FULL NAME: Nicole Mary Kidman
BORN: June 20, 1967 in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.
Antonia Kidman-Hawley (sister, married to Angus Hawley). Picture
Janelle Kidman (mother)
Anthony Kidman (father)
Tom Cruise (ex-husband Dec 24, 1990 - ???, 2001)
Conor Antony (adopted son) born January 1995
Isabella Jane (adopted daughter) born December 1992
5' 10½" (180 cm)
St Martin's Youth Theatre, Melbourne, Australia
Australian Theatre for Young People, Sydney, Australia
Philip Street Theatre, Sydney, Australia; majored in voice, production
and theater history
Creative Artists Agency (CAA) - website
Nicole is left handed and has blue eyes.
Nicole wasn't, as most people think, born in Australia but in
Honolulu on Hawaii, where her father was working on a research
project. Being born in the States, Nicole has dual citizenship,
both Australian and American.
The family spent the next three years in Washington D.C. while
her dad contimued his research. "I have a vague recollection
of its being very cold, with lots of snow," she says of those
By four, she and her parents moved back to the upper-middle-class
Sydney suburb of Longueville, and she started in a ballet-class.
Now joined by a three years younger sister, Antonia, she was,
by her own admission, a rebellious kid, strong willed and strong-minded.
She was in love with The Wizard of Oz, ballet and pantomimes.
She made her stage debut at age six, playing one of the Virgin
Mary's sheep in the school nativity play, outfitted in a homemade
costume fashioned from a sheepskin carseat. She started mime class
at age eight, started taking drama school at ten. "My parents
thought it was nice to develop my imagination. I began keeping
a diary, which I maintain to this day." By puberty, she towered
above most of the other girls and boys in her class and was nicknamed
"Stalky" or "Storky."
"My parents were always extremely supportive," Kidman
has said. "They allowed me any artistic outlet I wanted."
What she wanted was to lose herself in other characters. "Each
weekend I'd go to the theatre at Phillip Street. I used to just
lock myself in there for the whole weekend. I thought it was fantastic.
I'd be teased a lot though, cause I'd be going off to the theatre,
instead of going to the beach with the boys and all the girls.
I felt like an outsider because of that." "I had my
first kiss onstage; I had to yell, 'Beat me! Harder! Harder! Harder!'
every night," she says of her professional stage debut, in
Frank Wedekind's Spring Awakening, about sexual repression in
the late 1800s. At fourteen, she landed her first professional
role, as Petra in the TV movie Bush Christmas, an uplifting story
of three dauntless kids who join with an aborigine to hunt the
thieves who stole their horse. It was shortly followed by a role
in BMX Bandits, an adventure where three young BMX bikers find
a trove of two-way radios that belong to bank robbers. The chief
robber sends two of his bumbling cohorts out to get the radios.
In the 1983 ABC TV-series Winners, Nicole played a track star
in high school who meets a new girl who is considered a bad influence
and makes Nicole change her mind about making track the only thing
she cares about. The episode was called "Room to Move."
Her skills were developing, but she lacked confidence to make
full use of them. At seventeen she accepted a role in the Disney
production, Five Mile Creek, which placed her in front of the
camera five days a week for seven months and finally broke down
her on-camera inhibitions. Over the next two years, she had roles
in five features; The TV Movie Matthew and Son, Archer's Adventure,
Wills & Burke, and finally in Windrider which premiered at
Christmas 1986. Her major career breakthrough occurred in that
same year, when she was offered the lead in the mini-series Vietnam.
Her character, Megan Goddard, develops from an awkward schoolgirl
of the Sixties into a freethinking twenty-four-year-old adult,
protesting Australia's involvement in Vietnam in the early Seventies.
"I knew that Vietnam was going to be great. I knew because
I'd worked with John Duigan (the director) before and because
it was a Kennedy Miller production. I remember when they rang
and said 'It's yours' I screamed, I was so excited. I knew then
that I'd finally got a role that was three dimensional."
Vietnam contained the memorable 'radio station scene', where
Nicole is protesting conscription on talk-back radio, when her
brother, a recently returned Viet vet, rings in, and she breaks
down listening to his voice.
"Terry Hayes said he was watching that and decided he was
going to write Dead Calm, and Vietnam led to me getting an American
agent. It's opened so many doors for me." "During the
making of Vietnam, I had my own pad and was really on my own for
the first time, doing cooking and housekeeping. It was my dream
to have my own place and be my own person. And from then on, there
was never the slightest doubt about the path I was going to follow.
Win or lose, I was going to stick with acting." Then she
had roles in the made for TV karate(!) film Night Master and the
totally unknown The Bit Part, and the italian Un'Australiana a
Roma. In 1988 she appeared on the stage at the Seymour Centre,
Sydney in "Steel Magnolias". She appeared as a sexually
repressed senior in the bording-school drama Flirting, followed
by Emerald City, before she was offered the film that would make
her recognised internationally; the female lead in Dead Calm.
The character of Rae Ingram was supposed to be in her midthirties,
amazingly, Nicole gave a totally credible performance though she
was only nineteen at the time.
"I focused all my energies on this part. This part was it
for me, and I knew it. We filmed for three months, mostly at sea
off the Great Barrier Reef. It was just brutal. We filmed from
sunup to sundown. The weather was hot and sticky. We were all
drained and exhausted."
"We could have cast anyone in the world to play Rae"
said director Phillip Noyce. "We had people like Debra Winger,
and Sigourney Weaver in mind. But Terry kept drawing my attention
to Nicole, and once I'd seen the scene from Vietnam that was it.
"It's no coincidence that Terry, George Miller and myself
all so firmly believed in this woman's ability that we were prepared
to suffer the consequences of not having a 'name actor in the
role!" After Dead Calm, Nicole took some time off, but returned
after twelve months for the TV mini-series Bankok Hilton, about
an Australian woman whilst travelling back from London to Australia
via Thailand, makes friends with a photographer. She is tricked
into carrying some luggage through Thai customs for him, only
for the police to find drugs in his bag. She is sentenced to spend
time in the horrific "Bangkok Hilton" prison. A marvellous
performance once again. She was at a film festival in Japan when
she first got the call that Tom Cruise wanted to meet her for
Days of Thunder. "I thought, Oh yeah, right, I'd been to
America before. You go in, you audition, you don't get the job.
But hey, free trip to L.A.!" So off she went, with vague
plans to crash for a couple weeks at the Chateau Marmont with
Phillip Noyce and his family before heading off to London, where
her sister was living.
She walked into a conference room with the star and producers
of Days of Thunder, feeling slightly jet-lagged and discombobulated.
"My first reaction to meeting Nic was pure lust," Cruise
says. "It was totally physical."
"When Tom stood up and we shook hands, I found I was looking
down at him. It was terrifically embarrassing to learn I was at
least a couple of inches taller. It wasn't that he was so short.
It's more that I'm so tall - five eleven. I knew it simply wouldn't
do, having the girlfriend tower over the macho race-car driver.
There were five other men in the room, all staring. They gave
me a couple of test pages of script to read, explaining that they
had no real part in mind yet. I left thinking, Okay, at least
I got to visit Los Angeles." The next morning, one of the
producers called her and said the part was hers. "But what
about my height?" she asked. "It doesn't bother Tom,"
he replied, "so it doesn't bother us." Screenwriter
Robert Towne tailored the script to fit Nicole's background: She
played a young Australian resident neurologist at the Daytona
Beach Hospital who treats injured race-car driver Tom Cruise and
falls in love with him. "I was very excited, the opportunity
is so rare for an Australian actress to appear in a big American
commercial film. I just didn't want to blow it. We filmed for
five months down in Daytona Beach, beginning in November 1989.
I did a lot of hanging around and waiting. Tom, of course, was
in practically every scene, and shooting was halfway over before
we started getting to know each other." Tom was a married
man, and he denied any romantic involvement with Nicole, whom
he described as just a pal and acting colleague. On the surface,
at least, his three-year marriage to actress Mimi Rogers appeared
tranquil. Paparazzi had staked out her Daytona Beach apartment
like circling sharks. She arrived on Tom's arm as his date for
the 1990 Academy Awards ceremony. Tom's divorce to Mimi became
final in April, during the last weeks of making Days of Thunder.
Nicole and Tom moved in together after the film, and has been
a couple ever since, dispite many irritating and invented "so
called" paparazzi stories.
Director Robert Benton (Kramer vs. Kramer) heard the talk about
Dead Calm, screened it and thought Kidman would be perfect for
a starring role in his next movie. He reached for the phone, and
a few weeks after Nicole finished Days of Thunder, she was off
to New York City. There she successfully auditioned for her most
significant part yet, costarring with Dustin Hoffman in Billy
Bathgate. She plays the ravishing, mysterious Roaring Twenties
socialite Drew Preston, who dated gangsters for kicks. "I
was four inches taller than Dustin Hoffman," Nicole says,
smiling, "and he loved it. Dustin played Dutch Schultz, a
cold-blooded killer and gangster who towered over everybody -
at least in his own mind - including his five-foot-eleven-inch
girlfriend, yours truly." On December 24, 1990, they married
in Telluride, Colorado, in a ceremony so secret not even the National
Enquirer's helicopter could find it. Perhaps because it was shrouded
in so much mystery, the wedding became a beacon for outrageous
gossip. "When we married, part of our promise to each other
was that we'd never be separated for more than two weeks. It was
a lovely wedding, in the snow, in a cute little house we had rented.
Aside from family, we had only a few close friends at the wedding,
like Dustin Hoffman and his wife. And it took several weeks before
our secret got out." Nicole and Tom next starred together
in the beautifully filmed Distant Shores, or as it later was renamed;
Far and Away. It was the first film in many years to be filmed
In the thrilling Malice, we could for the first time see a darker
side of Nicole, as a femme fatale, she stole the show as a from
Alec Baldwin and Bill Pullman. This proved that she could do roles
other than as the passive victim. The drama-comedy My Life, saw
Nicole as a hightly pregnant wife to Michael Keaton, which she
pulled of with conviction.
After My Life she went back to school at New York's famous Actors
Studio where she learned The Method technique of acting and "basically
just changed my whole life". Her new approach has brought
her back, she says, to what she had been doing in Australia, "which
was working on small films in interesting roles." Next, she
beat out the likes of Sandra Bullock to star in Batman Forever,
as the licentious Dr Chase Meridian, a criminal psychiatrist who's
itching to analyze more than Batman's dreams. "She's constantly
trying to seduce him. She wears black slinky dresses, has perfect
hair, perfect red lips, and talks in a deep, husky voice."
"I've had my eye on her since Dead Calm," director Joel
Schumacher said. "You meet a lot of beautiful people in this
business, but there's something almost luminous about her. I wish
I had a clause in my contract that said Nicole Kidman had to be
in every one of my movies." Actually, she almost didn't make
it into this one. Originally, Rene Russo was cast for the part,
but when Val Kilmer replaced Keaton at Batman, the fortyish Russo
was reportedly deemed too old to play the love interest. In any
event, Kidman plunged into the part, training with a coach to
prepare for her fight scenes and even studying a few Batman graphic
Having gone on to weather more than her fair share of middling
parts, she picked up the script for To Die For and discovered
Suzanne Stone. Preparing for To Die For required a slightly different
reading list. Based on Joyce Maynard's novel, the black comedy
has Nicole playing a small-town TV personality who'll do anything
to get ahead - including persuading her teenage lover to kill
her husband. To get into the spirit of the role, Nicole sequestered
herself in an inn in Santa Barbara for three days, glued to the
tube, soaking up trashy talk shows. She also began speaking exclusively
with an American accent. "I don't like the feeling that when
the camera starts rolling, you're suddenly performing, so I spoke
in my American accent from the minute we started rehearsal to
the minute we finished the movie." "I found it very
Funny, and of course ironic, in the sense of who I am. I saw the
burnout in playing a character who's obsessed with celebrity.
It was just one of those parts which you read and go, 'Wow'."
There was, however, one small problem. The producers wanted Meg
Ryan for the role, and didn't automatically see Nicole for the
part. "Gus Van Sant, the director, didn't know my work, so
I had to put myself on the line. I thought, 'Well, he's probably
not going to cast me, but I may as well give him a call and the
least I can do is just talk to him.' We talked for an hour, and
I told him it would be a chance for me that no one's given me
in America. He cast me over the phone. He's renowned for bucking
the system, and I appreciate that." The most important movie
for Nicole is Portrait of a Lady. She'd read the Henry James novel
four times and she and director Jane Campion had descended together
deep into the character of Isabel Archer, the spirited young American
woman visiting England who spurns two good proposals of marriage
in order to experience life, only to succumb to the charms of
Gilbert Osmond, an Englishman living in Rome, played with characteristic
malevolence by John Malkovich. "Making Portrait of a Lady
in Italy wasn't about glamour. It was about getting up and there's
no hot water in the little villa so you've got to have a cold
shower at 5am so that you can be in the make-up chair by 5.30
and you're freezing your tits off in the shower going, 'Oh noooo...'"
Nicole plunged into the emotional abyss of her character, Isabel,
with fierce abandon. Throughout the shooting, she even wore a
corset, to feel what Archer would have felt as she hewed to the
19th-century standard of an hourglass figure. Her performance
stirred talk of an Oscar nomination, but the film was judged by
most critics to be an absurdly mannered indulgence. "It was
hard when people criticized it. The film meant a lot. But as a
person, it's good to go through, too, I suppose. You hope it's
going to be wonderful and everyone will love it, and then that
doesn't happen that's 0.K. I still love the film, and am very
proud of it." After Portrait she was so emotionally exhausted
that she took six months off. Then Kubrick pushed his start date
back, and they said she could do The Peacemaker in eight weeks
and when George Clooney called, she agreed to do it.
She found herself playing a nuclear physicist to Clooney's specialforces
officer and spewing reams of techie dialogue in dreary Bratislava,
a Slovakian city on the border of Austria and Hungary. It starts
with a heist, somewhere in the former Soviet Union, from a train
carrying nuclear warheads, Nicole and George are the U.S. military
types who fly over to wrest the warheads from the Bosnian terrorists
to whom they were sold. When a lone detonator gets smuggled into
Manhattan, back they come on its trail. Nicole is the stern, by-the-book
bureaucrat, Clooney the roguish colonel who's assigned to be her
partner. "I was offered it right after I did The Portrait
of a Lady, and that was the hardest film I ever made - emotionally
- so this was my way of going to have some fun. I wanted not to
have to work every day, and to be able to go out at night and
dance." Then Tom and Nicole were simultaneously contacted
by Stanley Kubrick via fax, saying he was working on a script
called Eyes Wide Shut and would they be interested? A few months
later he sent the script to Tom. "He flipped over it, and
then I read it five days later. And then we had to give the script
back. Naturally we said 'yes'." So far, Eyes Wide Shut has
been shrouded in secrecy; the only known details are that it's
a sexual thriller in which Nicole and Tom play married psychiatrists,
but that might not be true either... Shooting started on 4 November
1996, and it wasn't officially over until 31 January 1998 (except
for a few re-takes some months later) and it will premiere in
July 1999. Almost 3 years after filming started! Harvey Keitel
left the production soon after it began. He was replaced by Sydney
Pollack. Pollack and Kubrick had been close telephone friends
for years. They'd never actually met - that would be too normal;)
Kubrick works with a small crew - "It's almost like making
a student film," Kidman says - so the fact that shooting
Eyes Wide Shut took so long is not financially ruinous to his
backer, Warner Bros., the way a full-blown Hollywood production
would be. "He has asked for a lot of takes sometimes, he'll
light the scene, ask for takes, then do some lighting. I've got
to say, though, the thing about working with him is that you know
you're working with someone who cares. He lives and breathes movies.
And he makes so few that he enjoys the process that much more;
he wants to exhaust all the possibilities. And the kind of actor
that I am, I love that. I find it much harder to walk away with
a director who says, 'Hey, great, let's move on.'"
In late January 1998 as Eyes Wide Shut wrapped, and Nicole left
England for Washington State where she started shooting of Practical
Magic a week later with Sandra Bullock. It opened at theatres
in the fall, to modest success. On September 10th 1998, Nicole
stood on the stage for the first time in years, at the pre-premiere
of "The Blue Room" at the Donmar Warehouse in London.
The real run started on the 23rd and ran until 31 October. It
was so successful that on December 13th, the play went to Broadway,
where it ran sold-out for two months. Towards the end of the Broadway
run, Nicole suffered from an infection and was forced to bow out
of the last perfomances. After that, she headed home to Australia
with her family, where Tom shortly began shooting of Mission:
Impossible 2. Not taking much rest, Nicole started shooting of
Birthday Girl then Moulin Rouge, followed by The Others. But Birthday
Girl, was held back for some reason. During the filming of Moulin
Rouge, she damaged her knee, and did not give it time to heal
properly during filming of The Others. At the end of January 2001,
two weeks into filming of "The Panic Room", Nicole had
to bow out, due to her knee making it impossible for her to endure
the tough action scenes of the shoot. As if the bad news weren't
enough, a week later, on February 5, Tom and Nicole announced
the sad news that they were to separate. And only two days later,
Tom stunned everybody, including Nic, by filing for divorce. In
the early summer, Nicole started filming of The Hours. Then flamboyant
Moulin Rouge premiered at Cannes, and everybody was positively
surprised by Nicole's singing voice. It was followed by The Others
in the autumn, and both doing really good at the boxoffice. In
September, Nicole recorded an old Sinatra song; "Somethin'
Stupid" with Robbie Williams, and once again showed that
her voice is really good. In January 2002, she went to Sweden,
where shooting of Dogville started. Later the same month, she
won her second Golden Globe, this time for Moulin Rouge.