With the 70th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival having reached a stunning close, we’re all talking about Nicole Kidman.
Warm, friendly and revered for her exceptional performances in Moulin Rouge!, The Hours and Lion, the actress appeared in four separate projects at the festival, of which two were up for the Palme d’Or.
Kidman said at a press conference for Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer that she is “trying to stay very bold and open”, and, well, that she has. Showing up for the Palme d’Or, she co-stars alongside Colin Farrell in the aforementioned Sacred Deer as parents who are plagued by a Delphic evil force, and in Sofia Coppola’s psychodrama The Beguiled as a teacher during the American Civil War who is tasked with the care of an injured Union soldier (again, a certain Mr Farrell).
Outside of the competition circuit, Kidman can be found as the punk Queen Boadicea in How to Talk to Girls at Parties, directed by John Cameron Mitchell, and as Elisabeth Moss in the second season of Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake. In interviews, Kidman expresses an almost embarrassment at her domineering presence at the festival, describing her four projects as being “sort of a confluence of events.”
Kidman remains ever humble, however, and is accepting of the idea that not everything she appears is in is going to be a huge success. “Sometimes you fail, sometimes you succeed; that’s just the journey.” It’s this down to earth, affable persona which has given Kidman the arguably most recognition at Cannes this year – her interviews and appearances at press conferences paint a picture of a woman who isn’t afraid to fail.
The Australian actress’ rise to fame can be traced back to the 80s and where her acting peers chased after more commercially viable box office successes, Kidman always went for the more absorbing roles. In 1995 she starred in Gus Van Sant’s To Die For and then went on to work with Stanley Kubrick in Eyes Wide Shut. Her passion for acting can be felt so resonantly in her approach to working with new visionaries, as with her two Palme d’Or projects at Cannes. She forges relationships with her artistic peers and considers some directors to be her close friends, with Campion perhaps most particularly, Kidman having starred in her adaptation of Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady.
Kidman is multifaceted and 2017 is shaping up to be the year of the Aussie. As well as her acclaimed Cannes performances, Kidman has starred and directed her own project – lauded TV series Big Little Lies alongside Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley. The all-woman production is commendable in its production and Kidman subsumes herself wholeheartedly into the role. One of the greatest, and most admirable, facets of Kidman’s acting is that she manages to become rather than simply imitate.
Her greatest accolades come in the form of Academy nominations for Lion, Moulin Rouge! and Rabbit Hole, and with a win for The Hours in 2002. Of these, only Rabbit Hole came from an independent production company, that being Kidman’s own, and despite her performances being outstanding in her more early blockbuster appearances, we are seeing Kidman at the height of her career – in what can easily be described as her indie second coming.
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Words by Joseph Coupe