Thesp to produce

VENICE — In town to promote their latest releases, actress Nicole Kidman (“Eyes Wide Shut”) and director Jane Campion (“Holy Smoke”) found time in their hectic schedules to further their plans to re-team on the film adaptation of Susanna Moore’s erotic thriller “In the Cut.”

The duo, who last worked together on the Polygram/Gramercy release “Portrait of a Lady,” have been eyeing this project as a followup since Kidman optioned the book out of her own pocket more than three years ago. In addition to toplining the “Looking for Mr. Goodbar”-like thriller, Kidman will make her bigscreen producing debut on “In the Cut.” And Campion will produce as well as direct from her own adaptation of the 1995 novel.

Sources said the pic is being targeted for a fall 2000 start date, after Kidman wraps two other films: Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge” for Fox, which she’ll finish before embarking on Alejandro Amenabar’s “The Other” for Miramax.

Kidman and Campion met during the opening days of the Venice Film Festival — where the actress came to promote Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” for Warner Bros. International and Campion was launching her latest, “Holy Smoke” from Miramax — with Universal Pictures International execs, Stewart Till and Graeme Mason, who are spearheading an effort to bring onboard European co-financing for the pic. It’s understood that UPI is talking to Canal Plus to co-produce the film but after word got out on Venice’s Lido that Campion and Kidman were moving ahead with the pic, several other suitors emerged, including Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein.

It’s understood that the producers are seeking $20 million for the international rights to the film, which has an estimated below-the-line cost of $15 million.

For Kidman, “In the Cut” offers another sexually charged film outing, following her current onscreen contretemps with husband-co-star Tom Cruise in “Eyes Wide Shut” and her lauded legit stint in David Hare’s “The Blue Room.”

In the film, Kidman would play a New York University professor who, after a young woman is murdered in her New York neighborhood, launches into a dangerous affair with a detective that pushes the limits of sexuality.

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