September 22, 2010

Keith Urban & Nicole Kidman Updates 09/22/10

****Thanks to Google Alerts for this sweet update!*****

Keith Urban Helms Sunday’s First Recording Session

Between Hollywood and Nashville, so far Sunday Rose Kidman Urban seems to be leaning toward Nashville.

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman‘s daughter, who turned 2 in July, has been getting music lessons from Dad for a while. And now, she’s had her first impromptu recording session.

“She came down to the studio the other day, and I put little headphones on her, and she came to the mic and she did two songs,” the country star proudly told PEOPLE on Monday at the ACM Honors event in Nashville.

“She did ‘ABC’ and she did ‘Twinkle Twinkle,’ beginning to end. It was so cute to see the little headphones on her. It was cool.”

Urban has a new album, Get Closer, coming out in November. And his daughter’s influence is all over the record, he says, even if he doesn’t mention her by name.

“I haven’t written literally about Sunday,” he says, “but there’s a deeper purpose that’s come from my marriage and now from fatherhood. So, I’m drawing inspiration from that sense of purpose and a feeling of love that I’ve never had in my life before, and that has come from both my girls.”

Urban, 42, was honored at the event with the Jim Reeves International Award for being an ambassador of country music around the world.

– Eileen Finan

Clips From Keith's Acceptance Speech at The ACM Honors


Lee Ann Womack Hosts Star-Studded ACM Honors

On Monday night (September 20), several country hit makers, musicians and fans attended the Academy of Country Music's 4th Annual ACM Honors to recognize special awards recipients and off-camera winners from this year's ACM Awards. The sold-out bash, held at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium, was hosted by Lee Ann Womack,

The event kicked off with Luke Bryan presenting Industry awards to specific performance venues, talent buyers and promoters. "At some point, everybody I'm announcing, I have played in their bar or they've written a check to me," Luke tells The Boot. "So, it's nice to see them get recognized for their hard work."

Lee Ann's producer-husband Frank Liddell presented honors to the musicians, Audio Engineer and Producer of the Year recipients, which included guitarist Brent Mason, fiddler Stuart Duncan, steel player Paul Franklin, keyboardist Michael Rojas, multi-instrumentalist Randy Scruggs, bassist Michael Rhodes, drummer Shannon Forrest, producer Dann Huff and engineer Justin Niebank. Afterward, the group of session players and live musicians performed a scorching rendition of Earl Scruggs' 'Passin' Thru.'

As Kix Brooks presented the Jim Reeves International Award to Keith Urban, he recalled seeing the guitar slinger at a Music City dive bar. During the ceremony, Kix said, "He's a rock star, but he is heart-and-soul country music." Prior to the show, Keith told The Boot, "It's a bit surreal, and it's a huge honor. I know for me, growing up in Australia, I listened to country music and my dad's record collection was all country. Johnny Cash was the first concert I saw when I was about five, and then I saw Tom T. Hall after that. Since then, in Australia, I've seen Charley Pride and Dolly Parton, and there's been so many other artists. It seems that in the last decade, it slowed down; people weren't touring internationally as much through the '90s. I'm really happy to see that come back again. I mean, Tim McGraw's in Australia right now. Brooks & Dunn have been down there a couple of times as well as Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley. Alan Jackson's looking to go next year for the first time. And of course, internationally, Taylor Swift's touring everywhere that has an outlet. It's just great. It's absolutely great."

During Keith's segment, a video presentation included a taped message from pal Brad Paisley, who told the crowd he was proud of Keith's contribution in taking country music to the masses, ended with "Let's get together and pick!"

For more on the night, click link above.

Could Keith Urban Be Going Down Under with Oprah?

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By Becca

Keith Urban was honored with the Jim Reeves International Award at last night’s ACM Honors in Nashville. Keith reflected on the red carpet about all the country artists who came to Australia when he was growing up that he was able to see in concert, including Johnny Cash, Charlie Pride and Dolly Parton. He’s happy to see a resurgence in artists who are visiting his home country, including Tim McGraw who is there now, Brooks & Dunn, Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert who have been there previously, and Alan Jackson who is planning his first tour down under next year. As for the thought that he might be influencing young, aspiring artists all over the world today like Glen Campbell, Don Williams and others inspired to him when he was growing up, Keith views it as an awesome responsibility. Sometimes he obsesses over the details when he’s making music but he told us, “It does matter to me and I think if it’s done right, like it was when I was growing up, it can have the same influence and the same inspiration, because for me it’s not about impressing, it’s about inspiring. And if we take that responsibility like I certainly do, and have fun with it but remember it’s a responsibility, then we end up at a place like this tonight (at the Ryman being honored with the Jim Reeves International Award).”

Keith obviously has a lot of pride and a lot of love for Australia, so we asked him how he felt about Oprah surprising her entire audience with a trip to Australia on the season premiere of her show last week. “It’s beautiful, and it’s a great time to be down there, so, go Oprah!” he said. He also alluded to the fact that he could be involved in the Oprah trip. “Everybody’s gonna have a great time, and hopefully, we may end up down there,” he said with a grin. “That would be great if we could.”


Nicole Kidman Returns to Form in Rabbit Hole

by Melissa Silverstein on September 21, 2010

Lionsgate picked up Rabbit Hole produced and starring Nicole Kidman at the Toronto Film Festival. It is directly by John Cameron Mitchell and co-stars Aaron Eckhart and Dianne Wiest.

It will be released this year and puts Kidman right smack into the Oscar race.

Very excited.


Loss powered "Rabbit Hole"

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Director John Cameron Mitchell talks about his own familial tragedy fuelled his approach to his latest film

"Rabbit Hole," starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart as parents grieving the accidental death of their four-year-old son, is the last thing you'd expect John Cameron Mitchell to direct. He's better known for boundary-pushing stuff like "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," a musical he directed and starred in as a transgendered rock star, or "Shortbus," a sweet-natured, mainstream porn film he put together in 2006.

"Rabbit Hole," however, is as chaste and un-flamboyant as they come. So Mitchell, who accompanied Kidman and Eckhart to the film's premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, says he had to earn the job of directing it based on his personal connection to the story, as well as his actor-friendly approach.

"My agent showed me the script and suggested they needed [a director]," Mitchell reveals in a backstage interview at the festival. "And I just loved it. I had experienced loss in my own family and it brought everything up in a great way. It felt very healing."

His first task was to convince Kidman, who'd bought the rights to the stage play and was producing the adaptation, that she should hire him. She'd already tried Sam Raimi, but he dropped out to work on the next "Spider-Man" movie.

"I had a conversation with Nicole on the phone. We couldn't meet up. It was a little weird," Mitchell admits. "I was mostly talking, she was listening and she went on instinct. I was saying all the right things. Mostly it was my emotion about it and passion for it."

He told her what had happened in his own life that helped him relate to Kidman's character, who finds herself unable to be comforted by religion or group therapy after her son's death.

"When I was fourteen I had a little brother who was four who passed away from a heart problem unexpectedly," Michell says. "And our whole family, we didn't know exactly what grieving [was]. We didn't know what to do. This was the '70s - [we were a] military, very Catholic family. So there's no therapists, there's no talking about your feelings. You get on with it. You pray to Him as an angel or a saint up there looking down and you try to figure out what lesson or what God..." His voice trails off. "I couldn't figure it out."

He recalls the exact moment he lost his faith. "I just remember praying for [my brother] to live and being alone in my room and my mom coming upstairs and saying that he was in heaven. And I was like, 'No. There's no heaven.'"

Mitchell then pitched Kidman on how he intended to shoot the film. "I really wanted the directing style to be completely invisible," he says. "Whatever technical thing I could do to make it easier on the actors, I would. Another director might exhaust an actor because [they] need this fancy angle or whatever. That wasn't this film at all. There was nothing showy about it. It was just meat and potatoes, performance, good story, simple."

He took this approach because he believes "Rabbit Hole" is "the kind of film that Hollywood made all the time in the late '70s, early '80s - 'Kramer vs. Kramer,' 'Shoot the Moon,' 'Ordinary People' - which were very mass market films but [also] very quiet."

Mitchell did his best to keep the set quiet, too, for Kidman's sake. "I was learning when not to say anything because she's a very self-correcting actor," he notes. "She knows when the last take wasn't working. So I often would say, 'Do you need me?' Which was a good way to put it 'cause you can interfere with someone's meditative state."

He got very protective of Kidman while making the film. "She had a baby and was kind of exhausted. We had to be careful not to tire her out," he says.

Then there was the matter of who else was watching her performance. "The paparazzi were weird," Mitchell says. "Sometimes they want to catch her looking bad 'cause she's done a crying scene outside. They're really mean. I don't envy that kind of notoriety."

The other actors each required different things from Mitchell. He says Eckhart's approach was "more instinctual. He's always like, 'Oh, I suck!' [So I had to get] him out of that with jokes. We had a really good joking relationship, whereas Nicole prefers to keep things quiet and concentrated. Aaron often wouldn't mind some schtick right before an emotional scene."

Dianne Wiest, who plays Kidman's mother, preferred direction that was "very subtle that she could interpret, rather than [something] specific."

And as the group therapy veteran with whom Eckhart's character gets stoned, Sandra Oh "had her own thing," Mitchell says. "She was very casual and fun and cuddly."

Speaking of getting stoned, those lighter scenes were a welcome and necessary break from all the grieving going on. "With this heavy material, I was very conscious of wringing every possible laugh out of it," Mitchell says. "A bit of gallows humour [is] what people in those circumstances need. For me, when I've experienced loss, you gotta feel it but then you gotta laugh. You gotta have relief from that."


During the Rabbit Hole TIFF press conference Nicole cited Stanley Kubrick as one of her early film influences. The website ReelRave spotlights that part of the discussion. Click on the link to hear audio from Nicole. She's pictured below, on set with the director, filming the final scene of Eyes Wide Shut.


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In the upcoming drama RABBIT HOLE, a horrible tragedy forever changes the lives of a married couple. Based on the play by DAVID LINDSAY-ABAIRE, the film was the brainchild of NICOLE KIDMAN, who acquired the rights as a starring vehicle for herself. She and AARON ECKHART play parents who turn to strangers for solace after their son is killed by a car. Directed by JOHN CAMERON MITCHELL, the cast also includes DIANE WEIST, SANDRA OH, JON TENNEY, GIANCARLO ESPOSITO and promising newcomer MILES TELLER. A true tragedy by the very nature of the plot, the film also contains a surprising amount of humor and proves to be a good fit for KIDMAN. At the Toronto press conference for the film, KIDMAN fielded questions about the film and talked about an early influence in her career: friend and collaborator STANLEY KUBRICK.


Nicole's current choice of denim, J Brand, has made fashion blogs take notice.

Nicole Kidman in J Brand

Nicole Kidman promotes her latest film, The Rabbit Hole, at The Toronto Film Festival. Nicole was busy promoting the film with her co-star, Aaron Eckhart. Apparently the film has been acclaimed by critics and received a standing ovation. One critic stated Nicole’s, “Performance recalls her great work in To Die For, a movie that her fans still cite as a cult favorite.”

Nicole looked chic in an all blue ensemble. She paired her blue shirt and tweed blazer with a dark wash pair of J Brand jeans. This outfit really brings out the blue in her eyes, they look amazing! Nicole has worn J Brand jeans before. Buy J Brand at Singer22 and Boutique To You.


We brought to you previously an article on Lucy Punch and her gratitude for Nicole dropping out of Woody Allen's You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger. Here in a new peice on the cast, is more behind the story!

‘You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger’ Cast Interviews

Whenever Woody Allen directs a new movie it always seems to be a hot commodity among actors. Everyone wants to work with this enigmatic director. Gemma Jones – soft spoken and reserved – was in disbelief that she got the opportunity. “I never imagined such a thing would be possible. I certainly hadn’t anticipated it in any way.” Jones screen tested for Allen and then read two scenes with the casting director before hearing that she got the role. “I was just thrilled when I read it – such a lovely part.”

Lucy Punch had a similar experience. “I went on tape. [Woody Allen] didn’t know who I was,” she says. Allen liked her audition and Punch was ready to fly out to meet him and then she found out that the part had been given away. “I was completely devastated,” she confesses, but the she found out it was given to Nicole Kidman and she was more understanding. “But she dropped out,” Punch explains, “And I did end up doing a number of scenes from the script in the end to get the part…. [It feels] insane [to replace Nicole Kidman] and a bit intimidating. If I ever meet her I’ll have to present her with a bouquet or something.”


And to close, it seems every year there are more and more "best of" lists with more and more niche categories. To that end, Nicole has landed the top stop in, drumroll please, the Top 7 Cutest Feminists! Our question....If you're going to gather a list, why only 7?!

1. Nicole Kidman

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The Academy Award-winning actress and heralded survivor of the Tom Cruise marriage experience is not only a two-time cover model for Ladies Home Journal, but also a Goodwill Ambassador on the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

The “Days of Thunder” – yes, she was in that, star has spent years helping raise awareness for women’s rights throughout the world, including a recent crusade in Haiti to discuss the post-earthquake sexual exploitation ravaging the still-recovering nation.


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