Saturday, November 3, 2012

Kidman's Kubrick

It really shouldn't be such a momentous day, but one has to make note and celebrate on these very rare occasions that Nicole Kidman is actually in Australia. It's something truly fascinating to see the way the media reacts when Kidman is in town ("town" being anywhere on Australian shores), whether it's filming a movie or visiting her family. She actually made it back to her home country in a whistle-stop trip to attend the Melbourne Spring Carnival's prestigious Derby Day before jetting off back to Monaco to continue filming Grace of Monaco (how long until it gets shortened simply to Grace?) for director Olivier Dahan. She has an Australian film in post-production - Jonathan Teplizky's WWII drama, The Railway Man - and set for release in (I presume) late 2013 so maybe she will have to return for marketing duties then, but as of right now it's a short trip and the only people who will have had the chance to even see her are the lucky, wealthy elite who surely paid enough big bucks to find themselves in her company for the duration of a few horse races.

She may be portraying the iconic Grace Kelly in her new movie, but she dressed for the occasion in a below the knee, long lace-sleeved black and white dress (per Derby day tradition for one reason or another) with cutesy bow and excessive (if horse racing appropriate) thorny hat that, deliberately or not, evoked Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady instead. Perhaps the role of Kelly made her turn to classic 1950s and '60s cinema and will be extending the inspiration beyond today. I mean, I certainly hope she doesn't do press for Grace of Monaco in the hip-pinched gowns that Kelly was so famous for, but a bit of old school glamour inspiration never hurt anybody.

Of course, this is all a long-winded and off-topic way of imploring you to read this The Hollywood Reporter piece written by Kidman about her experiences filming Eyes Wide Shut for director Stanley Kubrick. It's a wonderful read and the type of story that we don't get to read about all that often in such eloquence. Actors normally do their talk show appearances and journalist interviews, but to allow somebody of Kidman's stature to sit down and fully form her experiences into a piece such as this is rare and a treat. I loved the way she speaks so freely about the sexual nature of the project, and the especially the way she is so open about discussing Tom Cruise, her co-star and husband at the time. I doubt we'd ever read or hear Cruise being so nonchalant and carefree about discussing past marriages.

Of course, the article is full of lovely anecdotes that only Kidman would tell, which makes for a gloriously personal piece. It really proves that she's not only willing to go there with directors, but has the intelligence and the eagerness to dig deep and to embrace the subjects that these filmmakers want to navigate. Kidman was frequently said that she'd love to become a director and that her relationship with Jane Campion has only strengthened her desire to do so, and based on her history of working with famously prickly auteurs on daring projects that are confronting and frequently controversial (her most recent film, Lee Daniels' The Paperboy certainly ticks those boxes) makes me suspect her talents would lend particularly well to the craft of directing. We could use more actors of her type and this Kubrick piece is just another example of why she's my favourite.

And if you needed any more proof?

I saw my first Stanley Kubrick movie in Sydney when I was 13 or 14: A Clockwork Orange. (I used to "wag school," or play hooky.) It kind of went over my head, but I was deeply disturbed. I saw The Shining when it came out, and I was making out in the back row. I told that to Stanley -- he really loved that!


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