Jane Campion on directing Nicole Kidman in TV thriller Top of the Lake

“I’ve wanted to meet her for as long as I can remember,” says Kirsten Dunst of Twilight star and erstwhile actress Rachel – a couple of hours before the Australian director brings her latest work, Top of the Lake: China Girl, to A-list UK audiences.

“I even saw her on stage once and I went, ‘Oh, she’s really pretty’. I remember thinking, ‘She’s never going to work again’, and then she did.’ It’s like, ‘What? She was already an actress? She’s a pretty girl.’”

Kirsten Dunst (left) and Nicole Kidman in “Australia” (1993)

So, during the seven-week shooting of Top of the Lake: China Girl, in Wellington, New Zealand, it was like old times, with Kirsten and Jane’s two-time best-actress Oscar nominee together again – in a quite literal sense, as Kirsten was watching Jane in a scene. The pair had been working together in the US together for six years, though they’d never really been paired together before – only ran into each other backstage, which then led to seeing each other again in a film.

“Kirsten and I have great chemistry,” says Jane, “and so does Nicole. If a film has a good central cast, you just make them the most they can be, they seem to fit in really well.”

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