Nicole Kidman bares all for V

It's Nicole, we are certain, but it's not Nicole as we have seen her before.

Reminiscent of her BMX Bandit days - when it comes to the big hair and unmistakable 80s styling that is - Nicole Kidman smoulders in front of Mario Testino's lens for the September issue of V Magazine, her modesty protected by nothing more than a peplum.

Topless, bottom bare, the tousle-haired actress screams 80s revival, working neon brights and oversized chunky hoop earrings for the fashion magazine and accompanying behind-the-scenes online video.

The 45-year-old mother-of-four looks anything but mumsy - the lens focused on her cleavage in one shot and on a hand wandering between her thighs, wearing nothing but a tangerine lace bra and knickers in another.

A pencil skirt featuring a comic acid face is as theatrical as her make-up and platinum hairdo. The shoot is neatly timed with the launch of forthcoming The Paperboy and the news that actress is to be honoured at the New York Film Festival.

The alabaster-skinned Sydney girl - who revealed that as a child she was not allowed into the sun between 10am and 3pm - suggested that the guise may be tapping into a side of her personality she'd more often like to explore.

"I would be more outlandish if I could," she told V magazine. "A lot of times you just don’t get the chance."

The shoot channels the strong character of The Paperboy's nyphomaniac Charlotte, a role that saw Kidman urinating on Zac Efron.

"The peeing thing, I didn't think was that weird, because I was in character," she said. "That was for the jellyfish. And for me it said so much about Charlotte. One, she's protecting him. Two, she’s tough as nails and no one else is going to pee on this guy. All of that made total sense to me. I just went for it and didn't overthink it."

But the Testino photos may also tap into the lesser-known, steamier side of the actress. "I probably had a strong sexuality as a child ... the hormones that are running through you at a really early age — they all started to surge because of the things I was reading."

It was those hormones that have informed some of her other work, too. She describes falling for film director Stephen Daldry — a move that saw her throw herself into filming The Hours as she split from Tom Cruise.

"If you're being completely drained in your personal life and you’re never being nourished there, it's very hard to make it work," she revealed. "But sometimes, if you meet the right person who will mine it, and you're open to being mined, it can really work. Stephen was able to mine me. I was crazy in love with him, and so I was like, I'll do whatever, because I love you. I gave him every part of me that I could give him."

Kidman is now married to singer Keith Urban, while the ink is barely dry on Cruise's divorce papers, his split from actress Katie Holmes finalised on Tuesday.

The story Nicole Kidman bares all for V first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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