Nicole Kidman was in New York today, photographed on the set of Babygirl, a new film co-starring Antonio Banderas. 


I chuckled over the title when they announced it a few months ago, because “babygirl” is what Keith Urban calls her. He’s done it on live television, like during award shows, and even on social media – here’s an example: 


Up to this point, then, the word “babygirl” for Nicole has a deeply personal significance. And now it’s about to take on a new professional meaning. Because the movie Babygirl is not quite a romance. This is an erotic thriller about a married businesswoman, played by Nicole, who has a torrid affair with a young male intern. (“Torrid” by the way is my description, a word I’ve probably used liberally and, um, hopefully. I mean if they’re calling it an “erotic thriller”, presumably there will be some sex. And we need more safely filmed sex in movies!) So we’re talking workplace mess, power dynamics, and gender politics. Antonio will be Nicole’s husband and Harris Dickinson will be the intern. I’m f-cking excited about this. For many reasons. 

First …is Babygirl Nicole’s answer to Tár? And before you go accusing me of pitting women against each other, this is not about the people, Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett, this is about the work of the women, and their performances. And we do this all the time with men. Pacino or De Niro or Nicholson? Scorsese or Spielberg? Bale or DiCaprio? DiCaprio or Phoenix? Paul Thomas Anderson or Christoper Nolan? On Reddit I’m sure there are at least a dozen threads about these names and discussions comparing them. 


Cate Blanchett and Nicole Kidman are contemporaries and masters of the craft. In Lydia Tar, Cate delivered probably the most complicated and provocative performance of her career. With Babygirl and the subject matter, in these times of ever-evolving social standards and disruption, Nicole is taking on the role of a business executive who may or may not be abusing her power in a sexual relationship with a much younger man. In other words, we are about to be fed with excellence! Nicole is serving a challenge – and this is good for culture, that we can have these debates about two virtuoso actors well into their 50s who are still bringing it at this level. 

Next, the director, Halina Reijn who also wrote the screenplay. You may know Halina’s work from Bodies Bodies Bodies a couple of years ago. A24 brought her in to direct it, so they were already confident in her abilities. Obviously that experience was just the beginning of a relationship between the studio and Halina as A24 is backing Babygirl. This of course is the production that has its own cult following, earning this reputation because of their ability to recognise and support emerging talent, like Greta Gerwig and Barry Jenkins and the Daniels, that might have been overlooked and underappreciated by the major studios. 


And now, on her second American production, Halina is working with Nicole Kidman?! This is a major opportunity but it’s also a gift to us, the audience. Because we are watching another female director take her vision to the next level. 

Finally, Harris Dickinson. Currently playing one of the Von Erich brothers in The Iron Claw but I associate him Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness which was released last year. He’s pretty hot in that film but also really funny. And now he’s filming love scenes with Nicole Kidman. So I am alllll the way in on this. I need this movie right now.