CANNES, France (AP) — Unveiling a new chapter in her already-considerable career, Nicole Kidman has brought four projects to Cannes this year, making her almost ubiquitous at the French Riviera festival.
“I’m at that place in my life where I’m trying to pretend I’m 21 and starting my career,” Kidman, who turns 50 next month, told reporters on Monday. “I want to try new things and support the filmmakers I believe in.”
Kidman’s projects at Cannes include Yorgos Lanthimos’s brutally dark family comedy “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” which premiered Monday. On Sunday, the actress’ “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” — a 1970s punk-alien romantic romp by John Cameron Mitchell — debuted.
As would be expected from Lanthimos’ previous films (“The Lobster,” ”Dogtooth”), the reaction in Cannes was sharply divided over the Greek filmmaker’s latest. Both cheers and boos followed its morning screening, though critics largely praised Lanthimos’ allegorical horror.
“The material is brutal in accumulation,” said Lanthimos. “We never dealt with it with seriousness. Nicole likes to say that I told her all the time that this is a comedy, and I believe that.”
Kidman repeatedly spoke about her hunger as an actress, and her desire at this stage of her life to work with young and uncompromising filmmakers.
“I’ve worked a lot. I don’t have to work. I work because it’s my passion. I work because it’s how I express myself,” said Kidman. “I’ve always had that slightly rebel spirit where I don’t want to conform and I want to find a way not to. That’s who I am.”
But Kidman also said she keeps her work life separate from her family with singer Toby Keith and her four children.
“This film,” she said of “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” ”my children will not be seeing.”
Still to come is Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled,” a female-perspective remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood film, and the second season of Jane Campion’s acclaimed series “Top of the Lake,” in which she plays a character she’s described as a “radical feminist lesbian.”
Kidman’s omnipresence at the festival — along with her typically royal poise on the red carpet — has earned her the nickname “Queen of Cannes.”
“That’s sort of a confluence of events,” said Kidman said of her extensive Cannes lineup. “It’s not something I was aware would happen.”
But she did grant that the films, which follow her turn on the HBO miniseries “Little White Lies” and her Oscar-nominated performance in “Lion,” are the all the result of her resolution to “stay bold and open” to challenging material.
“I still have that passion, at this age, for acting and cinema and storytelling and pushing boundaries and moving out of my comfort zone to try things with an abandon,” said Kidman.
JAKE COYLE, AP Film Writer