10 April 2001
Kidman’s Magical Musical
Featuring Fairytale sets to die for and demonstrating the kind of visual splendour usually reserved for a royal coronation, Baz Luhrman’s Moulin Rouge is nothing if not pleasing to the eye. This is helped, in no small part, by the presence of radiant Australian star Nicole Kidman who, in one of her last interviews before the break-up with husband Tom Cruise, told the Australian edition of Empire Magazine, exactly how it felt to be a part of the mythical production.
“I got to fly on this trapeze with 300 men below, all reaching up. That’s bizarre. I think I hardly dreamed [during the shoot] because the [real] life was so wild. It was so brilliant going to the set every day and just seeing the colour. You’d walk onto the set and you’d see this massive elephant [a structure which served as Kidman’s character’s boudoir]. You’d think, ‘I’m in a film with a 60-foot elephant in it.’” A surreal shoot to be certain and one that lasted seven days a week for eight months, occupying Kidman’s every waking moment. “I had to sing for four days in a row in front of [the crew], and every time it was just like, ‘oh, man!’ Ewan and I had to sing this love song to each other, and oh, it was brutal.”
Endless hours of singing, dancing and flying through the air were all part of Kidman’s role as Satine, the seductive courtesan who lures Ewan McGregor’s young poet into the arena of sex, drugs and the cancan. “With Ewan, it was kind of unusual,” she enthuses coyly of her co-star, “he’d give me goose bumps. And I was nervous to kiss him! He could make you blush. I mean, I blush in the film, and I’d be embarrassed to dance in front of him sometimes. I really kind of cared what he would think.”
Broken ribs, a serious knee injury and an uncomfortable corset were just some of the tribulations Kidman suffered in the name of Luhrman’s Parisian spectacular, but it’s an experience the actress wouldn’t change for the world. “By the end, I was shot to pieces. I was sooo exhausted yet the way Baz rallies people around him, you just want to give him everything. I’m sure if he’d said to me, ‘you’ve got to walk over hot coals,’ I would’ve been, ‘Okay!’ I love acting too much, I will go to the ends of the Earth for it.”
The full interview can be found in this months Australian edition of Empire Magazine, on sale now.