Nicole Kidman was feeling ‘very sore’ after learning the steps for her big number in movie musical The Prom.
‘I bow down at the feet of dancers,’ said the Oscar-winning star, after mastering the Fosse-esque moves for the Ryan Murphy-directed movie, which is heading to Netflix on December 11.
She plays Angie Dickinson, a showgirl with ‘crazy antelope legs’, who has been on the chorus-line of musical Chicago for 20 years, dreaming of one day progressing to the top of the bill, and getting to play Roxie Hart.
Nicole Kidman was feeling ‘very sore’ after learning the steps for her big number in movie musical The Prom
Kidman plays one part of a quartet of narcissistic Broadway performers — along with Meryl Streep, James Corden and Andrew Ranells — who turn to activism in a bid to revive their careers. But first they have to find themselves a cause.
‘A gay girl in Indiana wants to go to the high school prom and take her girlfriend,’ Kidman said. ‘She’s told no. It’s a deep, political thing.’
True, but here it’s also wrapped in an enormous bundle of fun.
The tale was inspired by a series of real-life incidents in the U.S., in which gay kids were barred from taking their partners to end-of-high-school celebrations.
A theatre musical version opened in New York in November 2018, but closed ten months later.
Luckily, what was treacly and cringe-making on Broadway (at least when I caught it) works far better on screen, in the hands of its sublime leading artists, and Murphy’s ‘let’s put on a show’ sensibility.
Casey Nicholaw, who directed and choreographed The Prom in NYC, has choreographed the picture, too; and his work adds to the film’s zestful spirit.
Kidman plays one part of a quartet of narcissistic Broadway performers — along with Meryl Streep, James Corden and Andrew Ranells — who turn to activism in a bid to revive their careers
As Kidman noted, there’s something intoxicating about watching Streep and Corden ‘singing, dancing and having some laughs’.
And there are plenty of laughs, because the comic timing is genius. The self-centred, self-proclaimed ‘liberals from Broadway’ who roll into town on a bus to try to assist 17-year-old Emma (Jo Ellen Pellman, making her big-screen debut) in her fight for her right to choose her date, are a hoot.
Streep’s Dee Dee Allen and Corden’s Barry Glickman are fresh from a Broadway flop about Eleanor Roosevelt (their publicist reassures them it’s not Eleanor: The Musical that’s the problem; ‘you’re just not likeable’).
In Indiana, Dee Dee dines with high-school principal Mr Hawkins (Keegan-Michael Key). She flutters her eyelashes, gulps and says nervously: ‘I never said this before, to anyone . . . Tell me about you.’
Kidman, meanwhile, ramps up the razzmatazz. Dressed in a tuxedo that displays those ‘antelope’ legs to good effect, she goes into jazz hands mode with a number called Zazz to show Emma that glamour and glitz can give you all the confidence you need.
‘I bow down at the feet of dancers,’ said the Oscar-winning star, after mastering the Fosse-esque moves for the Ryan Murphy-directed movie, which is heading to Netflix on December 11
Kidman has danced before — in Moulin Rouge, Nine and The Producers — ‘but Fosse-style choreography is exacting,’ she said. ‘The hips, the legs, the knees and hands have to be just right.’
She was thrilled to be reunited with Streep (the pair worked together on Big Little Lies). ‘We had some laughs,’ she said, with an air of mischief. Did they behave badly? ‘Always!’ she shot back.
But why, then, does Charlize Theron, who starred with her in Bombshell, call her a ‘goody-two-shoes’? ‘It’s because I don’t swear!’ she said. ‘I grew up with a father who never swore. It just didn’t become part of my vocabulary.
‘But I’m not a prude! Charlize swears like a sailor, to tease me. Hey, I can swear when I have to, as a character.’
Indeed, she has uttered a few expletives in the gripping television thriller The Undoing, which has been riveting audiences. The fourth episode of the murder-mystery will be on Sky Atlantic and NowTV on Monday.
I’ve seen five of the six instalments and can’t wait to find out whodunnit. Alas, Kidman’s lips are sealed on who dispatched the mistress of her on-screen doctor husband, played by Hugh Grant.
But she did reveal that she loved working with director Susanne Bier (who also made the award-winning The Night Manager). ‘I said to Susanne: ‘I’ll go anywhere with you!’ I’d love to work with her again.’
For now, though, she has just arrived in Ireland to work with director Robert Eggers on his Viking revenge film The Northman, alongside Anya Taylor-Joy (also star of a hit TV show, Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit), Alexander Skarsgard, Willem Dafoe and Ethan Hawke.
‘I think it’s going to be a tough one,’ Kidman said of the shoot. ‘I’m up for it, though. I don’t like playing it safe.’
Expect blood and gore — but probably no jazz hands.
The self-centred, self-proclaimed ‘liberals from Broadway’ who roll into town on a bus to try to assist 17-year-old Emma (Jo Ellen Pellman, making her big-screen debut) in her fight for her right to choose her date, are a hoot