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Nicole Kidman interview - From strength to strength...,, December 2003 (?)

Her traumatic split from Tom Cruise well behind her, Nicole Kidman is on a personal and professional high after winning an Oscar for The Hours. We chat about her new film Cold Mountain...

VN: How did you find filming Cold Mountain in Romania?
Nicole Kidman: "It was so different, even in terms of taking a walk. The first morning I was there I got up at 6am and decided to take a walk to help me get over my jetlag. I went down into the forest and there was this huge pack of wild dogs, so I came running back! We proceeded to see bears; on Saturday nights there'd be this weekly bear spotting. You'd drive to work and there'd be sheep around - it was a real mountain town."

VN: In the film you become firm friends with Rene Zellweger. Did you become friends in real life?
Nicole Kidman: "That was one of the reasons I really wanted to do it - because I wanted to work with Rene. I felt that the two of us, up a mountain together, would be fun. Shes just great to be around: we spent a lot of time together, about three months, so we really got to know each other. I hope you see that friendship in the movie; its something that Im really proud of."

VN: Your romance with Jude Law's character is based on only a few scenes together. Was it hard to evoke that passion with so little screen time?
Nicole Kidman: "Jude and I wondered how to make it that believable - these people share at most a kiss, a few glances and the occasional touch of a hand. How do we make it believable that this would stay in somebodys head and actually be their light for such a long period of time? I would constantly ask Anthony [Minghella] if he had enough, because it was up to him to know what hed captured - we really were in the hands of the director. We hoped that people would buy into it and believe it."

VN: You have two new movies coming up, Dogville and The Human Stain, that are very demanding both emotionally and physically. Do you ever find yourself taking your roles home with you?
Nicole Kidman: "After making Dogville and The Human Stain this was my balancing role. It was something I needed to do because it was about belief in somebody, not losing belief in somebody. Something like Dogville is a lot different, and it certainly stays with you. I think each role takes a little from you and circles around you for the rest of your life; I dont think you ever abandon any of them."

VN: How did you find working in authentic period costume?
Nicole Kidman: "The costumes and the corsets really fed into the character; I felt like this strange exotic bird. It was wonderful to have those things because it really affected the way I moved. The corsets were real, the boots were real - the soles are slippery, they're tiny and theyre not easy to walk in. Back then there was a huge emphasis on womens hair, the size of their waist, the embroidery on their gloves. All of those things were very important."

VN: How did you find working with the great Donald Sutherland?
Nicole Kidman: "I had a big crush on Donald Sutherland! He has such a lot of stories; hes been in some of the greatest films. Id just sit there next to him and get him to tell me about Klute, about Jane Fonda, about Dont Look Now. How did you shoot that love scene? What was Julie Christie like? Hes such a wonderful actor, and in terms of his knowledge hes very willing to share. I adored him, and I was so glad he was playing my father."

VN: After all these heavy dramas, isnt it time you did a comedy?
Nicole Kidman: "Ive just finished The Stepford Wives, and we hope its a comedy. Scott Rudin, who produced The Hours, told me I needed to go to summer camp! But Ill tell you, comedy is a lot harder. I was exhausted when I finished."

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