FRIDAY REVIEW

Get spellbound with Nicole

AN UPDATED VERSION: Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell in Bewitched.  



Nicole Kidman weaves magic in the fantasy, `Bewitched.'

Out in California's San Fernando Valley, Isabel (Nicole Kidman) is trying to reinvent herself. A naïve, good-natured witch, she is determined to disavow her supernatural powers and lead a normal life. At the same time, across town, Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell) a tall, charming actor is trying to get his career back on track. He sets his sights on an updated version of the beloved 1960s situation comedy `Bewitched,' re-conceived as a starring vehicle for himself in the role of the mere-mortal Darrin. Fate steps in when Jack accidentally runs into Isabel. He is immediately attracted to her and her nose, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the nose of Elizabeth Montgomery, who played Samantha in the original TV version of `Bewitched.' He becomes convinced she could play the witch Samantha in his new series. Isabel is also taken up with Jack, seeing him as the quintessential mortal man with whom she can settle down and lead the normal life she so desires. It turns out they're both right but in ways neither of them ever imagined.Catch the Indian TV premiere of `Bewitched' on April 6 at 9 pm only on HBO. Excerpts from an interview with Nicole Kidman. Were you familiar with the television series `Bewitched'? I watched the series as a kid and there seemed something quite fun, the idea of having watched something as a little girl and then being able to step into it as a woman and kind of pay homage to it. In the strangest way, re-making a TV series has far less onus on it than trying to (re-make) `Portrait Of A Lady.' The lesson you learn is that you don't stay within the confinements of what's been said in the series and I think Nora tackled it quite well by finding another way to tell the story. How did you perfect your nose-twitching for Samantha, the witch in `Bewitched'? I needed a mirror and I needed slow-motion on the VCR. I would put Elizabeth Montgomery's nose in slow motion and then look into the mirror and try to mimic it. My mom would say, `No that wasn't very good, try again!' If you had magic powers, what would they be? I do a lot of fund-raising for women's cancer, so I probably would choose to eradicate all cancer. In the film, it's kind of nice if you're [annoyed] to be able to blow up a cappuccino machine, or make a dog jump into your arms and make him speak... I think that's funny and cool, but the concept is everyone wishes they could have a little magic. The overall idea of the film is that people in love require a little magic. What was it like riding the broomstick? They had a harness and they lifted it up and you're flying and you're thinking, `Does this look OK?' and Nora Ephron, the director is shouting, `Cross your legs,' so it's a little difficult to be ladylike flying on the broomstick. But it was fun. I just wish I could take off now out through the window! You had surprising chemistry with Will Ferrell. Did it surprise you too? Well, they also said that Sean Penn from `The Interpreter' and I were unexpected. I suppose with Will and I, it really is kind of an odd pairing.But, at the time, it was a really fun pairing. He's very generous with his talent. He would always say, `Come on Nicole, you can do it,' and coax me out of my shell. Do you usually need coaxing when you're playing a character? I always have doubts about everything. I think that motivates you. If you think you can do something, there's a slight arrogance to that. It's always better to be unsure and be taught and be willing to listen and learn. I always get accused of being really, really quiet because I sit there and I watch and I listen and I tend not to say much until I feel at ease. There's a time when you step into it and you're on the roller-coaster. For the first few days of shooting,... so much of your trepidation is just based on not wanting to make a fool of yourself, particularly if your nature is a little reticent and shy to begin with. (Courtesy HBO)