Nicole Kidman: There’s a consensus in the industry that actresses are done at 40


Nicole Kidman covers the latest issue of DuJour, mostly to promote Being the Ricardos and to do her little Oscar campaign for the film. The DuJour cover story is trying to remind people that before Kidman’s love affair with Botox, she was actually known as something of a shapeshifter actress, someone who could play any part and do any accent. Is that still true? I don’t know. If anything, Kidman’s accent work has been a bit wonky as of late, and even with all of the wigs at her disposal, she still always ends up looking like Nicole Kidman. You can read the full DuJour piece here. Some highlights:

She’s relieved by the response to Ricardos: “I was so frightened… I thought, ‘Oh, my God, I’m not the right person. Maybe I didn’t think this thing through.’ And then it was too late to get out of it.”

She always gets anxiety about the big projects: Kidman acknowledges that this process—dive headfirst into a project, then have debilitating anxiety about it—is “part of my trajectory. I get terrified. It happened on The Others,” the blockbuster horror movie from 2001, and it happened the following year with the role of Virginia Woolf in The Hours, which garnered her an Oscar.

Why she takes those big swings: When it comes to her “big swings,” Kidman admits “there’s a lot of unconscious decision-making” at play. “I have a very stable home life, so I can go off and then always come back here. It’s also part of getting older and just looking at life. There’s a consensus in the industry that as a female actor, at about 40, you’re done. I never sat in a chair and heard someone say, ‘You’re past your due date,’ but I’ve had times where you’re turned down and the door is shut on you. It’s definitely changing and moving, but that’s what Being the Ricardos is about.”

Her first attempts at Virginia Woolf’s voice were bad: As an actor, says Kidman, “you’ve got to have a thick skin.” When she was prepping for The Hours, she remembers trying to imitate Virginia Woolf’s voice for the director, Stephen Daldry. “It was absolutely dreadful,” Kidman recalls. “He said, ‘I so don’t want that. You’re not going to do that.’ Directors say ‘no,’ if they’re truthful.” On Eyes Wide Shut, she adds, Stanley Kubrick would ask, “What was that?” “over and over.”

She doesn’t need a nice director: “I choose carefully the directors I work with. It’s not about nice. It’s about [deciding] I want to be the vessel. I’m here to help. What can I do?”

Comedy is hard. “It’s crazy hard. I never really understood how hard it was. You look at Julia Louis-Dreyfus. You look at Mary Tyler Moore. They’re bold. They’re willing to not hear a laugh.”

Her kids: Her daughter Sunday Rose “wants to be a director. Through nothing I’ve done, though. She’s learned to edit, and if I even offer to be in one of her films, the sense is I’m not getting anywhere near them.” Recently, Kidman says her daughter directed a production of Annie on stage. “All I wanted to do was whoop and holler,” Kidman explains. “But I’m kept on a tight lock and key. I just want to go, ‘You’re amazing.’ But I’m not allowed to call out the window of the car or even compliment too much.”

Hands-on parenting: “I have this huge desire to be there for them. I don’t want to miss their bedtimes. That bedtime is so deeply important for me. We talk. We try to have some consistency. The biggest consistency is ‘I’m here and I love you and that will never change.’ It’s a constant balance.”

[From DuJour]

She always says that she tries to get out of movies at the last minute and I believe her. I think she probably arrives on set or location, gets nervous and calls her agent and begs him to find a way out of the contract. She must do that for nearly every film! I definitely wish she had found a way to get out of Being the Ricardos, but here we are. I do like what she said about getting older and giving fewer f–ks about what you’re “supposed to do” and all of that. I think a lot of women feel like that too – it’s not that you stop caring about things once you hit 40, and it’s not like you stop getting nervous or anxious, but you do stop caring about the little sh-t, like keeping up appearances or other people’s opinions.

Los Angeles Premiere Of Amazon Studios' 'Being The Ricardos'

Cover courtesy of DuJour, additional photos courtesy of Avalon Red and Backgrid.

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26 Responses to “Nicole Kidman: There’s a consensus in the industry that actresses are done at 40”

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  1. Jan says:

    The hardest working woman in show bizz.

  2. Ana Maria says:

    What I don’t understand is that she keeps getting more work the more she messes wit her face

  3. Twin Falls says:

    I’m a huge Nicole Kidman fan, I like her work as an actor and the sense I get from her as a person, but she doesn’t really disappear into roles.

    Watching myself age in the bathroom mirror is hard. I don’t know how actors do it for the world to see and have an opinion on.

    I’m not quite at DNGAF. Maybe by 50?

  4. MsIam says:

    I like the green dress even though I’m not a green fan! I think its very elegant. As for Nicole the actress, I guess I’m neutral on her, her name doesn’t make me rush out to see something but I don’t hate her. I haven’t watched The Ricardos yet but that Nine Strangers thing on Hulu was a snooze fest to me and I never finished it.

  5. Cava 24 says:

    I read several pieces about the tragic death of Gaspard Ulliel yesterday and I did actually notice that a bunch of them referred to him as a young actor who was full of promise. Which he was! But a woman who was 37, as he was, who had been working since the mid 2000’s, as he did, would never be described as “young and full of promise”.

  6. Becks1 says:

    She used to be one of my favorite actresses, so it does make me sad what she did to her face, because her face used to be so expressive, and just a little twist of her lips or an angle of her eye or something would change the whole scene. And now…..well, here we are. She can still act, its just not the same.

    The Others is a creepily fantastic movie.

  7. SJP-NYC says:

    I know it is not a popular opinion here, but I liked the Ricardos. The only actor I didn’t love in it was Javier, I thought he was too old and not handsome enough for Ricky. I watched many a rerun of I Love Lucy growing up and I was able to get past that that Nicole wasn’t a spitting image and the voice wasn’t a match – she has acting chops and I liked the movie.

    • jk says:

      I agree – I thought Javier was terrible I didn’t think she was that good but at least she got the voice down.

  8. MerlinsMom1018 says:

    The Others. Hands down my favorite movie she did. She was wound tighter than a spring in that movie and she was amazing. I always wondered if she actually knew the whole time (her character that is) that…well…I don’t know who has and hasn’t ever seen it, so I don’t want to give it up, but whoosh…
    M. Night Shyamalan just ain’t right and I am all in for it.

    • Therese says:

      Merlin’s mom, did you know that I think the Others was based on a long ago short story written by Rudyard Kipling called “They”. Look it up and tell me what you think. That’s what I’m thinking.

      • MerlinsMom1018 says:

        HOLY MOLEY!!!!!! I believe you are absolutely correct. Wow! Thanks for the heads up!

  9. FHMom says:

    You know what? Aging out of a job isn’t restricted to Hollywood. I know several people, women and men, who were laid off or “encouraged’ to retire after 50. And most of them weren’t offered great packages that set them up for retirement. Most have to look for new jobs which are scarce. It’s very discouraging.

    • MerlinsMom1018 says:

      🙋i was let go of my job because “we’re moving in a different direction” and naturally it was us over 55/60 year olds that were tossed. Men and women.
      I was ok with it because I was eligible for Social Security but one of the men said “who’s going to hire me at my age with what I make?”
      So yep to your comment

      • FHMom says:

        Same thing happened to my husband and a dozen others where he worked. Luckily, he was able to switch careers to teaching, which was something he’s been talking about for 25 years. I feel your pain, Merlin’s Mom

  10. Tessa says:

    Her daughter directed Annie on stage? On what stage? She’s 13. Nicole is really pedaling the narrative that at 13 (or even younger – who knows when it actually happened), her daughter is such a brilliant gem of a director that a school or a club of some sort let her direct a play because nobody else was better suited for the job or as talented? Sure, Jen. I’m sure it wasn’t because her parents are famous and she wanted to play director.
    No wonder all these nepotism children grow up to be so full of themselves and detached from reality. Their parents have been orchestrating people collectively blowing smoke up their behinds for decades by the time they are thrust upon us. That’s why they all think that criticisms and poor reception are “backlash” or “jealousy” or whatever, rather than an honest assessment of their skills. And even then… I think Nicole Kidman is a spectacularly overrated actress and do not understand her Hollywood royalty status. To me, she always had 2 modes (manic and aloof), and now with all the plastic surgery, it’s down to 1.

  11. candy says:

    I love her work as an actress. And she’s beautiful, I wish she would slow down on the fillers etc. she doesn’t need it.

  12. TrixC says:

    I may be in the minority but I’ve always felt she is overrated as an actress. I find her mannerisms irritating and I never forget I’m watching Nicole Kidman rather than the character. But then, I feel quite similarly about Kristen Stewart, and a lot of people also think she’s a good actress, so maybe it’s me.

    I think that there are still roles for female actors over 40 but the main difference is they no longer get the romantic leads. Whereas men are allowed to continue playing romantic leads until they’re around 60, usually paired with women under 40.

    • Tessa says:

      Oh my goodness, Kristen Stewart is EXACTLY the second actress I had in mind who is hyped up by the critics and a lot of the public, but who is just flat-flat-flat. I’ve been comparing her to Kidman in my head the entire time I was reading this story.

      • Matlida says:

        I agree with both of you. Two actresses that are over hyped. Nicole Kidman never does a convincing accent, she is no shape shifter and Kristen is a pretty piece of wood with zero personality. It baffles me why people think they are great.

  13. Sof says:

    If Nicole Kidman feels this way, what’s left for the rest of us. When I was a kid Practical Magic was one of my go to movies, so I’ll always have a soft spot for her and Sandra Bullock (who also messed with her face, but whatever).
    I like that she is also talking about failure and bad acting, the last few interviews of her I read were very superficial.

  14. Bella says:

    I liked the Ricardos and even though there was a huge filter on her face I thought she nailed the essence of Lucy. I loved her in it!!

  15. Concern Fae says:

    To everyone yucking over the work she’s had done: think about why she is one of the only actresses her age doing varied work in very different kinds of films, from DC superhero movies to gonzo indies.

    You are asking her to retire and stay off the screen so you don’t have to look at her face.

  16. ED says:

    Love the styling of the ‘DuJour’ cover here.
    I wonder if that’s her natural hair as it looks great and I normally don’t like her with straight hair?
    Have to say, I really like Nicole and always cheer for her.
    I think she’s a brave actress who always seems to surprise us with unusual role choices.
    I don’t watch everything that’s she’s in mind you, but the last few years she sounds happy, grounded and madly in love with her family so I’m genuinely happy for her.

  17. Kkat says:

    I will always love her and Sandra for Practical Magic