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Friday, 3 August, 2001, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
The Kidman and Sykes show
Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman: Private life remains private
BBC entertainment correspondent Tom Brook reports from New York where interest in the marriage breakdown of Nicole Kidman is not preventing the actress promoting her new film - also featuring legendary British comedian Eric Sykes.

Nicole Kidman appeared at the première of her latest movie The Others in New York on Thursday, but the producer of the film, who happens to be her estranged husband, was not present.

Kidman steered clear of questions concerning her personal life and concentrated on those about her role in the new supernatural drama.

Earlier this week a Los Angeles judge granted a fast-track divorce to Kidman and Tom Cruise.

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise co-produced the film
The divorce will become effective on 8 August - much earlier than had been expected.

Kidman said she did not know if she and her estranged husband would work together professionally again.

Kidman said: "I am really proud of this movie and we are both very proud of it.

"We certainly talked about it and worked on it. I am not sure where the future lies on that."

The Others was co-produced by Cruise and he was involved in all stages of the film, according to the director, Alejandro Amenabar.

"He was involved especially in the pre and post production," he said.

Both Cruise and Kidman are expected to appear at the one in Los Angeles next week.

The Others was filmed in Spain, but is set in the Channel Islands at the end of World War II.

Kidman plays a Bible spouting mother trying to take care of her two children inside a haunted house.

Achievement

Kidman is the central character and is on screen throughout most of the picture. But she shares the limelight with a small cast that includes the veteran British comedian Eric Sykes.

"I wouldn't have missed it for the world," says Sykes, 78, who travelled to Spain for the year-long shoot.

He described the opportunity to work alongside Nicole Kidman as a "privilege".

British comedian Eric Sykes
Eric Sykes: Famous for his 70s TV series

For Sykes, a veteran of more than 30 pictures, his involvement in The Others is a major achievement.

The elderly actor is registered blind and hard of hearing.

At one point when he was acting opposite Kidman, who knew he had difficulties, he had to say to her: "I'm sorry but you have to speak up because I'm deaf as well."

By all accounts Sykes diminished faculties did not in any way mar his performance, nor are they noticeable to cinemagoers.

Sykes plays an eccentric elderly gardener called Mr Tuttle. He claims he was surprised when the film's young Madrid-based directo cast him.

During production, Sykes became a big fan of Amenabar whom he declares as "absolutely brilliant".

Amenabar, 29, directed Penelope Cruz, Tom Cruise's new romantic interest, in his 1997 picture Open Your Eyes, which became a top grossing film in Spain.

It was on the set of Vanilla Sky, the Hollywood version of Amenabar's film directed by Cameron Crowe, that stars Cruise and Cruz reportedly became acquainted.

Shock

Sykes recalls that he met Cruise twice during the production and thought he was charming. He says Cruise came to Spain and even sat in with the actors to read a part.

Sykes says that when he first heard the news that Cruise and Kidman's marriage was on the rocks it came as a great shock.

The Others
The Others: Already chosen for Venice

The film has already been included in competition at the Venice Film Festival, which gets underway at the end of the month.

Sykes will not be directly involved in the promotional hoopla surrounding The Others première.

Much loved

He is busy rehearsing for his stage role in the farce Caught In The Net, a sequel to Ray Cooney's Run For Your Wife, which opens in the West End on 29 August.

The veteran British comedian shows no signs of slowing down or throwing in the towel. Many of his collaborators have now died, including comic actress Hattie Jacques who starred opposite him in his long running much-loved TV series.

Sykes, with good humour, notes that he now spends time doing a lot of TV interviews paying tribute to his contemporaries after they die.

He says: "I'm not sure if I wanna go yet, but I would like to before they have all gone, because I'll have nobody to speak nicely of me when I have gone!"

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Tom Brook reports from the premiere
"Some think Kidman used the premiere to boost her image"
See also:

07 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Kidman set for London stage
06 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Hollywood surprised at Cruise break-up
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