Nicole Kidman has urged the film industry to tell women’s stories more, and for the movie-going public to demand that they are told, denouncing the idea that people won’t pay to see films that champion women.
The actor, 48, was speaking today at the Women In The World event in London organised by Tina Brown. “The problem is starting at ground level, where the females are not given the chance to build their careers so they can become great directors, and that needs to change.
“As much as men run studios – and so do women – and the argument is people aren’t going to pay to go and see this… Well, we have to change that, we have to go out and pay. I’m going to buy a ticket to Suffragette to prove that this story does need to be told.”
Kidman is currently in London starring in West End play Photograph 51, which tells the story of Rosalind Franklin, a scientist whose studies led to the discovery of the DNA double helix but whose contribution was overlooked in favour of the work of Francis Crick and James Watson.
“I read the play and I wept, and the end of it was very emotional. I felt that there was an injustice and I wanted to be a part of it, if not writing it at least putting her back into the conversation and the dialogue beyond just the scientific community,” she told the Women In The World audience.
It has been 17 years since Kidman was last seen on the London stage, in David Hare’s The Blue Room, a performance that was famously described by Telegraph critic Charles Spencer as “pure theatrical Viagra”.
She says the delay in her coming back to the theatre has been due to family commitments: she has four children, Isabella (22) and Connor (20), who she adopted with first husband Tom Cruise, and Sunday (7) and Faith (4), who she has had with current husband Keith Urban.
“It’s a very hard thing with young children to say I’m going to commit to a [theatre] run, move my whole family somewhere, and do eight shows a week and not be there in the evenings for wind-down with dinner and putting to bed. So it’s a commitment that I actually wasn’t willing to make for a long time,” she told Brown.
Kidman described the time when she won an Oscar for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in The Hours in 2003 as “the loneliest I’ve ever been”. After she split up with Cruise in 2001 she made Moulin Rouge and The Others, as well as The Hours, work that was critically acclaimed.
“I was running from my life at that time, and as an actor you have this wonderful thing where you can go and get lost in somebody else’s life. And when I look back on it I really see that out of that came work that was applauded, so that was an interesting thing for me.”
But when she won the Oscar, her realisation was that work wouldn’t ‘heal’ her. “Work was a great place for me to exist and then that culminated in winning an Oscar, and that caused an epiphany, which was actually ‘this is not the answer’.
“I was holding this gold statue and sitting in the Beverly Hills hotel, and it was all extraordinary and I was the loneliest I’ve ever been… and I then I knew I needed to hone in on what I want as a woman, and for my life.”
Kidman says she then spent five or six years slowing down, reading and talking before she ‘stumbled’ into Keith Urban, a singer. “In my spontaneous way [I] got married very quickly and [we] got to know each other when we were married.”
She became pregnant with Sunday in 2007 and Faith was born to a surrogate in 2011. “I’ve experienced motherhood from many different angles… I love children,” she said.