When I caught up with Nicole Kidman in May near the end of the Cannes Film Festival she just wanted to take off her shoes and relax. It was a grueling schedule as she had two films on successive nights in the official selection doing press conferences and walking up the Palais’ fabeled red carpeted steps two nights in a row. With her powerhouse portrayal of journalist Martha Gellhorn who also engaged in a tumultuous marriage as Ernest Hemingway’s third wife, Kidman had the rare opportunity of premiering a movie in Cannes that would debut on HBO just four nights later. And before this Oscar winning star (The Hours) showed there is practically nothing she won’t do for her art as the trampy Southern trollop in Precious director Lee Daniel’s first film since that triumph, The Paperboy, in which she stars opposite Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron and John Cusack. The movie divided critics but everyone seemed to agree Kidman nailed it. Clearly this major movie star is on a roll and as she told me she goes where the interesting parts are now whether it’s the movies, theatre or even television, which in Gellhorn gave her one of the roles of a lifetime.
AWARDSLINE: Were you familiar with Martha Gellhorn?
NICOLE KIDMAN: I didn’t even know who she was. Then I started researching her and called [director] Phil [Kaufman] and said ‘I have got to play her.’ And to play her old and looking back. She had that perspective. And the final images of the film are her looking back and on the phone and saying ‘I will pay my own way.’ I had to tell that story: I’m going, throwing that backpack on and going out that door … She is such a great woman in the hands of Phil because he loves women. And I think it’s great that he’s told her story. She trail-blazed a lot of female journalists, but also she was a role model for women. Read More »
With two movies premiering in the Official Selection on successive nights and big worldwide market pre-sales announced for an upcoming film in which she plays Grace Kelly, Nicole Kidman ruled the Croisette in the second half of the Cannes Film … Read More »
Unlike last year when three entries in the Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival went on to grab Oscar nominations for Best Picture (and The Artist even won) this year it’s different, at least going into the final weekend. Cannes doesn’t seem to have even one sure candidate for Oscar’s big prize. But in a real twist the world’s most famous film fest is launching a surefire Emmy contender: HBO’s Hemingway And Gellhorn which premieres here tonight with a Red Carpet gala at the Grand Theatre Lumiere three days before debuting on HBO May 28. Movie stars Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen will be giving the paparazzi lots to shoot and 75-year-old director Philip Kaufman – whose career includes such acclaimed works as The Right Stuff, The Unbearable Lightness Of Being, The Wanderers, The White Dawn, Henry And June and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers in addition to writing Raiders Of The Lost Ark - will be ascending those famous stairs for the first time. And how ironic this quintessential filmmaker is doing it for a TV movie, albeit one on HBO. But this movie about the tempestuous marriage of Ernest Hemingway and his third wife, war correspondent Martha Gellhorn has the look and feel of an epic spanning the Spanish Civil War, the conflict between the Soviets and Finland, the Japanese occupation of China and World War II.
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Kaufman knows people will see it on TV but he’s hoping critics watch it first on a big screen. I watched it on my 61-inch set at home before heading here as it was sent out a few weeks ago in HBO’s Emmy For Your Consideration box. He wanted them to hold it back but HBO was intent on getting it to the voters. He is very excited to see how it will look on the giant Grand Theatre Lumiere screen.
Despite making the kinds of films Cannes seems to love, Kaufman has had very little contact with the Festival. 48 years ago he was here and awarded the Prix de la Nouvelle Critique (the Young Critics award) for his first film, Goldstein (tying with a very young Bernardo Bertolucci who is also back in Cannes with his new film Me And You). When we talked this week at an outdoor cafe overlooking the beach Kaufman told me he has only been back a couple of times to raise money for films he was trying to make. TV movie or not, Cannes was anxious to give him the full treatment (although the film is out of competition). “I don’t think they have ever done this with an American movie before. There was Carlos which was a miniseries made for French TV but Olivier Assayas is Cahiers Du Cinema and this is a French film festival. What an honor for me for a movie made for television to be selected here. I know HBO is thrilled.”
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