Nicole Kidman, the Oscar-winning star, plays the role of pioneering British scientist named as Rosalind Franklin in the play Photograph 51. She said that her role in this play as a scientist is the acknowledgment of the work of her biochemist late father Dr. Antony Kidman. Her father died last year in September.
Photograph 51 refers to an X-ray diffraction image of DNA taken in 1952 during Franklin’s research with Maurice Wilkins at King’s College, London. The play, by Anna Ziegler, opens at the Noel Coward Theatre next week and sharing an interesting fact, Nicole said that the date of the play’s final preview performance i.e. 12 September will be the first anniversary of her father’s death.
It is worth mentioning that she received a standing ovation on the first night of her play, though it’s her first stage role since David Hare’s The Blue Room at the Donmar Warehouse (1998). Nicole Kidman even took time to recall some childhood memories about her sister playing in laboratories with “test tubes and microscopes” while her father worked.
Speaking about his role, Nicole said that, “Franklin was the only woman involved in the discovery of DNA’s double helix in 1953, but only received recognition years after her death.” She added, “This is my way of acknowledging him (my father) but also acknowledging the people in science who quietly do things and aren’t acknowledged a lot of the time. He knew I was going to do this. I like to think he’ll still be somewhere offering support.”
Nicole described her Saturday’s first preview as ‘real emotional’ explaining, “I think nerves get more as you get older. I would love to say they get less, but they don’t. My heart was pounding and that rush of adrenaline is an extreme feeling. Getting out there on the stage is the big thing, but once I was out there it was unbelievable.”