Nicole Kidman freezes out Andrew Marr on question of Scientology

Times Online, UK/December 14, 2009

It was the moment Nicole Kidman's smile froze into an icy glare. The BBC has released footage of Andrew Marr's encounter with the actress that turned sour when the inquisitor raised Scientology.

The awkward exchange was cut from Sunday's edition of The Andrew Marr Show but has now become a popular download after being placed on the programme's website.

Marr says he wants to raise "one of the things you haven't talked about before". "There are many things I haven't talked about," says the Oscar-winner, sensing trouble.

"Here's one," persists Marr. "Scientology - a lot of people would say it is a bullying cult." Kidman, who belonged to the sect while married to Tom Cruise, is temporarily lost for words.

"I just don't . . . This is just so not . . ." After recovering her composure she asserts: "I'm here to publicise Nine. If I was here to do an exposé on myself then I'd be like, ‘Let's go', but I have no interest in discussing any of that."

"You don't want to talk about Scientology?", presses the interviewer. "No, I'll talk about Nine," says Kidman firmly, after having earlier in the interview batted away Marr's suggestion that filming Eyes Wide Shut with Stanley Kubrick might have placed her marriage to Cruise under stress.

She doesn't get to talk further about Nine, since Marr concludes by asking about her award-winning performance as Virginia Woolf in The Hours, a diversion that Kidman appeared happier to take.

It is not the first occasion that Marr has pushed the boundaries with interviewees on the topical programme. He was also criticised this year for asking Gordon Brown is he was taking medication, although many believed the question was legitimate.

The History of Modern Britain presenter may have been emboldened by an interview that Kidman gave to GQ magazine in which she revealed that she explored "strange sexual fetish stuff" with Cruise.

By completing the seven-minute interview, albeit on her terms, Kidman declined to join the roll-call of television walk-outs, the most notorious example being the Bee Gees' decision to depart a 1997 Clive Anderson interview for the BBC after repeatedly being mocked.

Viewers are invited to reach their own conclusions over the wisdom of Marr's Kidman questioning by viewing the footage on the BBC website.

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