First, the big news: Nicole Kidman tells me she will star in a play revival still to be announced but directed by Sam Mendes next fall in London. Mendes directed her in The Blue Room, which played to sold-out audiences in the West End and on Broadway two years ago.
She will probably not co-star with Kevin Spacey, though, in The Life of David Gale, a movie that's being produced by Nicolas Cage. Cage had been telling junket reporters during his promotion of Captain Corelli's Mandolin that Kidman was a lock. But she told me last night at the premiere of her excellent new thriller, The Others, "I have to take care of my kids now. I have to cut back. When you have kids, that's just the way it is. I want them to be 21 and feel that I did the best that I could [raising them]."
Kidman was a sensation last night at the premiere, talking to anyone who wanted to meet her, and really showing a graciousness, independence, and maturity that was gratifying to see. She is a real beauty in person too: That skin is like porcelain up close, and she looks more like our generation's Grace Kelly than ever before.
She was forthright about her divorce from Tom Cruise, too. When I asked her about Cruise's assertion that their marriage didn't last 10 years — a fact first reported, with its consequences, in this column — she didn't shrink from the question per se. If their marriage had ended in December, as Cruise says, she would get less of a settlement. Cruise, however, filed for divorce in February 2001, and claimed then that the marriage had been over since early December.
This is a problem, though, since the couple renewed their vows on December 24th.
"I wish I could talk about it, but my lawyers won't let me, and I won't let them talk about it. It's so long to let this be played out in the press. It's just not appropriate."
But come on, wasn't she surprised that Cruise had tried to backdate the break-up? You bet she was.
Kidman's eyes welled up when I told her a story. Last October, when she and Cruise were in New York so he could film Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky, a mutual friend visited them in their hotel suite. Later the friend commented that the Cruises seemed to have such a lovely family life — they have two children, Isabella and Conor — that she wanted the same thing for herself.
Then, I said, the news came only three months later that they were divorcing. "We said, Huh?"
Kidman, a little surprised at the emotion, paused. "I said 'Huh,' too," she whispered.
More on Nicole next week, including her hindsight thoughts on making Stanley Kubrick's controversial Eyes Wide Shut, a movie that changed her life forever.
Despite suspicion that Mariah Carey's "emotional and physical breakdown" was caused by either alcohol or drug dependence, insiders say it isn't true. "Mariah's publicist, Cindy Berger, was very forthright about what's wrong," says a source. "How much more honest could they be?"
Because of Mariah's manic messages left on that answering machine last week, added to other messages, her weird appearance on MTV's Total Request Live in which she practically stripped, an appearance at a Long Island mall in which she got goofy and rambled, and another appearance in London when she kept fans waiting two hours, there's been talk that something besides a nervous breakdown was happening.
"She's not in a 12-step program," my source said.
While Carey is being treated for all that ails her, record and movie companies are wondering what to do about Glitter. Some reports yesterday that Carey was simply hiding from a bad film release are preposterous.
The soundtrack though is a different matter. Virgin Records has completely embargoed the album until its release, allowing reviewers to come to their offices to hear a copy but refusing to send out advance CDs. Since the album is being released on August 21, this means that almost no advance reviews can be written for it.
According to the Virgin publicist, the album is all original material with two remakes of old songs. But this doesn't seem to be exactly right, as "Loverboy," which is already out, is a remake of Cameo's "Candy." Additionally, the track listing seems to include Koffee Brown's "I Didn't Mean to Turn You On," plus "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life" — both hits from the '80s.
Other titles on the album include "Lead The Way," "If We Don't Stop," "All My Life, Reflections (Care Enough)," "Want You," "Never Too Far," and "Twister."
You never heard of Kid Rock before his big album in 1998. Then he was signed by Jason Flom to Atlantic Records and it all changed. Now he dates Pamela Anderson and has millions of dollars. So what a shock it was to hear him backstage at the MTV 20th Anniversary show on Wednesday night, knocking Flom to anyone who'd listen.
In earshot: Doug Morris, head of MCA/Universal Records. Also within this circle: Scott Greenstein of USA Films, and Little Steven van Zandt of Sopranos and E Street Band fame.
Kid Rock — who introduces himself as "Bob Richey" — told one of Morris's execs: "I can't do everything for Jason, man. I've been a team player at Atlantic for a long time. This other stuff I'm working on has the juice, and I don't know if he can take the juice."
Kid Rock's management office in Detroit said only that the rapper is working on a new album and no other new projects. Flom didn't return calls, but a few people heard the rapper actually saying the same stuff to his mentor later that night. "It's OK," said a source. "Bob got it off his chest, and then they were fine again. You know, he's crazy."
I was extremely saddened to hear that WEVD, the great New York radio station, will end its long run on September 1. The owners of the station have decided to ditch their terrific talk shows and let ABC lease the air from them. ABC plans to use it for ESPN radio, which will be all-sports.
Fox News Channel's very own Alan Colmes broadcasts on WEVD, as do former NY Mayor Ed Koch, legendary Bill Mazer, and the popular Sam Greenfield. On many occasions this reporter has done long chats with Elizabeth Dribben, Mazer's erudite substitute. I'm sure another station will snap up Liz — who worked as Mike Wallace's radio producer for 20 years — in a second.
WEVD was founded in 1927 by a bunch of lefties and socialists; it took its call letters from Eugene V. Debs, the famous Socialist. The station has provided a forum for provocative political debate left, right, and center for all these years. It's a real tragedy to see it go the way of so many wonderful New York radio institutions.