Nicole Kidman experiences career resurgence at 50
With hitting the half century, the Australian actress is looking to work with more female and rookie film-makers
The queen of this year's Cannes Film Festival, Nicole Kidman, received a special 70th anniversary prize for her three films in competition - The Beguiled, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer and How To Talk To Girls At Parties - and the TV drama Top Of The Lake: China Girl.
But the Australian actress was not at the closing ceremony in May to collect her award and had to Skype her thanks as she was back home in Nashville, US.
The 50-year-old said: "They called me in the morning and they were like, 'Can you do hair and make-up and record something?' And I was like, 'Hair and make-up? It is Sunday morning!' So I just pulled my hair back and recorded a message.
"I would have moved mountains to get back there, to stand up there and accept it in person. They do not tell you in advance, so it is what it is."
But at our interview at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills, Kidman was made up to talk about The Beguiled, for which US writer-director Sofia Coppola won Best Director at Cannes, becoming the second woman to do so.
Opening here on Sept 7, the drama is a remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood film. Kidman plays the headmistress of a girls boarding school during the US Civil War. A wounded soldier (Colin Farrell) is given refuge by the women, which brings all kinds of hidden sexual tensions and rivalries to the fore.
Not surprisingly, Kidman is an admirer of Coppola's.
I love auteurs and directors that have a really, really strong vision, and they are hard to find.Nicole Kidman
She said: "Sofia is quiet and demure, and she was like, 'I have got a story I am sort of thinking about'. And so we met for dinner and she gave me the script.
"It is very much a Sofia Coppola vision, which as the daughter of a famous film-maker is difficult to have established.
"She is simple in her framing; her storytelling almost hypnotises. There is this sort of twisted humour to it. I am proud of her for that and proud to be associated with her."
At this stage in her three-decade career, Kidman is working with a lot of women and first-time directors.
She said: "I love auteurs and directors that have a really, really strong vision, and they are hard to find. I like supporting first-time film-makers.
"I still try to conduct myself as though I have the abandon of a 21-year-old. When you start your career, you are like, 'I am going to try this and I am going to give this a go', so I try to stay in that place.
"At times, it is disturbing and I feel exposed and fragile. But I am willing to do it because I love the artistic journey."
Kidman's next project is superhero film Aquaman with Jason Momoa in the titular role. She plays his mother Atlanna.
"I wanted to have some fun. (Director) James Wan sent me the script and said, 'I wrote this for you'. It is nice when somebody offers you something like that. It is a small role, so it is not like I have to commit an enormous amount of time and I get to have a bit of fun.
"Also it is shooting in Australia, so I get to go home and be near my mum and be part of that universe. I get to be a mermaid warrior," she said with a laugh.
Kidman said celebrating her 50th birthday in June felt like "an accomplishment".
"But also for what happened in Cannes and those things to be happening now, I am unbelievably grateful for that. That is a beautiful thing to be given at this age. To be given this in the year that I turn 50, thank you, God," she said with a laugh.
Kidman's other passion is her family. She is especially proud of her Australian country musician-husband Keith Urban, with whom she has two daughters aged nine and seven.
Said Kidman: "I was with Keith when he won four awards at the (CMT Music Awards in June), and to sit in the audience and see him win awards for the music that he makes, I was like 'I am so glad he is being acknowledged'.
"My daughter said to me, 'You and daddy kiss all the time', and I was like, 'That is a fantastic thing for your daughter to say to you'.
"I am also devoted to my momma, because she is still here and she formed me; she is the basis for who I am. She still teaches me.
"I have always been like that. Since I was a little girl, I have wanted to be around my family, give to my family and be a part of a family."