Nicole Kidman is doing her part for older actresses, and her latest television venture proves that if Hollywood won’t give you the parts you want, you can always give them to yourself.
After a near 30-year absence from TV, Kidman has had a record few years, churning out hit after hit and proving the small screen can be just as sophisticated as the big.
Kidman’s Emmy and Golden Globe-winning portrayal of a battered housewife in Big Little Lies, and her memorable performance in Top of the Lake have allowed her to reinvent herself from tabloid staple to one of the most sought-after TV producers in the business.
And it’s no coincidence that psychological thriller The Undoing is the latest in a string of highly successful and compelling mini-series in which Kidman has produced and starred.
“I have to say as an actor you are only as good as the opportunities you are given,” Kidman told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“That is why I did Big Little Lies because as a producer you can make that happen. But a lot of the time, you’re in the position of being asked to do something or auditioning, not in a position of power or control.”
The Undoing sees Kidman star as an affluent and well-to-do therapist alongside Hugh Grant, the rom-com king himself, with the pair’s performance already generating Emmy buzz.
Kidman plays Grace, whose world is rocked when a fellow mother at her son’s exclusive private school is murdered – and her husband (Grant) has no alibi.
And while you may be inclined to think Kidman’s TV renaissance is either luck or simply good choices, think again.
A career in full bloom …
It’s no secret that roles for women over the age of 50 in Hollywood have historically been few and far between.
But meaningful roles for middle-aged and older women have begun to slowly pick up of late, and actresses who may have once feared they were doomed to play ‘the mother’ are still finding themselves in starring roles.
Laura Dern, Gillian Anderson, Frances McDormand, Viola Davis, Helena Bonham Carter, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Laura Linney and countless other over-50s are still leading award-winning productions.
And Kidman’s production company, Blossom Films, is looking to help bridge the gap in the types of stories depicted onscreen.
Producing Rabbit Hole, Big Little Lies, The Undoing, and the highly anticipated adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers, Blossom Films is contributing to a “richer tapestry” for women in TV.
“It’s the duty now. It’s the way forward,” Kidman said.
“And that’s wonderful. Because before you’d get shut down and now everyone is open [to diverse ideas].
“If you look at someone like Ryan Murphy, who’s been doing [diverse and gender-balanced production] for years, it’s fantastic. His whole company is devoted to diversity and telling those stories that wouldn’t be told, through different perspectives.
“To have the opportunity now, it becomes such a richer tapestry.
“And it’s far more reflective of what we’re living. Our children have a far different perspective because we’re now changing what it looks like on screen, what it looks like in their classrooms, what it looks like everywhere. Thank God. About time.”
With her critically acclaimed performance in The Undoing, and a bunch of upcoming projects like The Expatriates and Crime Farm in the works, Kidman is showing no signs of slowing down.