Flashback: Nicole Kidman Was Rumored to Be Playing the White Witch in 2004

In early 2004, as fans eagerly awaited details about the upcoming movie adaptation of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, a bombshell story landed. It claimed Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge!, The Hours) had been cast as The White Witch. The Oscar-winner had reportedly been seen in New Zealand, where filming would take place.

The false report is now believed to be the result of a comical misunderstanding. Watch this video for more details:

Two months later, it was finally announced that Tilda Swinton had been cast in the role. Meanwhile, Kidman would go to play an antagonist in The Golden Compass (2007).

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2020 will mark 15 years since the release of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Each month, NarniaWeb will look back at notable news and rumors that sent fans reeling as they anticipated Narnia’s big screen debut. This first episode is available for all, but the rest of the series will be an exclusive for Friends and Knights of NarniaWeb.

8 Responses

  1. Glenwit says:

    When I heard how the rumor started….Andrew Adamson location scouting in NZ and someone spotted him and thought he was Nicole Kidman….I almost spit coffee everywhere.
    That is just hilarious.
    Historically, I have preferred relatively unknown actors for roles like this, but sometimes a big name can truly knock a performance out of the park in an unexpected way (Heath Ledger as the Joker comes to mind here). It’s definitely a double edged sword, but I think it depends on the role.

    • Cleander says:

      Wait, that’s seriously how it got started? That’s hilarious!! XDXD
      I’d heard about stories about this rumor when I first joined Narniaweb.

      • Skilletdude says:

        Nicole Kidman probably would have been adequate in the role. I think at the time, though, most of the fans wanted an actress who wasn’t as recognizable, and that’s what we ultimately got with Tilda Swinton.

        Yes, Barbara Kellerman was too loud, and I think Swinton was too timid. What approach would Kidman have taken had the rumor been true? Interesting to think about.

    • Tumnus says:

      I agree, in 2005 I knew very little about Tilda Swinton while I’ve seen Nicole Kidman in films since the 80’s. She certainly could have pulled off the role, but for a Narnia film I want to be absorbed in the story to the greatest extent possible and a star would distract from that some.

  2. JFG II says:

    I hope whomever is cast in the new Narnia adaptations are good actors, regardless of their notoriety. Or love from fans.
    I’d be interested if the lead kid from ‘jojo rabbit’ was cast as 12-year-old Digory Kirk, even though the actor is gaining fame monthly – and really, NO kid could play him perfectly, and the kid actors from ‘jojo rabbit’ were phenomenal.
    But I would love the actress cast as The Witch to knock our socks off, someone we fans would not pick but is scarily perfect for Jadis.

    • Keeper of Lantern Waste says:

      I’d like Cate Blanchette as Jadis. Probably too expensive but dang I think she’d be awesome!

      Incidentally, did you enjoy Jojo Rabbit? I wanted to see it but was too busy

      • JFG II says:


        It would be awsome if she played Jadis, since she’s already played a [good] witch and an [evil] emperess before, both to glorious effect.


        7.5/10 I was both very entertained and very moved by it, but the tone was all over the place: Sometimes it’s hilarious, sometimes it’s deadly serious. Sometimes it’s muddled and murky in intent.

        (I’m not related to anybody or anything involved in WWII Europe, so it’s not to personal to me. )

        Not everyone will like it. Some people will hate / dismiss it as being too nice towards nazis, even though the movie exists to be a smack-down of nazi-ideology. It’s good. Maybe even great.