Nicole Kidman: ‘Hugh is just so easy to be around’
Nicole Kidman is one of the biggest stars in the world but was prepared to hunker down and do what she was told to help revive the Australian entertainment industry.
Strict protocols of three COVID-19 tests a week have allowed Kidman and fellow stars like Melissa McCarthy to keep filming the past few months.
Although she doesn't like to take the credit, Kidman and her producing partners including Bruna Papandrea and Per Saari have given hope to an industry on its knees by bringing Hollywood production Nine Perfect Strangers to Byron Bay.
"I can't believe we are doing this," Kidman told The Daily Telegraph ahead of the invite-only Australian virtual online premiere of her new TV series, The Undoing.
"It is so beautiful to see this group effort. It is an incredible team. And what the crew have to do, they have to wear masks … we all have to be tested three times a week. There is really strict protocol but we are doing it, people have jobs. I am just doing my bit. I think people are watching this show and going, 'you can do it'. I am so careful talking about it right now because we haven't made it to the finish line yet."
Production on Nine Perfect Strangers, an adaptation of Leanne Moriarty's novel of the same name, is scheduled to run through until Christmas with the cast also including Michael Shannon, Luke Evans, Bobby Cannavale, Samara Weaving and Asher Keddie.
"I am just so glad to be a part of it and to be showing that we can have a future because I think a lot of people in the arts have been so terrified and I know a lot of people in music," Kidman said. "And then everybody else, healthcare workers, all of the people in Victoria, everyone has been going through so much. It is tough."
Kidman recalled being on set of Nine Perfect Strangers last week with another actor, who cried as she returned to work because she had given up hope.
"It was like, thank you to the universe for dropping this in … and I bow down to that," Kidman explained. "We are all changing the way we operate but we are willing to change and we are willing to move forward."
Kidman and musician husband Keith Urban were at home in Nashville when the coronavirus pandemic took off in March. She had just wrapped shooting Ryan Murphy musical film, Prom, with Meryl Streep and James Corden.
"We just hunkered down and did what we were told and have stayed healthy and safe through it," she said. "We've watched friends go to hell and back and have watched the world navigate this together and I think we are all just going, 'is this really happening'. Keith and I have that conversation where we go, 'I can't even believe this has happened'."
Kidman's new TV series, thriller The Undoing, hits streaming service BINGE on Monday.
Based on 2014 book, You Should Have Known, the six-part series is already attracting critical reviews with extraordinary performances from Kidman and co-stars Hugh Grant, Donald Sutherland and Edgar Ramirez.
"I am trying to find stories and just stay on track and committed," she said. "I have known Hugh for a long time now. He knows my sister and he is just very easy to be around. We have to make it look like we've been married for 10 years and I think just having that same sense of humour and having that history together, we were able to bring some of that to the screen, I hope we were."
Hollywood veteran Sutherland plays Kidman's father in The Undoing, reuniting on screen with Kidman after the pair worked together on 2003 war epic Cold Mountain.
"I want to cuddle him. I go up and put my head on his shoulder and he lets me because he sort of has that paternal quality obviously and he reminds me of my dad," said Kidman, referencing her late father, Antony. "He has that beautiful silver hair and is six foot two. He is formidable but he has a twinkle in his eye and he has those big blue eyes."
An aside not many know is that Kidman sang the theme song for The Undoing, lending her voice to classic Dream A Little Dream of Me.
"It was meant to be a secret. I am a bit shy about it," she laughed, saying director Susanne Bier convinced her to record the track. "Susanne convinced me and then Keith took me down in to his little studio at the house and we recorded it. He put some candles on and we got the vibe going and that was that."
* The Undoing is streaming on BINGE from Monday.
Originally published as Nicole Kidman: 'Hugh is just so easy to be around'