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The Undoing: Yes, That Is Nicole Kidman Singing the Theme Song

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Nicole Kidman is no stranger to a musical moment. She did, after all, belt her way into the hearts and minds of many moviegoers with her Golden Globe-winning and Oscar-nominated turn as a doomed courtesan in Moulin Rouge!

But if you are not one of the Satine faithful with the soundtrack on constant rotation since 2001, you may have missed that it was Kidman herself crooning a soft rendition of “Dream A Little Dream of Me” over the opening credits of her new HBO thriller, The Undoing, as images of a young girl with a familiar mop of red curls blur by. So what, exactly, are the song stylings of Nicole Kidman trying to tell us here?

Dreamy shots of innocent kids playing over the opening credits of a high-class HBO thriller will be very familiar to fans of Kidman’s previous smash TV hit Big Little Lies.

But while the children shimmying their way through those opening credits are played by the young members of the Big Little Lies cast, this little redhead in The Undoing credits is nowhere to be seen on the actual show itself.

We’ll have to assume, then, that she’s meant to stand in as the young and innocent version of Kidman’s character Grace. Loss of innocence is very much a theme of both the show and the credits themselves—at one point the child’s bubble is literally burst.

Series director Susanne Bier told Vanity Fair’s Still Watching podcast that Grace’s fantasy world is exactly what’s undone by the events of The Undoing.

The lyrics of the enduring song also give us a little clue as to what we should expect from the series itself. The nearly century-old song—which has been popularized by the likes of Ozzie Nelson and Cass Elliott—centers on a besotted person who doesn’t want to leave the dream world they’ve built with their lover and return to less pleasant realities.

Stars fading, but I linger on, dear
Still craving your kiss
I’m longing to linger till dawn, dear
Just saying this

The sugar-sweet song and images of the innocent child might, in another context, be saccharine overload. But here with the dark themes of the show looming over it, the credits take on a sinister quality.

As for Kidman, despite her Moulin Rouge! bonafides, she’s not always exactly been comfortable as a singer. A couple of years ago, she sat down with co-star Ewan McGregor and recalled how intimidated she had been by his singing voice, which was something she wasn’t sure came as naturally to her. She later appeared only very briefly to give a musical turn in Rob Marshall’s 2009 The Nine.

In the intervening years, however, Kidman has been keeping the dust off her pipes in a handful of public appearances with her country music superstar husband Keith Urban who will pull an often reluctant-seeming Kidman into some bit of promo for his albums or onstage appearance. The couple satisfied both Urban and Moulin Rouge! fans alike just last year when they duetted on Elton John’s “Your Song” before the Big Little Lies Season 2 premiere.

Kidman will once again go full musical star this December when she, Meryl Streep, James Corden, Keegan-Michael Key, Kerry Washington, and Andrew Rannells bring the candy-colored Broadway musical The Prom to Netflix. Images of a sequin-bedecked Kidman shimmying and high kicking her way through the trailer is enough to send anyone back in time to the Moulin Rouge! days.

But first, it seems, Kidman has a murder to solve. The Undoing airs Sunday on HBO and the latest episode of Vanity Fair’s Still Watching podcast—featuring interviews with the cast and crew—will drop every Sunday night after the east coast broadcast.

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