Nicole Kidman is currently starring as a perfectionist Rosalind Franklin in Anna Ziegler's 'Photograph 51' at the Noël Coward Theater in London, the New York Times reports. The play has previously been staged in Hollywood and as an off-Broadway production.
The play focuses on the race in the early 1950s to untangle the structure of DNA, and Franklin's treatment by her male colleagues. Her work as an X-ray crystallographer provided a crucial image of DNA that led Francis Crick and James Watson to deduce its structure, though Franklin never received the same recognition as Crick, Watson, and her colleagueMaurice Wilkins, all of whom shared the 1962 Nobel Prize. Franklin died of ovarian cancer in 1958.
Reuters notes that "Franklin comes across as a satisfyingly complex character, simultaneously a cold and unyielding colleague, but also someone with real passion for her work who toils into the night in a basement laboratory at a bombed-out King's College London."
Kidman notes that she wasn't sure about returning to the stage after a long absence, but says that the play "resonated" with her. Her father, Antony Kidman, who died about a year ago, was a biochemist.
"That's very much a part of my desire to pay tribute to scientists of the world with this play," she tells Reuters. "My memory as a child is science labs."