Back to IndieWire

Nicole Kidman Reportedly Joins ‘Genius’ With Michael Fassbender & Colin Firth

Nicole Kidman Reportedly Joins 'Genius' With Michael Fassbender & Colin Firth

It’s been nearly two years since we’ve heard anything about “Genius,” so we’ll bring you back up to speed. The long-developing project has moved in fits and starts over the years, getting a boost in 2012 when Colin Firth and Michael Fassbender signed up for the lead roles, with promises of production starting in early 2014. Well, we’re in early 2014 and it looks like the wheels on this one are turning again, with another big star apparently joining.

According to The New York Daily News, they caught up with Firth at “The Railway Man” premiere and he told the paper that he’d next be collaborating with co-star Nicole Kidman on “Genius” (they’ve already got another movie, the thriller “Before I Go To Sleep,” in the can).

The film is an adaptation of the National Book Award-winning non-fiction work “Max Perkins: Editor of Genius” by A. Scott Berg, and focuses on Perkins’ (Firth) relationship with the (excellent, underappreciated) author Thomas Wolfe (Fassbender). A writer who poured words onto the page, Wolfe worked with and battled Perkins over the length of his books, with the editor cutting 90,000 words from his first novel “Look Homeward, Angel” (later restored in an updated version of the book, “O Lost!“). In time, Wolfe became resentful of what he perceived was Perkins receiving far too much credit for his work. But on his deathbed at the age of 37, Wolfe penned a tribute to Perkins who certainly helped make his career. Here’s the official synopsis:

GENIUS centers on the real-life relationship between literary giant Thomas Wolfe and renowned editor Max Perkins (Firth).

Finding fame and critical success at a young age, Wolfe is a blazing talent with a larger-than-life personality to match. Perkins is one of the most respected and well-known literary editors of all time, discovering such iconic novelists as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.

Wolfe and Perkins develop a tender, complex friendship. Transformative and irrepressible, this friendship will change the lives of these brilliant, but very different men forever.

There’s no word yet on what Kidman’s role might be. She’s likely too young to play Wolfe’s romantic interest and muse As our readers point out, Kidman could be playing Aline Berstein, Wolfe’s romantic interest and muse. Guess we’ll find out soon enough. Michael Grandage will make his directorial debut on the project.

This Article is related to: News and tagged ,



Kidman could very well be playing Louise Perkins, Max Perkins' wife, who was a complicated person, a frustrated actress and talented writer to boot. I can't begin to imagine her as Aline. Ugh!

Also, Wolfe's relationship with Aline was ending just as Wolfe began working with Perkins. In fact, initially, Aline blamed Perkins' influence for the split. But Wolfe was ready to move on and Aline didn't want to give him up.

What's very sad about the casting is that Tim Robbins would have been perfect for Wolfe about 20 years ago but he's too old now. But I can still see Fassbender pulling it off–he's just got to put on about 50 pounds.


Berstein was 45 when she started sleeping with Wolfe.


I've never of an actor and an actress doing four films together in a year or two.


I wouldn't be too sure that is going forward soon or that Fassbender is still attached to it. He's going to start working on Trespass Against Us within the next month or so. And one of the actors said that the project has an intensive pre-production prep period. In the fall, he's either shooting Prometheus 2 or Assassin's Creed/Brotherhood.


If this is true I agree that she's probably playing Bernstein. Kidman is 9, nearly 10, years older than Fassbender and, while that still skews a bit young for Bernstein, I could easily see that working. Plus, that has to be the only significant female role here, unless Perkins' wife had some interesting things going on that we don't know about.

And considering Wolfe died when he was 37 (way past the era the film would focus on), I don't think they're being sticklers when it comes to age considering that's how old Fassbender is now.


She's going to be Aline Bernstein, who was the older woman having an affair with the younger man Thomas Wolfe!


Bernstein was 18 years older than Wolfe, so that'd be a good bet, as Kidman is ten years older than Fassbender.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *