Monday, April 21, 2008

Is "Australia" Nicole's Swan Song as a Lead Actress?

It’s funny about Hollyweird and it’s obsession with women and age. Well, not funny, because it’s a reflection of culture as it is; it is a youth culture. Why? Who knows, except for sociologists and psychologists and all those in between? To bring this back to our favorite subject, Nicole Kidman, let’s look at how this has affected her. First, after the epic premieres in November, Kidman will be at work on the Valerie Plume movie in Hollywood. This role was negotiated as she was making the epic and announced earlier this spring. Many feel Kidman is miscast in this film as she has shown over and over again her American accent is too light for a serious movie and she comes off as being anti-intellectual. Since this movie is rumored to be along the lines of All the President’s Men, Kidman will have to emote even more than in the past. To play smart, in this case the character is a spy and is exposed as a sacrifice in the Bush Administration; the character is smart. Kidman is not smart and the times she has played a scientist either of the literal or the social variety she has fallen on her face. Nicole, if you can't play intelligent, those meaty supporting roles or the occasional lead role will elude you.

Kidman has done her better work when she is more of an object: Moulin Rouge, To Die For, Dogville, Cold Mountain or Margot at the Wedding. Those characters are either pretty or stereotypical characters; one note numbers. Kidman is good at playing those. But those are almost always given to younger women. Let’s look at the movie Nine. Kidman was up for one of the lead characters - a woman in her early 30's. Many were surprised and shocked when it was announced, a little too early, that Kidman had the role in the musical. The character would have been a stretch for Kidman, who will be almost 42 at the time of shooting. Kidman was dropped from the role and rumor is that Naomi Watts will take her place. Ironic that Watts is also in her forties, but the producers chose her isn't it? Not really, Watts can pretty much do any role well. She has staying power. Kidman does not.

That’s it in a nutshell. Kidman has little to no depth as an actress to make the necessary moves needed to sustain her career as she ages. Even Elizabeth Taylor, knew when she had to leave. Shirley MacClaine had the depth. Grace Kelly did not. Audrey Hepburn did not work much after her forties, but she made up for her lack of career by doing humanitarian work. Kidman should take a lesson from Audrey Hepburn and her example instead of trying to emulate Katharine Hepburn and pretend she has the range to continue.

15 comments:

doublewide said...

i completely agree with the blogger on the depth of kidman's range.....pathetic

go naomi

maclen said...

No doubt I imagine that kidman simply priced herself out of the role in Nine... which i imagine is going the be the case now, after last years dismal showings of Invasion and compass. I certainly will confidently predict that she will no longer be at the top of the best paid actresses ever again. But also just as likely, the producers simply werent convinced that she could play younger, and being aware of the criticism she got for Cold mountain... too old for the character of the story and trying too hard to make it up by being heavily botoxed... did they finally learn the lesson? As for the upcoming valerie plame bio pic...reading the confirmation of kidman in the role by the director liman... he sounds like a real loose cannon, his take... "I have a really, really insane take on how to tell it. It's so outrageous. Ultimately, I'd be doing something no one has ever done before. Therefore it's automatically appealing to me. I'm just starting to explore whether [what I have in mind] is even possible to do."... added with kidman involved just spells such a forseeable total disaster... with a capital DISASTER! Yeah, I forsee endless silent close ups,(Birth) gratuitous nudity and sex scenes,(Human Stain) ...plame is already on record at Huffington Post as stating she did not use "sexual persuasion" in her job as a covert spy...but how much you want to bet it becomes an issue in the movie... just for sensationalism sake? Sex in movies is so old and passe... but kidman is set in her old and passe ways. Is kidman finished as a leading actress? That endless list of her "upcoming" movies, the monroe remake, the supernatural remake, the film with naomi watts... the 3 picture deal she made with Fox to produce and star in those 3 films, are all apparently in the forgotten bin...kidman is simply grabbing for whatever she can get at this point.

realitycheck said...

Cold Mountain and Moulin Rouge are less complex characters. But one really needs multiple viewings to absorb the complexity of her characters in To Die For, Dogville and Margot. Kidman's Suzanne in To Die For is so ruthlessly driven you cant look away from the screen. She should have gotten an Oscar nomination. Margot is so desperate for love and acceptance and yet she cant love herself so she pushes everyone away. Just the way Von Trier presents his film Dogville is enough to challenge the viewer. The brilliant performances of Bettany and Kidman only add to the complexity of the themes in the movie. I would also add to that list The Human Stain, The Hours and Birth. In The Human Stain, the kitchen scene, her character finally breaks down...an unbelievable moment. A woman so broken by a brutal man and drawn to another who feels he's broken as well. The Hours...she captured a real life persons pain so eloquently. She won an Oscar for playing an intelligent person. Or did you forget Umyths?

Most people who love Birth talk about the close-up at the symphony. While that is a great scene, my favorite, and perhaps my favorite of anything she's ever done, is the scene in the office where she's explaining how Sean came to her. The confusion, the re-emergence of the pain of losing someone coming to the surface, and the hope that they have returned, or maybe its all a lie...all in the span of less than 3 minutes of dialogue. To me it was just breathtaking.

BTW, she's not doing Nine for a very good reason. Every report states that shooting was to begin too soon after the birth of the baby. Baby due in July...shooting in August. You do the math. No downtime with the baby and then theres the physical recovery and preparation for the upcoming role. Its the right thing for her.

Also its funny you mentioned Katherine Hepburn. Nicole was one of the actresses considered to play her in The Aviator.


As for the alleged problem with her voice, Nicole is known as one of the best in the business when it comes to accents. So lets give credit where credit is due. Is it that you cant stand that the director wanted only Nicole for the part and publicly declared his love for her talent? Or that she won an Oscar for playing a real person and she could do it again with this film?

Doug Liman did Mr. & Mrs. Smith, an undeniable hit. It wasnt my cup of tea with the leads he cast. But i cant wait to see what he has in store. Honestly the public is more likely to see something outrageous than a straight telling of the story. Look at how Lions For Lambs and Charlie Wilson's War underperformed.

maclen, do you realize how many movies and movie deals never come to fruition? How movies can be made after being tossed around from studio to studio for 10 years? Look at Amy Heckerling's nightmare with I Could Never Be Your Woman. A great movie that went straight to dvd because of an industry idiot. Thats the Hollywood machine. Your deal could be here today gone tomorrow. And thats true for any writer actor director or producer in town.

realitycheck said...

LOL I just realized Umyths how silly the title of this blog is. She's the lead role in the Valerie Plame, not Plume, story which will be released after Australia. She also has Need coming up which i cant see getting thrown out. Two knockout actresses like Kidman and Watts shouldnt be denied the chance to do a movie together. So the answer to your question is a resounding no.

isitoveryet said...

Sorry that we aren't as anal as you are RC about Kidman! People make mistakes.

notachance said...

I agree - Kidman is not a good Valerie Plame. For me, it's definitely the intelligence factor. I can't believe Kidman in an intelligent role - her voice is always too breathy to sound serious. Not to mention all these years of portraying herself as the innocent, vulnerable victim in her personal life will, once again, kill what could be a good movie. Movie goers will not believe her in that part at all.

Tara said...

My understanding is Need has been put on back burner and may never be made. Kidman was good in To Die For, lets see she played a manipulative egocentric who wanted to be famous and knew she had to kill her husband to get ahead.. seem not too much of a stretch.. As for Maggot, well Woody Allen has written the same character many many times and it was better played by Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow. As for Dogtown, another victim. Enough said.

bstnactrs said...

As an actress myself, I definately agree that Hollywood is not as kind to women when they age as opposed to men. For this reason, Nicole was at an extremely difficult age - she was too old to play some roles and too young to play others.

Now, though, given her status in the industry, she can pick & choose projects therefore, she has a lot more opportunities than most of us.

For this reason, there is no reason she cannot pick better, more suitable roles for herself.

There is such a thing as castability & Nicole refuses to follow suit with that...that leads to the audiences' reactions that she is/has been miscast.

If she would start considering more apporpriate roles, instead of choosing roles that are much more suitable for younger actresses, her films would do much better IMO.

maclen said...

Tara said...
" .. As for Maggot, well Woody Allen has written the same character many many times and it was better played by Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow. As for Dogtown, another victim. Enough said."

Your certainly correct, Tara, kidmans indie flicks are certainly subpar...and the fact that they are so resoundingly ignored and forgotten and dismissed so readily after they're released is certainly proof of that. Simply, kidman is a very one note, by the numbers and predictable actress. I am reminded of how many "foreign accents" she's attempted in just the past 7 years... russian for Birthday Girl...english for The Hours...south african for The Interpeter... but the most hilarious accents had to be "southern trailer trash" for Human Stain and the "confederate southern drawl" for Cold Mountain, which seemed to come and go throughout the movie! Kidman seems to have been dellusionally unaware that the accent bit was done vastly superior and was already famously the moniker of meryl streep...like 20 years ago. But like I said, kidman is tragically so passe... yes, for her next trick, she'll just try to prove she can think and chew gum at the same time. kidman as the intelligent, complex and top secret covert government spy, Valerie Plame?... hell, it worked out so well for her in The Peacemaker... it might even gross as much as that film!

banbotox said...

sorry rc but your comment "But one really needs multiple viewings to absorb the complexity of her characters" doesn't work for me. Why do I need to spend a small fortune to absorb her horrible acting?
IMO you should be able to go to a movie, understand the main character and take something away with you from that character. That is what I call good acting and frankly, that hasn't happened in a long time for me when it comes to her movies.

maclen said...

So, kidman has made another token stab at her Oh so neglected work for the UN...

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gLFXosopo4Jw9FbmQb1mrj6_kfaQ

...by making a appearance at the UN offices on behalf of the UN's "Say No to Violence against Women" campaign in Oh so cushy New York. Yes, I figure that is all she is good for in the cause... shallow sloganering... yes speak to the very worthy cause of battered women across the globe... in the well ventilated and air conditioned... and OH so more importantly well lit offices in the UN...for those photo ops must be hollywood grade and People.com and justjared glossily crisp!...what with the designer wig and hair extensions... the crispier botoxed complexion... but god forbid she would have gotten around to maybe actually meeting the troubled women across the globe she so publicily declared she would travel to 2 freakin' years ago on behalf of the UN. Well, talk is cheap and, yes once again, passé... take a cue from the master of celeb humanitarian works... the one she attempts to emulate...jolie went to Iraq and met and talked to the troops...also while "expecting"... but yet, once again kidman doesnt fail to pale.. to shrink at the brink... to pontificate instead of participate and pose like a budding rose... just leave the heavy work to those who really count.

notachance said...

"once again kidman doesnt fail to pale"

maclen - good one!

doublewide said...

well she made CNN news, don't know if you guys have seen this....it mentions that she has only made ONE trip, and that was kosovo. you are so right again, maclen, as usual.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080423/ap_en_mo/people_kidman

banbotox said...

maclen she has absolutely no intention of getting her hands dirty or her nails chipped.
Never has and never will.

CJ said...

I wondered why NK was REALLY in New York. I figured the UN press conference to pimp the baby bump was just an added bonus but to what? Ahhh, right, the Tribeca Film Festival. She doesn't have anything to promote or premier. Maybe she'll attend anyway "just in case a spotlight comes her way" while exiting a movie theater. Not like she's going to attend any of Keith's concerts or anything.