From the brilliant film historian and critic David Thomson, a book that reinvents the star biography in a singularly illuminating portrait of Nicole Kidman--and what it means to be a top actress today. At once life story, love letter, and critical analysis, this is not merely a book about who Kidman is but about what she is--in our culture and in our minds, on- and offscreen.
Tall, Australian, one of the striking beauties of the world, Nicole Kidman is that rare modern phenomenon--an authentic movie star who is as happy and as creative throwing a seductive gaze from some magazine cover as she is being Virginia Woolf in The Hours. Here is the story of how this actress began her career, has grown through her roles, taken risks, made good choices and bad, and worried about money, aging, and image.
Here are the details of an actress's life: her performances in To Die For, The Portrait of a Lady, Eyes Wide Shut, Moulin Rouge , The Hours, and Birth, among other films; her high-visibility marriage to Tom Cruise; her intense working relationship with Stanley Kubrick and her collaborations with Anthony Minghella and Baz Luhrmann; her work with Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, Renee Zellweger, and John Malkovich; her decisions concerning nudity, endorsements, and publicity.
And here are Thomson's scintillating considerations of what celebrity means in the life of an actress like Kidman; of how the screen becomes both barrier and open sesame for her and for her audience; of what is required today of an actress of Kidman's stature if she is to remain vital to the industry and to the audiences who made her a prime celebrity.
Impassioned, opinionated, dazzlingly original in its approach and ideas, Nicole Kidman is as alluring and as much fun as Nicole Kidman herself, and David Thomson's most remarkable book yet.
About the Author
John Heilpern is the author of the classic book about theater Conference of the Birds: The Story of Peter Brook in Africa and of How Good is David Mamet, Anyway?, a collection of his theater essays and reviews. Born in England and educated at Oxford, his interviews for The Observer (London) received a British Press Award. In 1980 he moved to New York, where he became a weekly columnist for The Times of London. An adjunct professor of drama at Columbia University, he is drama critic for the New York Observer.
“Compulsively readable . . . an entertaining romp through [Nicole Kidman’s] life and career that’s also a smart commentary on celeb culture.”
--Christopher Kelly, The Star-Telegram
“Illuminating . . . part astute analysis of our relationship to the film image and our cultural fixation on celebrity and part insightful film criticism . . . [a] starry-eyed love letter.”
--Tara Ison, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Thomson is probably the single most gifted film writer alive . . . an extraordinarily knowing meditation on movies as purveyors of dreams and desires”
--Jeff Simon, The Buffalo News
“Rewrites the celebrity biography into a savvy exploration of myth-making . . . Dangerously smart, Thomson never lectures. He throws little gems and thought-provoking insights in the midst of the liveliest conversation. A passionate storyteller, he peppers his analyses with sassy anecdotes . . . and biting remarks on politics, celebrity culture and their commodification of human dramas. Bold, provocative, irrepressibly funny . . . will delight those who enjoy a book that has guts and brains.”
--Cécile Alduy, San Francisco Chronicle
“Film critic David Thomson has a crush on Kidman and he doesn’t care who knows . . . a shrewd book about the nature of screen acting, fantasy and stardom.”