Nicole Kidman is one of the finest actors of her generation. She first starred in movies like Days of Thunder and Eyes Wide Shut. Since then, she’s pivoted to glitzy, big-name TV series for premium cable channels and streaming companies. Kidman’s talent has brought her a lot of acclaim over the years. But fans also recognize the 54-year-old for wearing notable weaves in some of her biggest roles.
Some looked great; others deserved to be snatched off her head. Why does Kidman wear so many wigs in her performances?
Wigs are a consistent piece of Nicole Kidman’s roles
Kidman’s versatility in her work extends far past her talent on screen. It is also reflected in how often she changes her hair for each role.
As recapped on Insider, Kidman’s worn wigs in 10 performances up to this point. She first put on fake hair, in addition to a prosthetic nose, to portray Virginia Woolf in the 2003 film The Hours. Her performance earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Kidman clearly took the results of these decisions as a precedent setter.
The quality of the wigs and the reception of the movies they were worn in don’t always overlap. Kidman got another Oscar nomination for her role in Lion. But her curly, orange hair made her look like a grown-up Annie or a sibling of Carrot Top.
Recently, Kidman joined the surge of movie stars appearing in high-profile TV miniseries, and she brought along the wigs. Returning as Celeste in season two of Big Little Lies, Kidman did what many women do after a breakup: She got bangs. The strawberry blonde hairdo didn’t please everyone. Vulture’s Jackson McHenry described her as looking like “a very sad Nintendo Mii.”
Kidman changed her hair again for her next collaboration with HBO, The Undoing. This wig was so well done that some people thought it was her real hair. Then, the actor donned an elbow-length blonde wig — and a Russian accent — for her role in Nine Perfect Strangers as the wellness retreat’s mysterious founder.
Why does Kidman wear so many wigs?
It takes a lot of time and effort to make Kidman’s hair look the way it does in each production. Her wig in Bombshell cost between $7,000 and $10,000 to make. The movie won an Oscar for makeup and hairstyling.
Kidman also admitted on The Graham Norton Show that she’s messed with her hair so much that her natural curls are permanently damaged. Why does she keep doing this? Kidman’s interest in changing her looks on screen is fairly common in the acting world.
Tom Hardy introduced himself to most of the world as a casually charming dream invader in Inception. But he’s spent many years obscuring his face or his voice in projects like The Dark Knight Rises and Dunkirk.
There’s also the long history of actors winning awards for roles that require a physical transformation. For a conventionally attractive woman like Kidman, these changes can be the entryway to more interesting character work.
Kidman’s wig obsession continues with her next role
Kidman is changing her hair yet again for her next big role. In December 2021, she will portray comedy legend Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos. Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, the movie is about Ball’s groundbreaking stardom and her complex relationship with her husband and costar Desi Arnaz. (Javier Bardem portrays Arnaz.)
Kidman’s next performance will be in The Northman, a Viking revenge tale set in 10th-century Iceland directed by Robert Eggers. No footage of this movie has publicly aired yet. But the setting and her role as Queen Gudrun leave plenty of possibility for a new wig.
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