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What Directors Love About Nicole Kidman

“We come to this place for magic,” Nicole Kidman says in the well-known AMC Theaters preshow advertisement. And who could better welcome back audiences to experience movies on the big screen than an acclaimed artist who’s illuminated stories across all genres?

Kidman has starred in daring art house projects (“Dogville,” “Birth”), awards-friendly dramas (“Cold Mountain,” “Rabbit Hole”), big-budget crowd-pleasers (“Aquaman,” “Paddington”) and everything in between.

On Saturday, the Australian American Oscar-winning actress will receive the life achievement award from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. At 56, Kidman is among the youngest honorees.

But what qualities have kept Kidman consistently in demand for the past three decades?

The Australian director Jane Campion said via email that “her fierce curiosity has helped her take an audience inside some gnarly women.” The American filmmaker Karyn Kusama described her as a “channeler of inchoate energy,” and explained that when this “coalesces into something visceral for her character, you almost feel the molecules in the air shift around her.”

Five directors who have worked with Kidman, including Campion and Kusama, discussed what makes the performer an irreplaceable, shape-shifting talent.

Baz Luhrmann

‘Moulin Rouge!’ (2001), ‘Australia’ (2008)

As Satine in “Moulin Rouge!”Credit…20th Century Fox

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