Time really flies. It has been almost twenty years since Nicole Kidman and Jane Campion unveiled “The Portrait Of A Lady,” and now it looks like the actress and director are going to finally reteam, marking Campion’s first effort behind the camera since the excellent miniseries “The Top Of The Lake.” And while the reunion is certainly welcome, it has extra resonance given the current conversation in Hollywood regarding the lack of female voices both in front and behind the camera, which is not lost on Kidman.
“There’s a sense of intimacy that doesn’t have to be earned when you work with a woman. And there’s a dialogue that you can have that’s probably just probably deeper and more raw,” she explained on The Diane Rehm Show. “And I’ve worked with Jane Campion, very early in my career I worked with a woman named [unintelligible] [and] I’m about to work with Jane again next year.”
Kidman doesn’t reveal what the project is, but it’s a safe bet that it’s the Scott Rudin produced adaptation of Rachel Kushner‘s 2013 National Book Award finalist “The Flamethrowers.” Campion has been attached to the project since last spring and doesn’t seem to have much else on her slate. Here’s the book synopsis:
In her smash-hit debut, Telex from Cuba (2008), Kushner took on corporate imperialism and revolution, themes that also stoke this knowing and imaginative saga of a gutsy yet naive artist from Nevada. Called Reno when she arrives in New York in 1977, she believes that her art has “to involve risk,” but she’s unprepared for just how treacherous her entanglements with other artists will be. Reno’s trial-by-fire story alternates provocatively with the gripping tale of Valera, an Italian who serves in a motorcycle battalion in WWI, manufactures motorcycles, including the coveted Moto Valera, and makes a fortune in the rubber industry by oppressing Indian tappers in Brazil. These worlds collide when Reno moves in with Sandro Valera, a sculptor estranged from his wealthy family, and tries to make art by racing a Moto Valera on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Ultimately, Reno ends up in Italy, where militant workers protest against the Valeras. As Reno navigates a minefield of perfidy, Kushner, with searing insights, contrasts the obliteration of the line between life and art in hothouse New York with life-or-death street battles in Rome. Adroitly balancing astringent social critique with deep soundings of the complex psyches of her intriguing, often appalling characters, Kushner has forged an incandescently detailed, cosmopolitan, and propulsively dramatic tale of creativity and destruction.
Kidman wants to see women encouraging each other to get these kinds of projects developed. “That’s our job as women, as we age, to support each other and build a sisterhood so that in terms of these stories reaching out, they find their place,” she said. “The great thing about the industry now is there’s so many other places to make —you don’t just have to make a film that appears in cinemas. You can make films for TV, you can make films for Netflix that are then seen worldwide. I mean, there’s so many avenues now. But we do need the group of people that are going to say these stories are so relevant and so important not only for our generation but the next generation.”
Strong words indeed, and backed up by Kidman herself as she preps to work with Campion. Check out the full Diane Rehm Show episode below.