August 8th, 2001, ten years ago today, was a major day in the careers of two of our favorite screen redheads, Tilda Swinton and Nicole Kidman.
The Deep End, a gripping thriller about a mother (Tilda Swinton) who becomes entangled in criminal acts upon discovering her teenager's dangerous gay liaison, was for many moviegoers Tilda's debut. It was certainly her first leading mainstream-ish role, following closely on the heels of a breakthrough as the villain of Danny Boyle's The Beach (2000). For those of us who had already been hypnotized by her face in Derek Jarman's films or Orlando (1993), it was still something of a revelation and an obvious career pivot point. The Deep End proved that Swinton could carry a more mainstream narrative and that she could absorb awards season heat. Her performance won at least one minor critics awards and nabbed OFCS and Golden Globe nominations though Oscar would wait. Tilda would go on to continue her astonishing dual track career of headlining brilliant daring fare in arthouses whilst showing up in showy supporting roles in mainstream films which eventually led to that Oscar win for Michael Clayton. Didn't The Deep End make all of this possible... or least predict it?
Do you ever think about The Deep End these days?
Today's other actressy anniversary is less a breakthrough than an emancipation.
Ten years ago today Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise finalized their divorce while Nicole's star was going supernova. Moulin Rouge! had become an unlikely hit earlier in the summer while the media continued to salivate over the Kidman/Cruise split. And the same week the divorce was finalized Kidman opened her second box office hit of the summer, The Others which eventually broke the magic $100 million barrier. Summer 2001 was unarguably The Summer of Nicole's Ascendance.
In the past decade, Kidman has proved her screen worth and her star mojo so emphatically and so often that the Mrs. Tom Cruise days seem like a barely remembered dream, don't they? Ancient history that was in actuality only ten years past.
Are new Kidman and Swinton films still events for you?