Nicole Kidman’s career has spanned nearly four decades. Her trophy shelf includes an Oscar, two Emmys, a SAG Award and a BAFTA. She is a favorite to pick up her fifth Academy Award nomination next week for her work as Lucille Ball in “Being the Ricardos.”
Even so, Kidman acknowledges the road to today has also included some bumps. “I had that sort of in my early thirties where I was like, ‘Right, I think this is kind of going to be it,’” the Aussie actor tells me on today’s episode of the “Just for Variety” podcast. “And then I had it again at 40. And so I’ve run that gamut where you just go, ‘Now’s the time that I’m going to be put out to pasture.’”
It wasn’t the fear of losing fame that scared Kidman during the down times, but the thought of not being able to pursue her art. “That feels at times like… gut wrenching,” says Kidman, now 54. “And then going, ‘Okay, well I got to find other things that interest me that I love.’ That’s the journey of life, isn’t it? And then suddenly going, ‘This has blossomed… or this has opened up, and now I have this chance to do something.’ So it’s always been like this, and I know it will always be like that. I’m on the ride.”
It’s no wonder her production company is called Blossom Films.
In the Aaron Sorkin-written and directed “Being the Ricardos,” she plays Lucille Ball during a week-long production of one episode of “I Love Lucy.” Javier Bardem plays Desi Arnaz.
In one flashback scene, Ball is shown losing her contract at RKO Pictures. She was 39 at the time, but she gets her career back after doing a hit radio show. At the time, radio felt like a step down. “She turns that failure into a success, which then leads to [“I Love Lucy”], which then leads to her being able to say, ‘You give Desi this job.’ And the only reason he’s not a movie star is because he’s Cuban and I’m going to advocate for him to get it because he deserves it. Not because he is my husband, but because he’s so talented and we are great together.’”
Kidman continues, “That’s the engine in the story, where you’re seeing a person just survive and move into the greatest period of her life, and then real life collides and all of those other things happen as well.”
Before she shot “Being the Ricardos,” Kidman was in Northern Ireland filming Robert Eggers’ upcoming action epic “The Northman.” The shoot was “extremely cold [and] extremely muddy,” but she’s not complaining. “I loved it! I arrived on the mountain and I was like, ‘Rrrrraaah!” she says, raising her arms above her head. She plays Norse Queen Gudrún in the Viking drama. “I thought I’d be blown over by the wind, but I was like, ‘Rrrraaah!’ It felt good.”
Although a release date hasn’t been announced, Kidman hopes audiences will see “The Northman” in theaters. “We want those theaters to survive,” she says. “We want those theaters to be there so you can go and sit in a theater and watch a film. I love doing that. I love doing it with my family.”
Also coming up is the sequel to “Aquaman.” Kidman returns as the titular superhero’s (Jason Momoa) mother. “Jason is huge now. I don’t mean physically. I mean, he’s a big guy, but he’s such a global star,” Kidman gushes. “Before ‘Aquaman’ he was well known, [but] now people are like, ‘Do you know Jason Momoa?’ I’m like, ‘Yes, yes.’ …The woman who was doing my nails the other day was like, ‘I am so in love with him.’”
Listen to the full interview with Kidman above. You can also find “Just for Variety” at Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.