Hollywood star Nicole Kidman is reportedly planning a return to the London stage. If all goes to plan, she will soon be appearing in a new production of Henrik Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea at the National Theatre, directed by National Theatre artistic director Trevor Nunn.
Rumors in the spring suggested that Kidman would instead be revisiting the Donmar Warehouse, along with husband, Tom Cruise, to star in a revival of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The production was to be directed by Sam Mendes, whose Oscar-laden film debut American Beauty, has made him a hot property on both sides of the Atlantic. But such speculation was never substantiated.
According to current reports, the Australian actress is prepared to accept the offer of The Lady from the Sea, dependent on the cancellation of a threatened Screen Actors Guild strike in Hollywood which, if it goes ahead, could require her to commit more quickly than planned to film engagements.
Kidman is lined up to play the part of Ellida Wangel, the repressed wife of a country doctor, in Ibsen's 1888 drama. When Ellida's true love, a sailor, comes home after ten years' at sea and fleeing a murder charge, he sets about reclaiming her tormented heart.
Kidman is credited with pioneering the current trend of Hollywood actresses gaining credibility by starring and stripping off in the West End. When she made her scantily clad London debut in Sam Mendes' 1998 production of David Hare's The Blue Room at the Donmar Warehouse, she caused a sensation, prompting one reviewer to famously declare her performance "theatrical Viagra." She went on to reprise the role, opposite British actor Iain Glen, on Broadway. But Kidman is unlikely to repeat her, admittedly brief, striptease for The Lady from the Sea, in which high collars and prim dresses are very much the order of the day. Though Kidman began her career on stage in her native Australia, she is best known for her film credits including "Eyes Wide Shut," "Portrait of a Lady," "To Die For" (which won a Golden Globe Award and BAFTA nomination), "Dead Calm" and "Flirting."