Portrait of a Lady: About The Cast

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Nicole Kidman plays the title role in THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY, that of Isabel Archer.

Nicole Kidman first came to the attention of American audiences with her critically acclaimed performance in the riveting 1989 psychological thriller "Dead Calm." Since then, she has become one of the most sought-after young actresses in film.

Recently she has starred as Suzanne Stone in director Gus Van Sant's widely acclaimed black comedy "To Die For." For her pitch-perfect, wickedly funny portrayal of a woman obsessed with becoming a TV personality, she won a Best Actress Golden Globe Award this year, along with Best Actress Awards from the Boston Film Critics and the Seattle Film Festival, the Broadcast Film Critics, London's Empire Magazine and the London Film Critics. She was also nominated by BAFTA, the London Film Critics, and the American Comedy Awards. This followed her role as Dr. Chase Meridian opposite Val Kilmer, in Joel Schumacher's blockbuster "Batman Forever."

Since completing THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY, she has starred opposite George Clooney in the first DreamWorks production, "The Peacemaker." This fall, she and Tom Cruise will go before the cameras in England for director Stanley Kubrick in the movie "Eyes Wide Shut."

In the latter part of 1993, Kidman appeared opposite Alec Baldwin in Harold Becker's thriller "Malice," followed by the starring role opposite Michael Keaton in the drama "My Life." Other film credits include roles opposite Tom Cruise in Ron Howard's "Far and Away" and Tony Scott's "Days of Thunder," and opposite Dustin Hoffman in Robert Benton's screen version of "Billy Bathgate," for which she received a Golden Globe nomination.

Born in Hawaii, Kidman spent her childhood in Australia with parents who instilled in her a love of culture and education.. Her father is a lecturer in biochemistry and her mother is a nurse/educator. Kidman studied ballet as a young child and enrolled in drama school at 10. She made her debut in an Australian film, "Bush Christmas," at 14, and afterwards began finding almost continuous work.

She appeared in projects such as "Winners" and the Disney Channel mini-series, "Five-Mile Creek," in which she appeared as a little roughie who herded sheep.

Between films, Kidman honed her craft at the Australian Theater for Young People in Sydney and the Philip Street Theater where she learned voice, production, and theater history.

The much-lauded 1985 Kennedy/Miller mini-series, "Vietnam," made her a virtual overnight star in Australia. Only 17 at the time, she was voted Best Actress of the Year by the Australian Public and the Australian Institute for her performance. In addition to public and critical acclaim, her performance in the series also attracted the attention of film-makers throughout Australia.

Her subsequent portrayal of the terrorized wife in "Dead Calm," a film directed by Philip Noyce and co-starring Sam Neill, was praised by critics both in Australia and abroad.

Following the success of "Dead Calm," Kidman reunited with the Kennedy/Miller production team for a second acclaimed mini-series, "Bangkok Hilton." Once again, Kidman received rave reviews for her performance (opposite Denholm Elliott) and was voted Best Actress of 1989 by the Variety Awards and once again the Australian public.

Her other notable Australian films include "Emerald City" (for which she received a Best Supporting Actress nomination from the Australian Film Institute) and "Flirting" (the sequel to "The Year My Voice Broke"). She also appeared on stage, playing lead roles in "Steel Magnolias" at the Sydney Seymour Centre for which she was nominated Best Newcomer by the Sydney Theater Critics and "Spring Awakening" at the Australian Theater for Young People.

John Malkovich, one of America's most gifted actors of stage and screen, plays the role of Gilbert Osmond, the expatriate dilettante whom Isabel Archer marries.

Malkovich was born in Benton, Illinois. Directly out of college, he joined the famed Steppenwolf Theater Company of Chicago. Between 1976 and 1982, he acted in, directed, or designed the sets for more than fifty Steppenwolf productions. His debut on the New York stage in the Steppenwolf production of Sam Shepard's "True West" earned him an Obie award. Other notable stage credits include "Death of a Salesman," "Slip of the Tongue," Sam Shepard's "States of Shock," Lanford Wilson's "Burn This" and his own adaptation of Don DeLillo's novel "Libra."

Malkovich has made his mark on film audiences in features such as Roland Joffe's "The Killing Fields," Robert Benton's "Places in the Heart," Steven Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun," Stephen Frears' "Dangerous Liaisons," Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Sheltering Sky." and Wolfgang Petersen's
"In the Line of Fire." More recently, he has worked with top European directors Manoel de Oliviera ("The Convent") and Michelangelo Antonioni ("Beyond the Clouds"). His latest movies include Stephen Frears' "Mary Reilly," Lee Tamahori's "Mulholland Falls" and Volker Schondorff's "The Ogre."

Barbara Hershey stars as the complicated, enigmatic Madame Merle.

Critically acclaimed for her remarkable range and versatility, Barbara has worked with many of the industry's most respected actors and directors. She has also had the unprecedented honor of winning the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival two years in a row.

From the beginning, Barbara received rave reviews for her unique blend of intelligence and sensuality. She caused a sensation with her performance as a sexually promiscuous tease in "Last Summer," and went on to star as a surrogate mother in James Bridges' controversial drama, "The Baby Maker." Barbara then played a barefoot train robber from Arkansas in Martin Scorsese's Depression era feature, "Boxcar Bertha."

"The Stunt Man" marked Barbara's transition from ingenue to leading lady. Starring opposite Peter O'Toole, and directed by Richard Rush, the film was nominated for an Academy Award and has since went on to reach cult status. She next starred opposite Robert Redford as an insane fan in Barry Levinson's, "The Natural." Further demonstrating her versatility, Barbara then segued into the role of a repressed schoolteacher opposite Gene Hackman in "Hoosiers." In Phil Kaufman's highly regarded "The Right Stuff," Barbara, co-starring with Sam Shepard, portrayed Chuck Yeager's wife, "Glamorous Glennis."

The next milestone in Barbara's career was Woody Allen's classic, "Hannah and Her Sisters," in which she portrayed the befuddled and vulnerable object of Michael Caine's desires. Balancing diverse comedic and dramatic roles, Barbara worked again with Barry Levinson in "Tin Men" as the sweet, but not too bright wife 0 Danny De Vito. Her tough, hard-bitten Bayou woman in Andrei Konchalovsky's "Shy People" garnered her the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival. The following year, her portrayal of a South African anti-Apartheid journalist in "A World Apart" won her a 2nd Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival. No actor had ever won this coveted award for two years in a row.

Barbara then reteamed with Martin Scorsese in his extraordinary and controversial adaptation of "The Last Temptation of Christ." Her portrayal as Mary Magdalene earned her a Golden Globe nomination.

In Garry Marshall's hugely popular hit, "Beaches," Barbara starred as Bette Midler's terminally ill best friend.

Other notable film credits include the nymphomaniacal Duchess in "Splitting Heirs" with Eric Idle and John Cleese, the glamorous 1940's nightclub owner opposite Joe Pesci in "The Public Eye," the wife of a psychopath in Joel Schumacher's "Falling Down," and Dennis Hopper's shadowy and abused wife in "Paris Trout." In the thriller, "Defenseless," Barbara worked again with Sam Shepard, and in the comedy, "Tune in Tomorrow". (aka "Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter") opposite Keanu Reeves.

Barbara was unanimously praised by critics for her brilliant performance as a suburban axe murderess in "Killing in a Small Town," for which she won both Emmy and Golden Globe Best Actress Awards.

Martin Donovan, who has worked frequently with American independent director Hal Hartley, here plays Ralph Touchett, Isabel's cousin and admirer.

Donovan has recently been seen in Hal Hartley's "Amateur" as Thomas, a once brutal criminal who suffers from amnesia. He received the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival's Best Actor award for his performance in the role.

"Amateur" was Donovan's fourth film with Hartley. Previously, he co-starred with Adrienne Shelly in the award-winning "Trust," played the lead in the short "Surviving Desire," and appeared in a supporting role in "Simple Men." He subsequently played a role in the first segment of Hartley's three part feature, "Flirt."

Originally from Reseda, California, Donovan studied acting at the American Theater of Arts in Los Angeles where he appeared in such plays as "Richard Cork's Leg" by Brendan Behan and Brecht's "Private Life of the Master Race." He moved to New York in 1983 and appeared in the mini-series
"At Mother's Request," "Legwork" and "At King's Crossing." His other films include Spike Lee's "Malcolm X," John Flynn's "Scam" with Christopher Walken, and Michael Almereyda's droll vampire saga "Nadja." He is a member of the Cucaracha Theater in New York where he as appeared in over half a dozen new works, most notably Richard Caliban's "Famine Plays" and "Homo Sapien Shuffle."

Just before THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY, he completed filming "The Hollow Reed," directed by Angela Pope and co-starring Ian Hart and Joely Richardson.

Mary-Louise Parker, one of today's brightest and hottest young actresses, plays Henrietta. She first achieved critical success in 1991 when she appeared in two of the year's major releases.

She co-starred with Mary Stuart Masterson, Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates in Jon Avnet's "Fried Green Tomatoes." She also appeared alongside Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, Mary McDonnell, Alfre Woodard and Danny Glover in the comedy/drama "Grand Canyon," directed by Lawrence Kasdan. Mary-Louise Parker was recently seen in Norman Rene's "Reckless," and with Whoopi Goldberg and Drew Barrymore in "Boys on the Side" for director Herbert Ross. Her other films include "Naked in New York," Anthony Minghella's "Mr. Wonderful," "The Client," with Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones, and Woody Allen's "Bullets Over Broadway."

Parker's other credits include "Signs of Life," directed by John David Coles, and Norman Rene's highly acclaimed "Longtime Companion."

In April 1994, Parker was seen in the Hallmark Hall of Fame telefilm "A Place for Annie," which aired on ABC. She played a drug addict and AIDS victim who gave up her AIDS baby for adoption, only to have second thoughts when she conquers her drug habit.

As "Rita" in the Craig Lucas/Norman Rene Broadway production of "Prelude to a Kiss," Parker received a Tony nomination. Most recently, on stage, she played Brenda in the critically acclaimed Manhattan Theater Club production of "Four Dogs and a Bone." Her other stage credits include "Throwing Your Voice" at the Ensemble Studio Theater, "Babylon Gardens" opposite Timothy Hutton at the Circle Repertory Company, "Prelude to a Kiss" at the Berkeley Repertory, "The Importance of Being Earnest" at the Hartford Stage, "Up in Saratoga" at the Old Globe, "The Miser" at the Syracuse Stage, "Hayfever" at Saudi Arena, "Night of the Iguana" at the Hartman, "The Age of Pie" and "The Girl in Pink" at the Edge Theater.

Parker last appeared on Broadway in William Inge's "Bus Stop" for the circle in the Square Theater opposite Billy Crudup. She also recently starred for HBO in John Smith's "Sugartime."

Shelley Duvall plays the Countess Gemini, Gilbert Osmond's eccentric sister.

Award-winning, multi-talented actress"producer Shelley Duvall was discovered by producer Lou Adler and director Robert Altman while studying science at Houston, Texas. Although she is probably best known for portraying Olive Oyl opposite Robin Williams in Altman's "Popeye" and Jack Nicholson's terrorized wife in Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining," as chairman/CEO of Think Entertainment, Ms. Duvall is also well-respected in the inner circle of the Hollywood community for being a pioneer in creating imaginative, entertaining, high-quality original programming for cable.

Ms. Duvall appeared regularly in the films of Robert Altman. Her first movie role was in "Brewster McCloud." That was followed by five additional Altman films: "McCabe and Mrs. Miller," "Thieves Like Us," "Nashville," "Buffalo Bill and the Indians," and "Three Women," for which she won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival and the L.A. Film Critic's Award. She appeared in cameos in Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" and Terry Gilliam's "Time Bandits." She also had a supporting role opposite Steve Martin in "Roxanne," directed by Fred Schepisi. Ms. Duvall starred with Christopher Lloyd and Hulk Hogan in "Suburban Commando," and more recently appeared in Steven Soderbergh's "The Underneath."

Ms. Duvall also produced and starred in "Mother Goose Rock 'n Rhyme," a ninety-minute musical movie for the Disney Channel. The program featured such talent as Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Bobby Brown; Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry, Little Richard and Woody Harrelson. The film was honored with five ACE nominations and the Outstanding Children's Family Programming award.

Shelley Winters is recognized around the world as one of America's most respected actresses. In THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY, she plays Mrs. Touchett, Ralph's mother and Isabel's aunt. Scores of awards, among them two Academy Awards, four Academy Award nominations, a British Academy Award, Italy's Donatello Award, a Golden Globe and an Emmy attest to her great talent and versatility in a career of over fifty years in motion pictures, theater and television.

She has been seen on the big screen most recently in Paul Mazurksy's "The Pickle," co-starring Danny Alello, and James Mangold's "Heavy."

Shelley first gained attention as Ronald Colman's victimized waitress in "A Double Life," under the direction of George Cukor. She convinced director George Stevens that she could portray the plain factory worker who vies with the upper-class Elizabeth Taylor for Montgomery Clift in "A Place in the Sun," hailed by critics as one of the greatest films of all time. Shelley's portrayal garnered her first Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

Shelley's prominence was now firmly established, leading to many other important films, including Charles Laughton's classic "Night of the Hunter" with Robert Mitchum, and "I am a Camera" with Laurence Harvey. Shelley received her first Oscar for her luminous performance in "The Diary of Anne Frank," directed by George Stevens. Her second Oscar was for her vicious portrayal of the mother of a blind girl in "A Patch of Blue" opposite Sidney Poitier.

During this period, Shelley also starred in such films as "Let No Man Write My Epitaph." She made an indelible impression as the pathetically lovelorn Charlotte Haze in Stanley Kubrick's "Lolita" and appeared in "The Balcony," "Time of Indifference" and George Stevens' "The Greatest Story Ever Told."

She won the British Academy Award for her performance in the landmark British film "Al fie" opposite Michael Caine. She followed this with "Enter Laughing," "Wild In the Streets," "Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell" and "Bloody Mama." "The Poseidon Adventure" with an all-star cast, brought the disaster genre back with a big box-office bang. The film, directed by Ronald Neame, brought Shelley numerous accolades and her fourth Oscar nomination. Her other films include "Blume in Love," "Diamonds," "Journey Into Fear," "The Lucky Touch," "The Tenant," "Un Borghese Piccolo, Piccolo." "Pete's Dragon," "The Delta Force," "An Unremarkable Life," "Touch of a Stranger" and "Stepping Out."

Shelley has returned to the stage many times during her busy film career and is also the author of "One Night Stand of a Noisy Passenger" which was produced off-Broadway. In addition she has written two best-selling autobiographies, "Shelley" and "Shelley II." She has spent many years teaching acting to youngsters at the Actors' Studio in New York and Los Angeles.

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