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Kidman honoured to play adoptive mum

AAP logoAAP 12/10/2016 By Lloyd Jones

Nicole Kidman says it was an honour to play the part of Tasmanian Sue Brierley in the film Lion to bring to the screen the power of an adoptive mother's unbreakable bond with her children.

The Australian actor joined British co-star Dev Patel on the red carpet in London's Leicester Square on Wednesday night at the premiere of the movie which is due for release in Australian cinemas in January and is already getting Oscar nods.

Australian actress Nicole Kidman (L) and British actor Dev Patel © Provided by AAP Australian actress Nicole Kidman (L) and British actor Dev Patel

Lion is based on the true story of five-year-old Indian boy Saroo who falls asleep on a train to end up in Kolkata, lost and far from home.

He ends up in an orphanage before being adopted by Hobart couple Sue and John Brierley, played in the film by Kidman and fellow Australian actor David Wenham.

Patel, the star of Slumdog Millionaire, plays the adult Saroo, who 25 years after moving to Australia feels compelled to find his original family and uses Google Earth to pinpoint his home village before returning there.

Kidman said on Wednesday the film was about the "essence of mothers and mothering" and "how that bond can be formed and once it's formed it can't be broken".

"I've played many mothers ... particularly now at this stage in my life my maternal instincts are pulsing through me in a very powerful way," she told journalists.

"So I love what this movie says about adoptive mothers, biological mothers, mother figures, mothering in general and the strength of good love and I just wanted to put that into the world."

In preparation for playing the role Kidman spent time in Hobart with Sue Brierley, who with her husband adopted two boys from Indian orphanages in the 1980s.

"She's very dear and she loves her boys ... I really wanted that to be apparent and to capture her maternal essence, " Kidman said.

"It was an honour to play her."

Patel, who is British of Indian descent, said playing the part of an Australian returning to India was like playing the closest thing to himself when he first went to India.

He also met Sue Brierley which made him realise he had to dig deep to do justice to a powerful story about mothers and sons.

The film also stars American actor Rooney Mara as Saroo's girlfriend and Sunny Pawar as five-year-old Saroo.

Kidman praised Davis for getting a great performance out of Sunny who had never acted before and didn't speak English.

"To direct a non-actor child into a performance like that ... that's when you know a great director."

The US show business publication Variety has tipped Lion to be among the 10 best picture nominees at the next Academy awards and also tips Kidman as a contender for best supporting actress.

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