During the course of their marriage, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman filmed three movies together: Days of Thunder, Far and Away and Eyes Wide Shut. The latter is still frequently brought up more than 20 years later due both to it being a weird and fascinating movie and due to it having strong sexual content. Now, Nicole Kidman is speaking out about her feelings regarding filming nude scenes for the movie and why she actually felt “protected” and not exploited going nude.
If you’ve never seen Stanley Kubrick’s final film, Eyes Wide Shut follows a married couple that explores their own sexual boundaries after infiltrating a secret society and later finds themselves in the middle of a larger mystery. This includes a now-famous orgy scene with a secret voiceover cameo from Cate Blanchett. Now, as part of a recent profile with the NY Times, Nicole Kidman finally spoke out about how she and Stanley Kubrick came to an agreement as they decided on the tone and the necessity of nudity as part of her own scenes in the film.
He would show me the scenes with the nudity before they made it into the film. Then I could feel completely safe. I didn’t say no to any of it. I’d wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to be me standing there nude and everyone laughing at me. I was protected, so I got to explore a complicated marriage and the way in which Tom’s character is having those jealous images. I would never think of not wanting the storytelling to be told properly. Having them say, ‘Once you’re OK with it, great, that’s it’ - what a fantastic place to be in as a woman.
The actress also said she’s been in movies where she thought the final product would be one thing and it ended up being another, and that this way of doing things ensured she was totally comfortable and not surprised by anything that came along. She said that having a contract allows her to “feel safe” and be able to do sex scenes, which she indicates needs to be a part of a character sometimes. She just never wants to “be exploited.”
Stanley Kubrick died just a few days after showing Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise his final cut, but while the movie was being made, previous reports indicate he and his crew were watching softcore porn in order to figure out where the line should be with the movie's sex scenes. Eyes Wide Shut actually famously filmed more explicit scenes that didn’t make the final cut. These days it would probably be the type of film that required an intimacy coordinator. So, there would be every reason to believe Nicole Kidman might have been uncomfortable; given she wasn’t, it’s great she’s finally set the record straight.
We were happily married through that. We would go go-kart racing after those scenes. We’d rent out a place and go racing at 3 in the morning. I don’t know what else to say. Maybe I don’t have the ability to look back and dissect it. Or I’m not willing to.
Eyes Wide Shut is a complicated movie with a complicated trajectory. It has a place in history as Stanley Kubrick’s last and its notable for being a wild and intense psychological thriller with weird masks and sexual rituals. Yet, at the time of its release, despite featuring two shiny, then-married a-listers, it had a lukewarm reception. In the time since, it has acquired a more positive reception, however, with both critics and fans.
The good news is Nicole Kidman seemed to have a good time filming, both with her husband at the time, Tom Cruise, and even Stanley Kubrick, with whom she would watch animal videos for fun and collaborate on scenes for employment. It's a good example of a case where a movie may not have worked out exactly as an actor or actress expected, but Nicole Kidman still seems happy with the work.