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Special Features » Movie Of The Month
As part of a new monthly feature here at Nicole's Magic, each month we will be taking a look back at one
of Nicole's films or acting projects. Nicole has an immense body of work behind her, and there's no better way to be
reminded of her talent and how much we love her than immersing ourselves and taking an in depth look at those works.
For the month of September, the month that marks the end of the summer and the start of the long winter (...unless, of course,
you're in the Southern Hemisphere!), the Movie Of The Month pick is Bewitched. Bewitched is sweet,
funny and light-hearted, and the perfect movie to see us through this month. Nicole shows off her comedic chops as the
excitable yet naive Isabel, and the movie broadened her appeal to a younger audience. Plus, Bewitched is the perfect
feel-good/pick-you-up movie, so if you need a smile, stick in your Bewitched DVD!
Isabel: "He's idiotic and yet I find him completely charming - it's been like that since the beginning. Only now, I also hate him!"
Isabel is giving up being a witch (almost). She wants to be normal and find someone to fall hopelessly in love with, and warlocks
are just not working for her. So she moves to a nice new neighbourhood in LA and falls in love with a beautiful little
house ... trouble is, its not for sale ... so she clicks her fingers, wiggles her ear, and it's hers - with a little
kitty flap for her black cat! She doesn't want instant gratification anymore and is tired of just snapping her fingers to get her way...
except when she conjures up a credit card at Bed, Bath & Beyond, and changes the clocks to get breakfast past the time at a diner!
Egomaniac actor Jack Wyatt wants to be anything but normal, though. He wants to be back on the A-List and everyone to love him again. He's
re-making the classic TV series 'Bewitched' and wants to cast an unknown actress as Samantha, to make sure all eyes are on him.
When he comes across Isabel twitching her nose in a book shop, he thinks he's hit the jackpot. After telling her he needs her, Isabel's
heart melts. During the audition, Isabel misunderstand what's going on, and thinks Jack knows she's a real witch, making her fall harder
for him. After getting the role Isabel goes home and does her research by watching episodes of 'Bewitched'. Her neighbour, Maria,
is excited for her, although her father is not happy, saying the show is an insult to their way of life!
Filming on the show starts, and its all tailored around Jack, as Darrin. Isabel is hurt and angry when she overhears Jack and his assistant Richie
talking about her not being important to the show. Feeling used, Isabel and her new friends Maria and show assistant Nina plan their revenge.
"What would Samantha do?," Isabel asks ... and she chooses to get mad, using her magical powers to destroy his beloved capuccino machine, and
add some unsuspecting twists into the show whilst they're filming! Another cast member, diva Iris Smithson who plays Endora, begins to suspect Isabel
is a real witch, but Isabel manages to throw her off the scent. Isabel's popularity soars, and she starts getting higher audience feedback
scores than Jack, which angers him. Isabel is sick of his attitude, and when she sees him on Inside The Studio bragging about how he taught her
how to wiggle her nose, she snaps, and after her Aunt Clara persuades her to put a hex on him, they, along with Maria and Nina, cast a spell on him!
The next day, Jack rides into work singing about Isabel, and enthusing about her to everyone around. He's excited for her getting 99% on the audience feedback,
and surisingly positiv about his dismal scores. "Is it just my imagination, or is the room actually brighter when you're in it," he says to her!
He demands she's given more lines and more jokes in the show, and that he gets to kiss her more on it. Despite it being what she thought she wanted,
Isabel is slighty overwhelmed by Jack's enthusiasm, and after they go on a romantic date together where he made up a song for her, she realises
it actually doesn't mean anthing because it's not real. So she rewinds time to go back to how it used to be. And so Jack goes back to his usual
egotistical self, throwing a fit when he finds out he only scored 32% on audience feedback. Isabel decides to take a more 'normal' approach to dealing
with Jack now - she confronts him and tells him he's a jerk! She storms off and quits the show, only for Jack to follow her, shocked that someone has
called him out on all his crap! He begs her for another chance, and after some persuasion she is convinced ... after she sees him sweating, because
she loves it when he sweats.
The show is now balanced between Jack and Samantha, and during a scene in which the twosome kiss, the kiss continues after the director has yelled
cut! On their first date, Jack teaches Samantha all his acting "tricks", and the two spend the night dancing on the set of their tv show. Their new-found
real happiness is interrupted by a visit to the set by Jack's ex-wife ... Isabel can't help but work her magic to get rid of her, and to celebrate,
Jack throws a party at his fancy home. The party encourages more romance, with Isabel's dad Nigel and Iris (who is also a witch, but doesn't let anyone on
to this!) falling for each other, and Maria and Richie laying eyes on each other. Isabel is thrown, though, when Jack says in a speech that he is
grateful to Isabel for not using tricks on him, like his ex-wife did. Feeling guilty, Isabel confesses the truth to Jack at the party. At first he's
excited that she is an "amateur magician", but freaks out when he realises she is telling the truth. Isabel is offended by his reaction, and flies
off, but not before almost crashing into him on her broomstick.
Both Isabel and Jack now find themselves heartbroken. After her lovestruck father advises her to go home, wherever she's been happiest, Isabel resolves
to do that. Jack meanwhile, is brought to his senses by Uncle Arthur who makes him realise that all of his and Isabel's best moments together were real.
So Uncle Arthur drives Jack to Isabel's home' ... which turns out to be their on-set tv home. They talk, and Jack reminds Isabel that another witch
has manged to live a normal life - Samantha from 'Bewitched', and that they can work it out. Six months later, Jack and Isabel arrive at their new
house together, which is a replica of their tv house, and he carries her across the thresold ... whilst they are arguing about what Isabel
always wanted - normal things, such as whether the front garden was too bare. Jack says no, but as the camera zooms out, a blossom tree magically appears
in the garden!
"One of the points of Bewitched," says director/co-screenwriter Nora Ephron, "is that all the magic in the world is no
match for love.
Isabel: "I can't be normal because I'm a witch, I can't be a witch because I really wanna be normal!"
Isabel Bigelow is a witch. A sweet and deeply romantic witch, who wants to give up being a witch so she can be 'normal'
and find real love. But because of her witchy ways, she's completely naive and not at all used to the 'real world' she's
now living in. She's wants to be like everyone else, she wants friends and wants to go to the Coffee Bean where they can
discuss their problems that are completely unsolveable, she wants days where her hair is affected by the weather. Isabel
loves the little things in the real world, like dimming the lights up ... and down ... and up again, and opening cans of
cola. She doesn't much like cables though, and having to find where they all go. And for things like that, Isabel can't
help but revert back to the magic she was intending to give up. She promises it's the last time she'll use it though. As
she continues to use her magic, mostly to get Jack to like her, she realises it's going against what she wanted, and that
the attention she's getting from him through her spells doesn't count because it's not real. She begins to learn how to
deal with things in a more human, non-magical way, and is "secretly quite thrilled" when she calls Jack out on
his bad behaviour by yelling at him.
Nicole admits she can kind of relate to Isabel when she says that she wants a man who needs her, because she herself
likes to be needed. As for how she played Isabel, Nicole is keen to stress she didn't try to make Isabel like the original
Samantha - "It's a movie about making 'Bewitched,' so of course there are lots of references. But I never felt that
Isabel had to be Samantha, or Elizabeth for that matter."
Isabel: "I want a man who needs me. Because he is a completely hopeless mess!"
Nigel: "Oh no, you're taking about love aren't you?"
Isabel: "What do you suppose it's like!?"
Bewitched has an impressive cast, from Hollywood royalty Shirley Maclaine and Michael Caine, to popular funnymen
Will Ferrell and Steve Carrell. Nicole's leading man is Will Ferrell, who is known for his stint on SNL as well
as many Hollywood comedies of recent years, such as Wedding Crashers, Anchorman, Stepbrothers and
many more. Will is considered to be at the forefront of this generation's Hollywood comic actors. Many people point
out that Will and Nicole are an odd pairing, but the two got on well and thought they had good chemistry. Nicole enthused
about working with Will, saying "I know audiences love Will. He is one of the most genuine, lovely people and
he deserves that affection. He is just a sweetheart. He is so funny. The hardest thing as an actor is to laugh, to make
that sound real is hard, and he makes it easy."
In the part of Nigel Bigelow, Isabel's father, is British actor Michael Caine. Of almost 150 film credits from a
career spanning 5 decades, Michael Caine is most known for roles in Alfie, The Italian Job,
Get Carter, and more recently The Cider House Rules. He had previously worked with Shirley MacLaine on
Shirley stars as diva Iris Smythson in Bewitched, an actress who is hired to play
Samantha's mother, Endora, on the re-make. Shirley began her career in the 1950's, and has gone on to star in such well
known movies as as Terms of Endearment, Steel Magnolias, and The Apartment. She is a continuously
popular actress, and has recently made a memorable appearance on rom-com In Her Shoes. Of Shirley, Nicole
says they have more than acting in common - "I think because we've both got pale skin and red hair, we were sort of -
she said to me 'We've got things that connect us.'"
Rounding out the main cast were Kristin Chenoweth (as Maria), Jason Jason Schwartzman (as Ritchie), Heather Burns (as Nina),
Jim Turner (as Larry), Stephen Colbert (as Stu Robison), David Alan Grier (as Jim Fields), Carole Shelley (as Aunt Clara)
and Steve Carell (as Uncle Arthur). Kristin Chenoweth's character was reportedly written especially for her after Nicole
enjoyed her performance as Glinda in the Broadway musical Wicked.
Casting and Filming
Will Ferrell: "It's not that hard to play in love with Nicole Kidman!"
Bewitched was years in the making. Nicole had heard about the project being in development, and at a dinner
party with friends one night, her friend and fellow actress Carla Gugino asked her what was happening with the film. Nicole
replied that she didn't know, and Carla encouraged her to find out. Within a few weeks, Nicole had met with some
studio producers and the film started to progress!
Numerous different stars were attached to the project over those years. Jim Carrey was once in line to play Jack, and he
and Nicole were even photographed out together on business meetings about the project (needless to say the tabloids
thought they were doing something else!). In fact, so much time was spent developing this project that
IMDB.com lists over 30 actresses who
were at one point each considered for the role of Samantha!! They range from everyone such as Maggie Gyllenhaal,
Jennifer Aniston, Patricia Arquette, Cameron Diaz, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Connelly, Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts,
Reese Witherspoon, Charlize Theron, and Nicole's friends Naomi Watts and Renee Zellweger!
So what made the producers choose Nicole in the end? Producer Lucy Fisher says she thought Nicole would be the perfect
Samantha (adding that she was thankful Nicole agreed!) and that this would be an interesting character for Nicole, as
she is someone who's seen as the most beautiful woman so the idea of her playing a character that rejects that and wants
messy and sweaty would be new. The first thing that got Nicole interested in the project was people saing how much she
looked like the original Samantha, Elizabeth Montgomery, and then when Nicole found out Nora Ephron was involved she knew
it was something she had to do. Besides that, it's easy to see one reason why Nicole wanted to make this film - it's all
about falling hopelessly in love, something which Nicole has never been shy about her desire for. Plus, Nicole loves
the original tv series of Bewitched and used to watch the show when she was a kid - she remembers sitting down to
watch it at 6pm in Australia, from about the age of 8 or 9. She even admits that she wanted to marry Darrin, because he
was kind of a geek!
Director/co-screenwriter Nora Ephron and co-screenwriter Delia Ephron knew from the beginning that they didn't just want
to do a simple re-make of the tv series Bewitched, but instead came up with the idea of making a film about a
re-make of the series. They wanted to pay homage to Bewitched but give it a new angle. Nicole says she enjoyed
watching the Ephron sisters put together this new story, and Will Ferrell was pleasantly surprised by this new concept.
When casting Nigel Bigelow, Isabel's father, the producers knew they needed someone regal to match Nicole, and in their
minds, there was only one person that could fit those requirements - Michael Caine. Shirley MacLaine was cast partly
because of her resemblance to the original Endora in Bewitched. Nicole relished working with such esteemed actors
on this movie, joking that she "fell in love with" Michael Caine, adding that "you're not meant to fall in love with your
dad! But I just loved him, and so it was great to be able to spend time with him on set". The admiration wasn't
one sided though - Michael Caine was impressed by Nicole, saying that she "is an extraordinary combination of an actress,
a beauty, and a star. You may think you can get that very often, but you don't get all three. Plus she's an extraordinarily
nice person!" Shirley MacLaine adds that "Nicole is extraordinary, she is truly something ethereally talented. It's
wonderful to work with her. One of the finest actresses I've ever worked with," which is high praise coming from one of
the most respected actresses of her generation.
It's not a secret that Nicole and Will seem to be complete opposites, and a mis-matched couple, but Nora Ephron says
that she saw similarities between them right away when the two first met, as Nicole and Will were so goofy together,
and such a ying and yang. Delia Ephron adds that because they're so opposite it works beautifully. Nicole says that
Will just makes her laugh and that's just one of the great things in life. "If that means that's chemistry, then hey,
that's what that is!" she laughs. Nicole says that Will helped her come out of her shell whilst filming, as she wasn't
always confident about her comedic skills.
"It was really great to do something where I got to have fun," Nicole says, and by the accounts of those working on the
film, there were a lot of laughs involved! They had 2 weeks rehearsal, which Nicole says was clever and it helped developed
the need for improvisation and helped them to properly explore the scenes. The audition interview scene was actually
entirely based on an improvisation. Will Ferrell says of Nicole, that even though this was a comedy, Nicole had the same
approach as he did, by playing things real as opposed to trying to be funny, and playing it as the character would.
Filming took place in California, including in Los Angeles and Hollywood, between September and December 2004.
Nicole says she hopes the film is funny and entertaining, and pays due respect to the tv series.
Release & Reception
Bewitched was released on June 24th 2005 in the US, and made $20m on it's opening weekend there. It followed in the
UK and Europe in August and September. Nicole and Will Ferrell were put out in full force to promote the film, including
appearing on several major talk shows to promote the film, including Oprah and Letterman. The New York premiere for
the film was held on June 13th 2005, although unfortunately promotion of the film at the event was overshadowed by an
unfortunate incident - shortly before the premiere Nicole had learned that her close friend and make-up artist had died
suddenly that day, so when a photographer at the premiere shouted at her for not posing for pictures she -
uncharacteristically - went over to him and told him he was rude. Nicole fulfilled her duties though, and walked the
red carpet, looking beautiful in a Yves Saint Laurent dress. Ever the in-demand cover girl, Nicole also graced the
covers of Vanity Fair and Glamour in promotion of the film.
Critics were not kind to Bewitched though, with the general census being that it just wasn't funny. Some reviews
said various aspects worked but not together, others said some of the cast were good but the film itself didn't work.
Critics claimed this was one of Nicole's weaker films, and that she and Will Ferrell had no chemistry. Despite it
being made clear by the cast and crew that this was not a re-make, comparisons were still drawn to the original tv
series, and those comparisons were not always positive. Everyone has a different opinion though, and kinder critics
such as FilmJournal.com reasoned that the film was saved by it's talented cast. Reaction of fans and movie-goers was
similar, although perhaps more equal - some fans disliked the film, saying Nicole's talents were wasted, whereas
others relished seeing Nicole in something lighter and fun, and enjoyed her ditsy, cute character. Nicole herself said
that she had experienced positive feedback from lots of young people, and she appreciated this, saying "it's really,
really satisfying to make films for younger people, because their kind of enthusiasm for what you do is so unbridled.
You kind of sense it and feel it, and it's nice."
By the end of 2007 Bewitched had made $131m worldwide.
Anouk - It is a movie that can always cheer you up - without being boring.
Watch ... and then re-watch ... your favourite scenes, plus find some DVD extras and interviews.
Clip - Isabel at Bed, Bath & Beyond
1:57 mins | 4.70 MB | Site Exclusive
DOWNLOAD (downloaded times)
Clip - Isabel's Audition
3:35 mins | 9.38 MB | Site Exclusive
DOWNLOAD (downloaded times)
Clip - He's Being A Jerk!
3:19 mins | 9.38 MB | Site Exclusive
DOWNLOAD (downloaded times)
Deleted Scene - Isabel Gets Mad (Extended)
1:37 mins | 4.61 MB | Site Exclusive
DOWNLOAD (downloaded times)
Deleted Scene - The Wedding
0:40 mins | 2.77 MB | Site Exclusive
DOWNLOAD (downloaded times)
Featurette - Star Shots: Nicole Kidman
2:41 mins | 11.1 MB | Site Exclusive
DOWNLOAD (downloaded times)
Featurette - Why I Loved Bewitched
6:43 mins | 17.6 MB | Site Exclusive
DOWNLOAD (downloaded times)
View the Movie Of The Month Archives
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