Nicole Kidman declared herself to be in ‘Punk Goddess’ mode.
The actress was on the set of John Cameron Mitchell’s film, based on Neil Gaiman’s illustrated novel How To Talk To Girls At Parties. It’s about a group of punk lads who meet up with some punk girls . . . from a galaxy far, far away.
Nicole plays Queen Boadicea: a sometime designer and music world fixer who, once upon a time, was an anointer of hot talent.
‘I think she’s kind of crazy,’ Nicole told me. ‘She’s a diva, punk, female Malcolm McLaren/Vivienne Westwood. Boadicea would have been the punk goddess in the Seventies!’
Punk Goddess: Nicole plays Queen Boadicea in How To Talk To Girls At Parties- a sometime designer and music world fixer who, once upon a time, was an anointer of hot talent
She told me the fictional background she imagined for her character involved her working for Westwood for a time. ‘But Vivienne fired me,’ she giggled. ‘I would have fired me, too!’
The film’s about a young man (Alex Sharp, who won the best actor Tony on Broadway for the National Theatre’s The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time) who, with friends, becomes involved in the punk scene and meets a woman (Elle Fanning) who’s not what she seems.
Nicole was amused that the film’s supposed to be set in Croydon, although most of her filming has been in the East End of London. ‘I think the boys are supposed to be from Croydon,’ she said.
She was never into punk. ‘I went to clubs in Australia, but they weren’t really punk clubs. Pure punk was over in six months to a year. The rest was exploitation.’
She took the Boadicea role when her friend, the writer and director John Cameron Mitchell, used the ‘crazy, diva, punk, female Malcolm McLaren/Vivienne Westwood’ line on her.
‘I said: Me? You think of me? But he’s such a gentle soul I couldn’t say no.’ (The pair worked together on the film Rabbit Hole.)
‘I think she’s kind of crazy,’ Nicole told me. ‘She’s a diva, punk, female Malcolm McLaren/Vivienne Westwood. Boadicea would have been the punk goddess in the Seventies’
So she listened to some punk; and watched documentaries. She even does some slam-dancing in the picture.
On the day I visited the set, back in late 2015, Nicole was wearing a spiky white wig which had been carefully coiffured by hair and make-up designer Sian Grigg.
Around her neck was a ruff created for her by Oscar-winning costumier Sandy Powell — with matching cuffs.
Powell said the zippered, Elizabethan-inspired neck and wristwear were an homage to some of the work she did with director Derek Jarman in the Seventies. She was particularly influenced by Jenny Runacre’s Elizabeth I, in Jarman’s Jubilee.
Nicole told me she enjoyed working with Fanning. ‘So much of our job, once we get older, is to support, protect and pass it on. I love working with young people.’
How To Talk To Girls At Parties has an edgy charm about it — although it’s totally bonkers. It’s having an official screening at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday — one of four projects Nicole has at the Festival.
The others are The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, the second series of Top Of The Lake (made by Jane Campion), and Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled.
Watch out for…
Stephen Graham, so good in the ITV drama Little Boy Blue. He will play a cameo in Idris Elba’s film of Victor Headley’s cult book Yardie, and also has a part in Shane Meadows’ new film, which is set in Ireland.
Phil Daniels, who will play the title characters in David Edgar’s stage adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde. The director is Stephen Unwin, and the play opens at the Rose in Kingston, Surrey, on February 7, where it will run through to February 17 and then tour.
John Boyega, bone-chillingly superb in Jack Thorn’s new version of Georg Buchner’s play Woyzeck at the Old Vic, about a soldier whose years of emotional abuse as a youngster turn him into a ticking time-bomb. Great that he’s back on stage before shooting another Star Wars next year.
John Boyega, bone-chillingly superb in Jack Thorn’s new version of Georg Buchner’s play Woyzeck at the Old Vic, about a soldier whose years of emotional abuse as a youngster turn him into a time-bomb. Great that he’s back on stage before shooting a new Star Wars next year