Nicole Kidman Cannes queen steers career 'like I'm 21'

The Hollywood A-lister is the queen of Cannes this year with four different projects at the world's top cinema showcase.

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Australian actress Nicole Kidman arrives at a press conference in Cannes after the premiere of her shocking new horror film 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer' play

Australian actress Nicole Kidman arrives at a press conference in Cannes after the premiere of her shocking new horror film 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer'

(AFP)
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Nicole Kidman said Monday that she still tackles roles like a 21-year-old after the premiere of her shocking new horror movie at the Cannes film festival.

The Hollywood A-lister is the queen of Cannes this year with four different projects at the world's top cinema showcase, including "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" where she plays a suburban mum who has to choose one of her children to sacrifice.

"I don't have to work but I do because it is still my passion, the way in which I express myself," the 49-year-old Oscar winner told reporters after the premiere of the creepy thriller.

"At this stage of my life I'm just trying to stay very bold and open and try things and support filmmakers that I believe in... I'm at that place in my life where I still try to act as though I'm 21 and starting my career."

Kidman and Irish actor Colin Farrell play a couple of married doctors in "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, who wowed Cannes two years ago with the dystopian love story "The Lobster".

The new picture takes that movie's laconic tone and twists into something much darker, after Farrell's heart surgeon character operates on a man while he is drunk and kills him.

Years later, the dead man's teenage son plots revenge, telling the surgeon he must choose a member of his family to kill or they will all suffer an excruciating death.

'Up for taking risks'

Despite the bone-chilling story inspired by the ancient Greek myth of Iphigenia, the movie also drew big laughs at a packed press screening with pitch-black humour.

Kidman admitted the film was disturbing, after a few dozen queasy critics walked out of the screening when the blood began to flow. It drew a mix of boos and applause as the curtain fell but strong reviews from leading critics.

"I have a certain moral compass which I abide by in terms of what I feel I will and won't do as a human being. But when I choose a director to work with, obviously that's a risk and I'm totally up for taking risks," the actress said.

"When I watched the film I called (Lanthimos) afterwards and said I have not seen anything like it -- I felt hypnotised by it," Kidman added, a mother of four, before adding: "My children will not be seeing this."

'Ready to jump in'

Lanthimos admitted he was "lucky" to be able to cast major stars who were "ready to jump in and make this kind of film".

Kidman, a photographers' favourite on the red carpet, is also starring as a punk matriarch at Cannes in the sci-fi romp "How to Talk to Girls at Parties", with a fright-wig look that is in equal parts Siouxsie Sioux and Cruella de Vil and a broad South London accent.

Still to come this week is her turn as a pent-up governess of a US Civil War-era girls school in Sofia Coppola's highly touted remake of "The Beguiled".

And Kidman will attend a special screening of her friend Jane Campion's second season of "Top of the Lake" in which she is almost unrecognisable as a foil to Elisabeth Moss's small-town detective.

Like many sought-after actors and directors, Kidman has been drawn by top-drawer television series, including her recent hit "Big Little Lies". But she said she had no plans to abandon the big screen.

"I'm a huge fan of cinema and being in a dark room watching a film and being transported. I love that and I will always love that," Kidman said.

The Cannes film festival runs until Sunday.

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