to be something I feel really passionate about; otherwise I'm not as interested.
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