Nicole Kidman has said that 2014 has been a really hard year.
Speaking at the Australian premiere of Paddington in Sydney, the actor said it felt good to close out the year with a film that makes people smile, following the grief of losing her father, Australian clinical psychologist Antony Kidman, to a heart attack in August.
“Personally [it’s been] really really really hard,” she told Guardian Australia. “My family underwent a massive tragedy, So not my favourite year. But I try not to be ungrateful – I’m grateful to be alive.”
It has been a mixed year for Kidman on screen, too, with Oliver Dahan’s biopic Grace of Monaco critically panned in February, but Paddington topping the UK box office after universally warm reviews. The film is released in Australia on 11 November and in January in the US.
“My whole career is always a roller-coaster,” she said on the red carpet. “I’m so random and spontaneous and unusual in my choices – I never expect anything.”
Kidman plays the suited and booted Millicent, an evil taxidermist who wants to see Paddington Bear stuffed, in the film adaptation of Michael Bond’s classic children’s book. Asked in a pre-film Q&A if it was the chance to play another baddie that attracted her to the project, the actor said: “No, I just wanted to make a film for my kids.”
However, Kidman did admit the role of villain has always appealed: “I was the kid that watched the Wizard of Oz and wanted to play the Wicked Witch.”
She called Paddington “adorable” and said: “I hope it does well in Australia because it’s a film that’s about something ... it’s a kid’s movie that has people in it. Real people.”
“Paul King who directs the movie is such a talent,” said Kidman. “He actually looks a little like Paddington Bear. Which is a compliment, because Paddington is very good-looking.”
Kidman, who has two daughters with her husband, Australian country music singer, Keith Urban, and an adopted son and daughter with former partner Tom Cruise, said: “I hadn’t made a film that had made people feel good for a long time. I’d made films that are darker in tone. So it’s really nice to be able to make a film where you can say: “yeah, bring your kids’.”
The Oscar-winning actor is set for a busy 2015, starring opposite Robert Pattinson in Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert and opposite Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes in the Sundance-bound Strangerland, by Australian director Kim Farrant in her feature debut.
“I like working with auteurs,” Kidman said of Herzog. “I wanted to have an adventure. And of all the people to have an adventure with Werner is pretty fun. It’s like entering into Wernerworld.”
She added: “I chose the Australian film because it spoke to me. I orbit films about loss and grief a lot. I don’t know why. And love.”
The chance to work with a first-time female director also appealed, she said. “It was great to be able to support [Farrant] and I really like her. I wanted her to have a voice in the Australian film industry.”
Kidman revealed she would be spending her time in Sydney with her mother and sister. “We’ve gone through a really tough time this year as a family. It’s so nice to be able to take care of each other.”
This article was written by Nancy Groves, for theguardian.com on Sunday 7th December 2014 04.02 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010