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How do you grab a good film role? Nicole’s nose knows

Knight Ridder Newspapers

You’d think that after making numerous hit movies and winning an Academy Award, Nicole Kidman could have her choice of roles. But no.

The statuesque Aussie actress says her nose and the way it moved determined whether she’d be cast as the lead in Hollywood’s latest TV-to-movie adaptation, “Bewitched.”

Shocked at the suggestion that she didn’t actually move her nose in the requisite manner, she said with a laugh: “No, I really do it! I should have been fired if I couldn’t do that.”

In director-writer Nora Ephron‘s film treatment, the setting is a TV remake of the classic 1960s series.

Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell), a downtrodden movie actor, resorts to taking the role of Darrin Stephens on the condition that he is able to choose his Samantha. So he embarks on a quest to find the woman with the perfect nose twitch to match original sitcom star Elizabeth Montgomery‘s.

He finds Isabel Bigelow’s (Kidman) perfect proboscis in a bookstore and gets her hired. What he doesn’t realize is that she actually is a witch.

“The way Nora wrote the script, she incorporated quite cleverly the series, with them being able to create new characters for us rather than trying to mimic Darrin and Samantha,” Kidman says.

With Ferrell laying claim to the title of Hollywood’s reigning cinematic clown prince, you’d think that there might be some weirdness with him playing a romantic lead. Not true, says Kidman.

“There was something about his eyes that made you just want to be around him,” she says. “I kept saying to Nora, ‘This doesn’t feel like I’m working; it feels way too easy.’ “

Kidman, with a busy career and motherhood, wouldn’t mind having a few magical powers to help her along in life. What would she do with them?

“Now?” she asks. “I think it would be that you were able to be aware of everything your children were up to.”

Kidman has two children whom she adopted with Tom Cruise during their marriage, and confesses that she’s more than a bit tired.

She’s come a long way since American audiences first got a look at her in the thriller “Dead Calm,” which co-starred Sam Neill. Her roles have grown in stature and acclaim in such films as “Moulin Rouge,” “The Others” and “The Hours,” for which she won a best actress Oscar.

“Bewitched” co-star Shirley MacLaine says acting is a necessity for Kidman. Kidman agrees.

“At this particular stage in my life, I have to,” she says. “I think that, and I’ve said it before, my ability to balance things is not good.

“So I either work or I don’t work, and there’s nothing in between. So at this particular time, it’s like my films are my love affairs in a way. I have the experience of being able to get all of these emotions into my characters, and I think when that void gets filled in your life, then you’re not as interested.

“(That’s) why when I was married (acting) wasn’t as interesting to me. … I dabbled.”

The birthday bunch

Singer Chris Isaak is 49. Actor Sean Hayes is 35. Actor Chris O’Donnell is 35. Country singer Gretchen Wilson is 31. Actor Jason Schwartzman is 25.

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