Twenty-five hundred people packed the ICC’s Darling Harbour Theatre this Thursday to hear Australian actor, icon and AMC spokesperson Nicole Kidman talk about what makes her producer brain tick.
Moderated by Peter Overton, Kidman and production partner Per Saari discussed forming their company Blossom Films, why they pick the screen projects they do (e.g. Big Little Lies, Nine Perfect Strangers), and what’s next.
Overton, who was quite literally Nicole Kidman’s neighbour as a child, recalled being cast in plays that Kidman would put on in her backyard, joking that ‘this was the formation of Blossom Films’ all those decades ago.
Near the conclusion of the panel, it was revealed that Kidman had picked another Liane Moriarty book to adapt into a prestige series. The Last Anniversary, which was Moriarty’s second book, revolves around a character called Sophie, who inherits a house on an island shrouded by mystery. She moves there and is soon swept along in the drama of everyone who lives on the island.
It will begin filming very soon, they said, and it will be ‘an Australian project with Australian accents.’ They could not reveal if any casting had been secured yet.
Kidman says she particularly loves to shoot projects in Australia because ‘Australia has extraordinary crews. She also added that the Australian crew she’s worked with are ‘bloody hard workers with good senses of humour’.
Saari and Kidman also discussed what makes a series successful. According to Kidman, there’s no secret formula to a great production, but if you can roll with the punches and believe in your idea, it will all come together in the end.
‘Forget the algorithm and what looks successful right now ‘, said Kidman. ‘Everything moves and you have to actively shape the algorithm, not be a slave to it’.
‘Trying to determine a project’s success before it’s put out there is impossible,’ added Saari. ‘You have to put it out there and let the project itself be the stress test’
‘The risk is what’s exciting,’ said Kidman.
Kidman said she will continue to adapt Moriarty’s books because she is drawn to their complexity – and it helps that Moriarty is ‘a great friend’ of hers, too.
They were not able to discuss any other past or present projects due to the SAG-AFTRA strike in the states.
The panel concluded with a few more anecdotes, including a humble admission from Kidman that she had ‘peed in the bush’ while on set to ensure they didn’t waste time. ‘We were losing light!’ she said. ‘You gotta do what you gotta do to get the shot.’
SXSW Sydney concludes on Sunday 22 October. For more information head to the SXSW Sydney website.