"Hemingway & Gellhorn"

Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen star in "Hemingway & Gellhorn."


Protecting her privacy helps Nicole Kidman be a better actress.

“Part of the reason of being an actor is that you like playing other people’s lives, and exploring all the psychologies in that and the emotions,” she told reporters recently while promoting the film “Hemingway & Gellhorn” (9 p.m. EDT Monday, HBO).

“Having my life be as private and quiet as possible is a way in which then I can go and play characters.”

In “Hemingway & Gellhorn,” Kidman plays the late war correspondent Martha Gellhorn, who had a memorable relationship with Ernest Hemingway (Clive Owen). Philip Kaufman directs (“The Right Stuff”).

Kidman and husband Keith Urban make their home in Nashville, Tenn., but aren’t known for being seen around town. Sightings of them are somewhat rare in a city full of celebrities.

The Best Actress Oscar winner (“The Hours”) tries to keep celebrity from clouding her work. But it isn’t easy.

“I like the privacy of my life. And I protect it quite vigilantly,” she said.

Gellhorn was inspiring for Kidman because of her strength and burning “bright.” Gellhorn and Hemingway came together under less-than-ideal circumstances, but eventually forged a bond that carried them from war correspondents to husband and wife.

Gellhorn is considered one of the greatest war correspondents of the 20th century.

“There’s times when I feel the need to play something that inspires me,” Kidman says, “and I think Martha inspires me.

“And, the same way, even playing, say, (writer) Virginia Woolf (in ‘Hours’), I learned from playing her. It was kind of a necessity in that, in the journey of my career, to find these women at times, and tell their stories.”

Other highlights for the week of May 27-June 2 (listings subject to change; check local listings):


“The Bob Newhart Show” (10 a.m., Hallmark Channel). The sitcom marks its 40th anniversary with a 12-hour marathon.

“National Memorial Day Concert” (8 p.m., PBS). Actors Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise are the co-hosts of the star-studded show. The National Symphony Orchestra will perform in the 23rd annual broadcast, airing live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.


“One Tree Hill” (10 a.m., SoapNet). An eight-hour marathon looks at the romantic paths of Nathan and Haley.

“Rags” (8 p.m., Nickelodeon). Keke Palmer stars in this new original movie, a modern-day rock twist of the Cinderella story.


“The Catalina” (8 p.m., CW). This new reality series follows the employees and guests at a Miami hotel.

“Hell’s Kitchen” (8 p.m., Fox). More contestants face the heat of chef Gordon Ramsay in the season-opener.

“Tosh.0” (10 p.m., Comedy Central). Another season of funny — and sometimes painful — web videos commences.

“Workaholics” (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central). In the season opener, the guys learn that drugs and a business trip are a bad combination.


“Dogs in the City” (8 p.m., CBS). It’s “Dog Whisperer” skewed to a younger audience.


“Mountain Men” (10 p.m., History). With reality-show cameras in tow, a man who has lived off the grid takes a group with him back to the mountains to see if they can survive winter his way.

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