Nicole Kidman shows her silly side inPaddington
Nicole Kidman knows most people don’t consider her a comedic actress.
In her 31-year career, her roles have ranged from the morose to the deliciously sadistic. There are a few straight comedies in her resume, but Kidman is the first to admit that she just doesn’t get many offers to do that type of work.
She’s won an Oscar. She’s worked with Stanley Kubrick, Jane Campion and Lars Von Trier. So how did she end up in a modest role as a delightfully villainous taxidermist in the children’s film Paddington with a relatively unknown director at the helm?
The answer is simple: She was asked.
“The desire to run the gamut and be diverse is something you’re taught at drama school,” says Kidman at the Beverly WilshireHotel.
“We’re trained in Shakespeare and then we’re trained in Noel Coward and we’re trained in mime classes. But a lot of times you’re not given the opportunity to explore the things that you’ve cultivated.”
For director Paul King, it was a no-brainer. But it wasn’t Kidman’s 1996 romantic fantasy romp Practical Magic that he was thinking of. He’d seen Gus Van Sant’s To Die For and knew Kidman had to be hisMillicent.
In the film, out on Friday, Millicent is a leather-clad, stiletto-wearing femme fatale who will stop at nothing to stuff the iconic talking bear from Darkest Peru and put him in a museum.
“He wrote it for me. I’m not sure if that’s a flattering thing or not,” Kidman laughs.
King, who had mostly worked in British TV, knew it was a long shot. “You should never write for an actor because they’ll just say no. But I did have her in mind,” he says.
The hard part was convincing everyone to actually put the script in front of Kidman. As King describes it, it’s a process of being politely insistent.
Despite all the warnings that Kidman was “never” going to say yes, as soon as she heard the name Paddington, she jumped. Kidman had grown up reading Michael Bond’s books in Australia and it just struck a nerve.
Ultimately, King says, she was the easiest person to cast. She signed on in just 12 hours.
“You don’t often see the silly side of Nicole and she’s such a funny, easygoing person,” says King, who really put the actress to the test.
“I hope it gets a good response. It’s smart,” says Kidman of the movie, excitedly talking about how the physical comedy of the CG bear makes her two young daughters “squeal with laughter”.
Taken alongside a recent segment on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, where Kidman charmingly revealed that the host had missed an opportunity to date her years ago, it might seem as though the actress who once urinated on Zac Efron for a role, is in a new phase of her career.
The past year wasn’t exactly a stellar one for Kidman either, with releases like Before I Go To Sleep and The Railway Man, and themysterious nonrelease of Grace of Monaco in the United States.