Nicole Kidman was nominated for an Oscar. She has also worked with film greats Jane Campion, Stanley Kubrick and others. Sunday Rose, her budding filmmaker son, is not impressed.

The teenager, known as Sunny to family and friends, makes amateur films on her iPad and, according to her mother, is ‘chomping at the bit to go to film school . . . but at 13 and a half, she’s too young’.

And despite having an award-winning Hollywood star under the same roof, the last person she wants to cast in her pictures ‘is her mum’, Nicole told me.

‘I’m like: “Do you want me?!” And she says: “No!”’ she added, laughing down the line from her farm in Sutton Forest, 90 minutes south-west of Sydney, where she has been spending time with musician husband Keith Urban, Sunny and sister Faith.

‘She may change her mind,’ she added; but given that her daughter’s been a film nut since she was eight, she doubts it.

‘The great thing about her age group is that they can make films on their iPads and iPhones. They learn to edit, lay in sound,’ the 54-year-old marvelled.

Nicole Kidman pictured at the Being the Ricardos film premiere in New York last month. She plays Lucille Ball in the film

Nicole Kidman photographed at the Being the Ricardos Film Premiere in New York. She plays Lucille Ball in the film

Jane Campion was 26 years old when she directed Kidman in The Portrait Of A Lady. Sunny has been mentored by her father, and Sunny is now able to see how art schools can help with visual framing.

‘As Keith says: “You’ve got to learn rhythm guitar before you learn electric”,’ Nicole said.

We’d been chatting about how teenage girls are discovering, and relating to, the comedic and business know-how of Lucille Ball, the legendary funny lady Kidman portrays in Being The Ricardos. 

Aaron Sorkin’s delicious drama, which is streaming now on Amazon Prime, is set behind the scenes of Ball’s signature TV hit I Love Lucy, which she made with her first husband Desi Arnaz.

‘I thought women in their 20s might be enthralled,’ Kidman said, ‘but I didn’t think younger girls would be.’

She believes Ball’s renewed popularity is down to the fact that ‘she’s such a cool woman, and a cool woman is timeless’.

Lucille’s gift for physical comedy was just what the nascent television industry of the late 1950s and early 1960s needed — and what she needed, too, lifting her from barrel-scraping B films to become a national treasure.

Kidman noted that Ball showed a ‘talent to withstand so many failures, and to turn lemons into lemonade, to quote Beyoncé!’.

Alia Shawkat as Madelyn Pugh, from left, Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball and Nina Arianda as Vivian Vance in a scene from Being the Ricardos

Alia Shawkat portrays Madelyn Pug, Nicole Kidman plays Lucille Ball, and Nina Arianda plays Vivian Vance, in a scene taken from Being the Ricardos

Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball, left, and Javier Bardem as Desi Arnaz in a scene from the film

Nicole Kidman plays Lucille Ball (left) and Javier Bardem portrays Desi Arnaz (right).

Mastering Sorkin’s rapid-fire dialogue required weeks of work, too. Her experience as Rosalind Franklin the pioneering scientist in Photograph 51 was a great help. 

If she could ‘absorb all that scientific data’, she could do the same with Sorkin’s whip-smart script. ‘He likes writing a lot of words!’ she commented. 

Kidman has been contemplating returning to the stage in 2023 in a version of a Greek tragedy. ‘It’s in my future,’ she said, though she refused to name the play.

She recently participated in one the eight 30-minute dramas in an anthology series called Roar, which will air later this year on AppleTV+. Judy Davis is an Australian fellow who plays a role as a mother-daughter in this tale of magical realist.

The actor had a very real working experience with Robert Eggers. He was also her Big Little Lies husband Alexander Skarsgard.

 ‘Alex leads the Vikings, of course,’ she said, adding that she plays a Viking queen in a supporting role.

‘There was so much mud in that film. It was all over me. And it was so bitterly cold.’ But she was still up for it. 

‘I’ve always loved extremes. And Lucille, for me was, extreme — without the mud! Nothing comes close to her.’

Dan was a true robot hunk.

Dan Stevens was thrilled to have the chance play a bionic male, hardwired for love. . . German.

Stevens — who found early fame in Downton Abbey, playing the frightfully British Matthew Crawley — had to be fully prepared for a sex scene with a very human woman, hired to give an ethical assessment of Tom, the android he plays in I’m Your Man.

‘There was some sort of modesty pouch involved,’ he said, of the scene with co-star Maren Eggert, who plays Alma, the scientist who must assess whether Tom’s algorithms are in proper working order.

The German-produced film — a delightful, screwball comedy — is one of 15 movies on the Oscar shortlist for best international picture.

The beauty of I’m Your Man, directed by Maria Schrader, is that as Stevens notes, ‘it doesn’t get bogged down in the technology’. 

It instead chooses to view the ethical issues posed by the possibility of non-human hunks in a humorous manner.

Dan Stevens (pictured), of Downton Abbey, stars in I'm Your Man - directed by Maria Schrader

Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey stars in I’m Your Man, directed by Maria Schrader

The German-produced comedy film is one of 15 movies on the Oscar shortlist for best international picture

German comedy filmmaker Comedy Film is among the 15 films on Oscar’s shortlist for international best picture

Stevens (pictured) plays the frightfully British Matthew Crawley in the film with co-star Maren Eggert, who plays Alma

Stevens (pictured) plays the frightfully British Matthew Crawley in the film with co-star Maren Eggert, who plays Alma

Dancing the rumba in the opening sequence helped the actor establish Tom’s virile physicality — which Stevens said was based on the moves of Cary Grant. 

‘Grant’s a very stylised performer,’ he said, ‘and we were re-making his movements — how he’d walked and so on — for Tom.’ The android’s snappy chat-up lines were also borrowed from Grant.

Stevens studied German at school, though the fact that it’s not his first language was actually helpful.

‘The comedy comes from the off-timing of Tom’s delivery,’ he said. ‘A lot of that robotic concentrating is just me trying to remember my German.’

Stevens was able to sing and speak fluently in English, both in TV drama Legion, as well live-action blockbuster Beauty And The Beast.

As the outrageous Russian singer Alexander Lemtov, Will Ferrell filmed the comedy Eurovision Song Contest The Story of Fire Saga.

The actor travelled from his home in Los Angeles to shoot I’m Your Man in Berlin during the summer of the first wave of the pandemic. 

‘It was a big step,’ he told me. The film can be viewed now at Curzon Home Cinema.

Stevens will appear as John Dean, a Watergate insider, later this year in TV drama Gaslit which stars Julia Roberts.

Rusty dancer takes West Side glory 

When the call came to audition for Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, actor, dancer, singer Mike Faist didn’t want to put a foot wrong.

It was packed with the finest dancers around, eager to be part of the film adaptation of Leonard Bernstein’s stage production.

Its famously energetic choreography helps tell the story of rival gangs the Jets and the Sharks — but the thought of having to put on his dancing shoes in such exalted company made Faist want to hide.

‘I said I’d be happy to audition, but did I have to dance?’ he told me. He’d been out of practice for a decade since appearing in Newsies, with its electrifying choreography, on Broadway.

He later appeared in Dear Evan Hansen’s original New York production, with less energy numbers.

Then he took control. ‘It’s West Side Story, you idiot. Of course you have to dance!’

Mercifully, choreographers Justin Peck and Patricia Delgado could see that Faist, while rusty, was ‘definitely on a different wavelength’, so they went to his aid.

(L-R): Mike Faist as Riff, Paloma Garcia-Lee, Jess LeProtto as A-Rab, Eloise Kropp as Dot, Garett Hawe as Skink, Ben Cook as Mouthpiece, and Maddie Ziegler as Velma in West Side Story

L-R: Mike Faist, Paloma Garett-Lee and Jess LeProtto, Jess LeProtto, Jess LeRab, Eloise Krupp, Garett Haie as Skink, Ben Cook, Mouthpiece, Maddie Ziegler, Velma in West Side Story

(L-R): David Alvarez, Ariana DeBose, Ansel Elgort, Rita Moreno, Director Steven Spielberg, Rachel Zegler, Mike Faist, and Josh Andrés Rivera attend the Los Angeles premiere of West Side Story, held at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California last month

(L-R): David Alvarez, Ariana DeBose, Ansel Elgort, Rita Moreno, Director Steven Spielberg, Rachel Zegler, Mike Faist, and Josh Andrés Rivera attend the Los Angeles premiere of West Side Story, held at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California last month

 Spielberg had his eye on the 30-year-old because he’d been impressed with his acting. So Peck ‘was like, I guess we’ll make it work!’ Faist recalled, grinning widely on our Zoom call. 

Riff was an easy-going leader for the Jets. This performance, which also features outstanding work by Ariana DuBose’s Anita, is one of the best parts of the movie.

Faist was raised in Gahanna (Ohio) with his mother who is a probate attorney and his father who fixes up and manages properties for investors. 

He would also like to take up dance lessons and help with building work in his free time.

The Wizard Of Oz was his first movie role. When his mum took him on a trip to see a Broadway show ‘I knew I wanted to move to New York and do theatre’.

He said that along with loving the craft of acting, you also ‘have to love the weirdos that also love it — and you have to accept that you’re one of the weirdos’.

Speaking from his home town, where he’d moved back to be with his dad who’d had major surgery, he told me working with Spielberg had inspired him ‘to chase joyous experiences’.

After West Side Story was shot, he appeared on Amazon TV’s drama Panic. He also completed last fall work on Pinball, The Man Who Saved The Game.

Pay attention

Shaq Taylor who will don prosthetic facial fur — and horns — to play the monster in the Alan Menken and Howard Ashman musical Beauty And The Beast, at the London Palladium from June 24 to September 17. 

Taylor will play Belle alongside Courtney Stapleton. The show has been on a UK tour — currently at the Sunderland Empire, followed by short seasons at Birmingham Hippodrome and Manchester’s Palace Theatre — before heading into the West End.

 Taylor begins rehearsing on Tuesday. But he’s already aware that his character ‘has a heart within this beastly form that he’s been given … there is something, deep down, that’s pure’. 

Shaq Taylor (pictured_ will play the monster in the Alan Menken and Howard Ashman musical Beauty And The Beast at the London Palladium from June 24 to September 17

Shaq Taylor (pictured_) will portray the beast in the Alan Menken-Horn Ashman musical Beauty And The Beast, which runs at the London Palladium between June 24 and September 17.

He added: ‘I think people miss that a lot. They just see a dangerous beast.’

Taylor, 27, studied drama at Brighton University and Arts Ed and has appeared in The Girl From The North Country at the Gielgud and Jesus Christ Superstar in Regent’s Park. 

He’s currently appearing with Rosalie Craig in Hex at the National Theatre. 

The musical — last performance tomorrow night — is still officially in previews, having never opened for critics. 

After a fix, the NT claims it will be back in November.

Keep it in your heart Sondheim & Company

Stephen Sondheim was able to see celebrated director Marianne Elliott’s re-imagined gender-swap adaptation of his musical Company on Broadway before he died last November. 

He saw the show many times at London’s Gielgud.

Interviews with music legends will be featured in a new documentary. 

Sondheim had agreed to sit for one final, extended conversation for the cameras, but alas, it was scheduled for ‘the day after he died’, Chris Harper, a producer and partner in Elliott & Harper Productions, said ruefully.

Patti LuPone and Rosalie Craig in Marianne Elliott¿s re-imagined gender-swap adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's musical Company

Patti LuPone and Rosalie Craig in Marianne Elliott’s re-imagined gender-swap adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Company 

Patti LuPone performs in the 2011 New York Philharmonic Orchestra Spring Gala Benefit Performance Of Stephen Sondheim's Company at Avery Fisher Hall in New York

Patti LuPone sings at the New York Philharmonic Orchestra Spring Gala Benefit performance Of Stephen Sondheim’s Company, held at Avery Fisher Hall.

Rosalie Craig as Bobbie in Stephen Sondheim's Company directed by Marianne Elliott at The Gielgud Theatre in 2018

Rosalie Craig plays Bobbie in Stephen Sondheim’s Company. Marianne Elliott directed it at The Gielgud Theatre, 2018

Company, the documentary will air on PBS in the U.S. starting May 27th. 

It’s hoped a sale can be made to a UK broadcaster. Patti LuPone, who won awards in London for her hymn to the Ladies Who Lunch, was being interviewed in New York, where she’s in the NY production, this week.

The film will also feature footage of the London cast, including Rosalie Craig, who starred as Bobbie — a role originally written for a man; and Katrina Lenk, who plays the part on Broadway.