Nicole is featured on the cover of Glamour UK.
She was The Sparkling Diamond in Moulin Rouge! and shone a light on domestic violence in Big Little Lies, but as Nicole Kidman stars in Sky Atlantic mega hit The Undoing, Josh Smith meets an icon who, during her 30 years in Hollywood – and beyond – has had to overcome plenty of her own professional and personal hurdles…
It’s 2.32am on a Monday morning and unsurprisingly, I am half-asleep when the phone rings. “Hello Josh, it’s Nicole and yes, you are dreaming,” the voice says. It takes me a few seconds to really register this – but yes, NICOLE FRICKING KIDMAN is calling me in her soothing Ozzie accent. I can hear my teenage, Moulin Rouge!-obsessed self screeching the words to the Elephant Love Medley in excitement.
It’s not every day your very early alarm clock is an interview with an Oscar-winning actress whose career has spanned three entire decades, (basically my whole life) after breaking through in the 1980s at 22-years-old with the TV show Bangkok Hilton and the movie Dead Calm. Nicole has since nailed every single genre going, from musicals, namely the aforementioned Moulin Rouge!, to superheroes films Aquaman and Batman Returns, and deep dramas including The Hours, Lion and Bombshell, to TV hits Big Little Lies and most recently, The Undoing (more on that later). In further proof that the 53-year-old has literally done it ALL, Nicole has even featured on her own No.1 single, Somethin’ Stupid opposite Robbie Williams – and it’s still a bop. Lest we forget.
For all the awards and blockbusters, it hasn’t always been glittering success. In 2010 Nicole took her career into her own hands by launching her production company Blossom Films, starting with her Oscar-nominated role as a grieving mother in Rabbit Hole and going on to collaborate with Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine with Big Little Lies where she played Celeste, a mother tormented mentally and physically by her abusive husband.
“I was not getting to play the things that I was being offered a decade prior,” Nicole says, candidly. Speaking from her film trailer in Australia, where she’s starring in and producing her latest TV show Nine Perfect Strangers – about a group of stressed city dwellers who descend on an island paradise to bask in the glow of Nicole’s Russian wellness guru. She continues, “I knew there were great stories out there for women, but they weren’t being funded and everyone kept saying, ‘There’s no interest… they are going to flop’ or ‘The only thing you can do is romantic comedies,’ or ‘You can go into theatre?’
“So, I went and did Photograph 51 (in London’s West End in 2015) thinking, theatre is the way you go now, and I can go and explore Rosalind Franklin, this scientist whose life was never celebrated for what she contributed to society and to the world.
At this stage in her life, how liberating has it been to take control of her own career? “Honestly it’s been a surprise, because as much as you think, it would be amazing to have some sort of control over my destiny as an actor, the actual reality of it happening is so far-fetched. Especially where I was at, before Big Little Lies, people always said, ‘Oh, well, you make about four or five good things and then usually it’s over.’”
Sexism has naturally had a part to play in the script of Nicole’s life. For someone who was integral to the#MeToo and #TimesUp movements, encouraging Hollywood to wear black to the Golden Globes in 2018 in a protest against its inequalities and abuses, I wonder: from that moment when she zipped up that black Givenchy dress, how far do she think we have come? “Oh, my gosh,” Nicole exhales. “I think it’s still work in progress, but I’ve worked with some of the greatest. When you watch Meryl Streep’s career – she’s become a very good friend of mine – and what she’s managed to do… I really use her as a beacon as she’s always saying there’s still so much work to be done. And there is.
“I think there’s a lot more safety,” she goes on. “I read an interview recently about the way they made Normal People. There’s a lot of sexuality in that show, but both actors felt very safe and they were able to still do these really intimate things. That’s amazing, but is there still an incredible disparity? Yes. Are we all working to change it? I hope so and we’ll continue to. I hope the generations to come look back and go, ‘Wow. That was good work.’”
Read the rest of the article here.