Nicole Kidman is the new Will Smith! Wait, that doesn’t sound right and yet she’s attached herself to The Wedding Doctor, a project that sounds just like a female Hitch. Vulture has learned that Kidman would play a relationship analyst who advises couples on their interpersonal dynamics before they marry. But after she meets her latest clients, the doc decides she’d actually be a better match for the groom-to-be, triggering a showdown with his fiancée.
Kidman and Smith seem as different as, well, black and white, but their main point of distinction is actually black and red: Unlike Smith, who is the last remaining movie star, Kidman’s track record has lately produced a flood of red ink. Her often highbrow taste hasn’t aligned with mass audiences, so perhaps going for a mainstream, Katherine Heigl–esque romantic comedy is a smart move. (She recently signed on to do a cameo in Adam Sandler’s new comedy Just Go for It.)
But this time, it’s not a regular Hollywood studio taking a risk with her … at least, not yet; it’s Relativity Media, the large independent motion-picture production and investment company that over the last few years has chipped in billions of dollars to help fund Sony and Universal’s film slates, and has lately moved into making its own movies and having Lionsgate distribute (e.g., Brothers). Relativity plans to shop its Kidman film to Hollywood studios, who may choose to distribute Wedding Doctor in exchange for a slice of its grosses.
How does an Oscar-winning Chanel spokeswoman wind up holding a “will work for distribution” sign in the world of Hollywood finance? After becoming the highest-paid actress in Hollywood in 2006, Kidman made a string of flops both large and small: Nine, Australia, The Golden Compass, The Invasion, and Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus have all been box-office disasters. By comparison, Smith’s recent “bomb,” Seven Pounds, still made $168 million worldwide.