Desert Island Kidman picks Van the Man and Elvis

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The Independent Online
THEY HAVE simulated making love on stage five times a night for six weeks. Now actress Nicole Kidman and her co-star, Iain Glen, are looking forward to spending Christmas together.

Sadly for the thousands of theatre-goers who were unable to get tickets for the acclaimed production of The Blue Room, the pair are not returning to the London stage for an extended season. They have become such good friends that they and their spouses, actors Tom Cruise and Susannah Harker, will celebrate the festive season in Britain.

Speaking on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, broadcast today, Ms Kidman says: "We have become incredibly close friends and it is a friendship that will last for a long time. My children now have English accents. I'd love to buy a house here."

Ms Kidman was asked whether it was difficult to perform the explicit sex scenes in The Blue Room with another man when her husband was sitting in the audience. She admitted that taking off her clothes in public for the first time was "terrifying", but the thought of Cruise watching every move did not bother her. "We are both [Kidman and Glen] married, and ... it was quite up-front," she says.

Ms Kidman also speaks of her love for her actor-husband and of their first meeting in 1989, after she moved to Hollywood from Australia. "I had seen all his films and always admired him. I thought he was funny and when I met him he was so warm. That was the thing that struck me the most. And he has this look in his eyes which makes you feel very relaxed," she says. "I met him when I went for an audition. He stood up and shook my hand, and I remember this electricity going through me." They were married the following year.

On the programme, Ms Kidman chooses Van Morrison's "Someone Like You", their wedding song, for her desert island selection. "We would go driving in the snow and he would do spins on the ice and one time we ended up in the forest. It was 2am and I happened to have Poetic Champions by Van Morrison. 'Someone Like You' came on and we both sat there and listened, with the snow falling."

The actor also chooses songs which remind her of her parents and growing up in her native Australia. With her red hair and pale skin she was never happy on the beach in her childhood, so she went to acting classes at the weekends. "I would get up on stage and it would just come. I had my first kiss on stage, which is very strange, but I got to kiss the boy who I had a huge crush on."

Ms Kidman's mother, a former nurse who now edits the psychology books of the actor's father, instilled a love of opera in her. To remember her mother, Ms Kidman chooses the aria "O Silver Moon" from the opera Resulka by Dvorak. "My mother has always been a big influence in my life and I remember she would play this to me when I was a teenage girl. It is about yearning and wanting something," she says.

Her mother was a feminist and took her to meetings. "I would be, 'get me out of here!'" Her father was an active member of the Australian Labor party. For him, she nominates "Hush Little Baby" by Elvis Presley. "We lived in quite a conservative neighbourhood and I would be dragged down for elections to give out pamphlets. I would hide my head."

She says that when a child she didn't want to be "different" but that she has now adopted all of the beliefs of her parents. Despite, or perhaps because of, the warmth and security of her home life, Ms Kidman felt the need to rebel. At the age of 17 she took herself off to Amsterdam and then lived in an attic in Paris. "I hope my daughter does the same thing. I want her to experience life," she says.

Ms Kidman speaks with pride of her adopted children and says that not having given birth herself has ceased to matter. "When I held Bella in my arms, that was everything. I look into those eyes and that crazy love happens - it's crazy love because you'll do anything when you have a child. It opens up a part of your heart you didn't even know was there."

She speaks of battling with a "dark side" of her character and in choosing a song for herself, she picks Janis Joplin singing "Summertime". "Janis ... was a woman who lived on the edge and she has a voice that depicts that. She died very early and it's very sad. Her voice is bittersweet and, as an actor, that is something you search for in characters."

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