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Aug 08 2011

10th Anniversary Redheads: Tilda & Nicole

August 8th,2001,ten years ago today,was a major day in the careers of two of our favorite screen redheads,Tilda SwintonandNicole Kidman.

The Deep End,a gripping thriller about a mother (Tilda Swinton) who becomes entangled in criminal acts upon discovering her teenager's dangerous gay liaison,was for many moviegoers Tilda's debut.It was certainly her first leading mainstream-ish role,following closely on the heels of a breakthrough as the villain of Danny Boyle'sThe Beach(2000).For those of us who had already been hypnotized by her face in Derek Jarman's films orOrlando(1993),it was still something of a revelation and an obvious career pivot point.The Deep Endproved that Swinton could carry a more mainstream narrative and that she could absorb awards season heat.Her performance won at least one minor critics awards and nabbed OFCS and Golden Globe nominations though Oscar would wait.Tilda would go on to continue her astonishing dual track career of headlining brilliant daring fare in arthouses whilst showing up in showy supporting roles in mainstream films which eventually led to that Oscar win forMichael Clayton.Didn'tThe Deep Endmake all of this possible...or least predict it?

Do you ever think aboutThe Deep Endthese days?

Today's other actressy anniversary is less a breakthrough than an emancipation.

Ten years ago today Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise finalized their divorce while Nicole's star was going supernova.Moulin Rouge!had become an unlikely hit earlier in the summer while the media continued to salivate over the Kidman/Cruise split.And the same week the  divorce was finalized Kidman opened her second box office hit of the summer,The Otherswhich eventually broke the magic $100 million barrier. Summer 2001 was unarguably The Summer of Nicole's Ascendance.

In the past decade,Kidman has proved her screen worth and her star mojo so emphatically and so often that the Mrs.Tom Cruise days seem like a barely remembered dream,don't they?Ancient history that was in actuality only ten years past.

Are new Kidman and Swinton films still events foryou?

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Reader Comments (27)

The Deep End is certainly my first introduction to Swinton.Never heard a thing about her until then.I need to see The Beach.I saw bits and pieces on television without a vested interest but your reveal that Tilda is the villian has me completely curious.


I know naturally Tom Cruise is the villian in The Nicole Kidman Story but he groomed her for the decade to folllow after their divorce.If it weren't for him would Kidman know the importance of choosing projects based on the director?His resume is just as impressive as hers with respect to international and domestic auteurs.

August 8,2011 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtfu11

I adore them both,but Nicole is tops for me!I'm already dying from anticipation forThe Paperboyand they've only just begun filming!

August 8,2011 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

I actually just watched The Deep End for the first time last February.I enjoyed it very much!

I've been looking forward to We Need to Talk about Kevin since Tilda has been connected to the project.I have no reason to doubt that she is going to give another award-worthy project.Hopefully she'll be recognized accordingly,unlike her last two major leads.

Does Nicole have any projects to look forward to?I must admit,I don't keep up with her as much.Just know the Nick Cage one that was posted here earlier.

August 8,2011 | Unregistered Commenterfbh

I just recently saw Orlando and was entranced!I need to move The Deep End up a bit in my queue apparently.

As for Nikki and Tom's divorce,I always laugh when I remember what she said in an interview about it at the time: "Well,at least I can wear heels now."Good thing for us her way of coping was to start doing the best work of her career.:)

August 8,2011 | Unregistered CommenterHolly French


"The Paperboy"
Directed by Lee Daniels (Precious)
Written by Pedro Almodovar
Starring Matthew McConaughey,Nicole Kidman,Zac Efron,David Oyelowo,and John Cusack

Directed by Chanwook Park (Oldboy)
Written by Wentworh Miller
Starring Mia Wasikowska,Matthew Goode,Nicole Kidman,and Jacki Weaver

August 8,2011 | Unregistered CommenterSS


"The Paperboy"
Directed by Lee Daniels (Precious)
Written by Pedro Almodovar
Starring Matthew McConaughey,Nicole Kidman,Zac Efron,David Oyelowo,and John Cusack

Directed by Chanwook Park (Oldboy)
Written by Wentworh Miller
Starring Mia Wasikowska,Matthew Goode,Nicole Kidman,and Jacki Weaver

August 8,2011 | Unregistered CommenterSS

fbh: right now she's shooting Lee Daniel's follow-up to Precious called "The Paperboy"and then she's shooting Park-chan wook's first English language film "Stoker".

August 8,2011 | Unregistered Commenterraymond

And don't forget her duet with Clive Owen,Hemingway & Gellhorn for HBO (aka Kidman's strike at Emmy love).

August 8,2011 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Nicole Kidman films are definitely events for me - she's my all-time favourite actor!Whilst I'm disappointed about this upcoming 'Trespass' film she's in with the god-awful Nicolas Cage & I can't say I'm TOO excited about that Hemingway & Gellhorn,the fact that she's following it up with The Paperboy & Stoker makes me very happy indeed - that,and seeing The Danish Girl still in pre-production means there's still hope for that potentially amazing film!!

August 8,2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike

A new Swinton film is something close to the ultimate event.(We all need to see and talk about Kevin post haste!)

A new Kidman film,not so much.

I kind of understood the Kidman hype,but never bought into it.Though she was excellent in The Others,I still argue she was miscast as Satine (it makes me very angry that she allegedly snatched that part from CZJ).She has also delivered some interesting performances since then,but it always seems to take significant shifting and moulding and coaxing from a top-level auteur for that to happen.

Another revered actress I often dislike - Cate Blanchett - has given a couple of stunning and several godawful performances in the past decade.But I'm never in doubt that she is in control of the material - directing her seems to be just a matter of dodging or constricting her worst impulses.

Where it comes to Kidman,directing seems to be writing and editing around her weak points and trying to build subtext into her stock face expressions.

She has fabulous taste in [non-commercial] scripts,so I can't quite dislike her.But I always wish Julianne Moore or Samantha Morton or Juliette Binoche or,well,Tilda Swinton got to tackle her roles.

August 9,2011 | Unregistered Commentergoran

Nicole and Tilda are my two favourite actresses at the moment and a new film is definitely an event.Or,at least,when it's not something like "Trespass"or "Constantine".

August 9,2011 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Kidman miscast as Satine?In favor of CZJ?Blasphemous!;)

But yeah,I love both of them so much.I think I would probably die if they ever did a project together.

August 9,2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoJo

I don't like all the Tom Cruise backlash.His personal life isn't supposed to make us think his movie career is a bad one,because it's not.Sometimes he can be a very strong actor.Name any major actor who has worked with Kubrick,Spielberg,Paul Thomas Anderson,Scorsese,Michael Mann,Brian de Palma,Neil Jordan...He has a better taste for directors than Meryl Streep...

August 9,2011 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

@cal roth: Ouch.I never thought about it quite like that but you are right.

@3rtfu11: You have a point,he certainly did groom her;on the other hand she had already worked with Philip Noyce (Dead Calm) and John Duigan (Vietnam,Flirting) before she arrived in the US.What Cruise gave her more than anything I think was access to top-shelf directors (actually getting cast by them,however,took a bit longer,didn't it?I'm sure that's a story in and of itself.)

I have not seen the Deep End yet,but then there's so much of Tilda's resume I still need to see.My introduction to her was in college in Jarman's Edward II,which I probably need to see again;I was overwhelmed more by the sometimes manic style and general stylizations although admittedly,it's extremely tame compared to what Baz cooked up ten years later.Not that one can compare the two exactly;I certainly wasn't prepared for it at the time.)

Kidman is still one of my favorite actors but even I am finally coming around to accepting the fact that her box office does not match her fame,and that as a "movie star"she is not well-loved (or even well-liked),certainly not in North America at any rate except in certain corners of the blogosphere such as this one.(I can't speak for her following internationally of course.) And there are times when some of her tics and habits tire me,such as whispery-ness of her voice of late,the doll-like delicacy which never existed in her early years.Then she takes that irritating feature and makes it essential to the perf and the character - Birth's Anna,for instance - and I admire her all over again.But there are times,Kidman,you do try me...

August 9,2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

Agreed kidman has become a bit irratating,one of our best actresses but i still maintain the surgery has gone too far and leaves her looking freakish and sometimes like in rabbit hole & australia totally unbelievable.

August 9,2011 | Unregistered CommenterMARK

coincidentally,I finally caught up wih I AM LOVE last night.few actresses could have fit into that films aesthetic like she did,but Tilda is really a true filmmaker's muse,someone who just looks so unique.no wonder everyone wants to work with her.I can't wait for WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN

also...Lee Daniels is working on a script by PEDRO ALMODOVAR?!?!?did he write it in English?why haven't I heard that.insane!

August 9,2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrian M

On the subject of Kidman's forehead - for weeks after I saw Rabbit Hole and I mentioned it in conversation,the first question I'd get asked was something along the lines of 'Did her forehead move at all?' (Nobody else wanted to to see the film and figure this out for themselves.) Now,this probably says more about the kind of circles I hang around than it does about Kidman.But it's worth noting that the kind of circles I hang around made up a core part of that film's target audience.

Incidentally,I did notice Kidman's forehead wrinkle up at least once during that film - if only very slightly.And I did like the film and her performance,though I was much more impressed by Dianne Wiest and especially Tammy Blanchard - an actress I never noticed before.What a warm,earthy presence this girl has,as well as a very natural way with dialogue,and just from the way she moves,you can tell so much about this person.It was such a nothing role,but she made that character seem very real to me.

August 9,2011 | Unregistered Commentergoran

Actually,when I think of these two in 2001,I inevitably think of the Film Experience.亚博主页I remember this seemed like your toughest call Nathaniel on who would get the Oscar nomination-between Swinton and Kidman for the fifth slot (because of vote-splitting).It's sort of weird now to think that her nomination as Satine was ever in doubt,as Tilda's film,while excellent,is a footnote compared to Moulin Rouge!.

August 9,2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

goran - agree about Tammy Blanchard;actually all of the "supporting"performances in that film were,for me,excellent ones;Wiest and Blanchard and Teller and Oh's perfs live on for me long after the lead perfs have sort of faded from memory.

August 9,2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

goran -- i'm not sure i'll ever understand the mainstream's obsession with Kidman's forehead.It's always been big and she's done no more botoxing than the bulk of actresses everyone watches.In fact,there's really only one movie she did where I felt like something was wrong with her facial movement and that was FUR...I felt her expressions seemed very limited there but it could have been just a misfire performance,relying on tics I'd seen before and a generally somnabulant mood.In THE GOLDEN COMPASS -- *EVERYONE* looked glossy and airbrushed not just her.it was the visual style of that movie

And in RABBIT HOLE she definitely let her age show and her forehead definitely moved so I don't get why people are sto stuck on this.

John T -- I KNOW.but it was a real fear.The reason this is so hard to imagine now is because Moulin Rouge!has only grown in stature but in reality THE OTHERS was a much bigger hit and at the time people were constantly arguing about whether she was better in it than in MR!I even had that argument with myself ;)

Cal -- it'll come back around again.Maybe.Cruise really had a well managed career for 20+ years.So I could see an artistic comeback coming and audiences,just like Oscar voters,love fall from graces and returns like "we still love you!"even though they were the same people throwing the tomatoes,you know?

August 9,2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Oh yes!Few days ago I was browsing through Netflix Instant and didn't what to watch and I was i the mood to watch movies with exceptional performance and I got the idea to type Tilda Swinton and that night I watched I Am Love and it was so goood.Next is Julia.

August 9,2011 | Unregistered CommenterMikhael

Boy,how do I say this,I really don't much like Nicole Kidman at all.Phew,I feel better.I remember liking her in Dead Calm and Flirting,but then came all those bad Tom Cruise movies and then The Hours left me completely baffled.

Tilda on the other hand I always find a welcome presence in a movie.She reminds me of Cate Blanchett and yes,even Meryl.She's got star quality,but she's also a chameleon and more than willing to disappear into a role.I wonder if I watched The Deep End today if I'd understand Tilda's homesexual panic.Hopefully times have changed at least a tiny bit?

August 9,2011 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

i enjoyed "the reckless moment"much better than "the deep end".

August 9,2011 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

Kidman's work (plastic surgery) isn't that noticable to me.Especially when I think of Lange who looks like the kat lady these days.Poor thing.She still believes she has it looks wise but he skin is bad and too pulled back.

August 9,2011 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtfu11

Dave in Alamitos Beach: If all you've watched of Kidman are her movies with Cruise (i.e.Days of Thunder and Far and Away) and The Hours (though I personally like her here),you haven't even begun to scratch the surface on her films.All of her best performances lie in other films you haven't mentioned and,I'm guessing,haven't seen.

And please don't compare Queen Tilda to Blanchett.Swinton doesn't deserve such a lame comparison.;)

August 9,2011 | Unregistered CommenterVintage

Aah,two of my faves.I love them both dearly for very different reasons but they're both definitely fearless when it comes to their performances.

goran - I think it would be pretty fun going through Kidman's filmography thus far and seeing what roles could've gone to either Moore,Morton,Binoche or Swinton.Those are some serious Actresses and those are some very meaty parts.I think Morton would've been great in Fur,easily one of Kidman's least successful,for example.

August 10,2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark

I'm almost a Tilda completist and sadly,I think of "The Deep End"all the time.It marks the end of an era for me--- it was what I watched on Sept 10,2011.

August 19,2011 | Unregistered CommentersethGassfan
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