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It's About Women's Choices 

An interview with Nicole Kidman

In her hilarious new dark comedy The Stepford Wives, Nicole Kidman plays a woman who has it all. She's the young boss of a TV network, has a great husband (Matthew Broderick) and two gorgeous kids. But suddenly her life unravels, she finds herself on the brink of a nervous breakdown and so she decides to move to the idyllic town of Stepford to make a fresh start. That's when strange things happen.

That career scenario at one time might sound similar to the life of 37-year-old Nicole Kidman movie star, although the beautiful Aussie star insists: "I don't see myself as terribly powerful or successful. I see myself more as just absolutely loving what I do."

Nicole, mother of two (Isabella Jane, 12, Conor 9) and ex-wife of Tom Cruise, says although it seems her own life was the ultimate perfection -- kids, mansions around the world, and a husband who was a Hollywood sex symbol -- it wasn't as it seemed.

"The thing is that happiness is not found through perfection, or even trying to achieve it," she says. "I'm nowhere near perfect and I'm not ever trying to be. Actually," she says, "the things I find most attractive in people are their flaws and their imperfections."

Life today for Kidman as a single working mother, is quite a happy one even though some people say since her split from Cruise she's become a workaholic, skipping around the globe from movie to movie.

But deep down inside, Kidman confesses, "I still haven't learned how to balance work and family. I suppose that what I'm implying is that at some stage I would love to have another child. I would love to settle into a relationship that's really important to me. So that's what I sort of see as my future. I don't see the two combining."

Life is complicated, Kidman admits: "So you sort of deal with the situation. I love to act and love to have an opportunity to play an army of women who are sort of fascinating and complicated."

Nicole, who won her Oscar last year for her role in The Hours, says she's constantly aware of living an apparent fantasy life which requires a delicate balance.

"That's a dream as an actress. But in terms of men in relation to that, I think that what you maybe don't have is a lot of time to give to someone else, which comes back to my thing of how you balance things . . . When you're passionate about what you do, how are you then passionate about someone in your life? I suppose that all works out in the end -- doesn't it?

"So in relation to power and success I never even think like that," she declares. "It's not something that I'm focusing on. It's more about just having the blessings at the moment to do some things creatively and to express things that I have going on inside my head."

In Stepford Wives she shares the screen with some of the most famous names in Hollywood, Bette Midler, Christopher Walken, Glenn Close, and Faith Hill in a movie that is in sharp contrast to the earlier Stepford Wives directed by British actor Bryan Forbes back in 1975.

Kidman says she had great fun playing the "she's got it all" young TV network boss Joanna Eberhart and kept asking the filmmakers to fine tune her character's personality. "I kept fighting for more extremes in her nature so that you want her to fall. She's someone who seems so out of control, power hungry and obsessed and completely imbalanced and therefore the desire to see her get their comeuppance in a way was appealing."

When Joanna moves to Stepford, Nicole says her character changes dramatically. It's what also attracted her to the role of Joanna "I liked the character and wondered "Am I like Joanna? The beginning woman?' No. I have a lot more insecurities."

While Nicole agrees that she's one of the hardest working actresses in Hollywood, she insists, "I also like to have fun. Domestically my thing is that I like cooking. That's the thing I'd like to become better at."

Cooking, she says, "actually relaxes me. I don't see it as work. I really enjoy being able to make things. Otherwise, forget it. I can't sew, I'm a very poor knitter although I can wrap Christmas presents really well."

Although she's a working Mum who gets a lot of help bringing up her kids, with traveling nannies and other help, Nicole says she has great respect for women who stay home to bring up kids. Her own mother was basically a stay at home woman, she notes: "Basically my Mum was at home for us most of our lives. I don't think I ever saw her in stilettos and her hair all done while baking a cake. Sure she would cook and she could sew like the best of them and she would make all of our clothes and everything. She was real and complicated and a wonderful role model for me and a wonderful woman. But she didn't have to appear or present herself in any particular way, which is what this movie is all about. It's all about presentation and not having a mind. This film is about the choice women have to do all those things."

Nicole recently finished Birth opposite Lauren Bacall and Paul Bettany and has begun filming The Interpreter with fellow Oscar winner Sean Penn. She is still hoping to star in the movie Bewitched, based on the hit TV series, a film she has spent several years trying to find time to shoot.

And she's returning to movie musicals, in an offbeat way. She's teaming up with Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane to play the sex bomb Ulla, in the big screen version of Mel Brooks' smash hit Broadway show The Producers.

She admits she was stunned when they offered her the part of the secretary with a thick Swedish accent.

"While we were shooting Stepford Matthew said, "Mel Brooks wants to call you -- would you be interested in our film?' I was like, "are you kidding. . .

It was lovely working with Matthew on Stepford. He really is just a sweetheart -- very talented, patient and generous to all of us."

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