After some prompting from Lars von Trier, Nicole Kidman confirmed yesterday in Cannes that she will star in his next two films, reprising the role of Grace, the heroine of competition entry Dogville.

Von Trier revealed also that the third film in his U.S.A. trilogy - all of which will shoot in the same style - will be called Wasington, and he hopes to start shooting the second, Manderlay, this winter - depending on Kidman's schedule.

"Yes, I'm making the trilogy with you, Lars,' said Kidman, after persistent prodding by Von Trier in front of the world's media. 'That's what we're doing - that's my commitment to you.'

Later, the Danish director explained why he pushed Kidman into making the announcement at the Palais press conference yesterday. 'I can do it with three Graces, but I cannot do it with two.'

Kidman's busy schedule, however, may present issues. Having just wrapped on Birth, she is set to start on The Stepford Wives next, followed by Mr And Mrs Smith opposite Brad Pitt.

Grace's story continues in America's south during the 1930s and will be told in the same pared-down theatrical style. 'I believe I have matured enough to not change my style with every film,' said the director, who has never been to the United States and has no plans to go. 'This is not a comment on how America is, but on how America is in my head,' he said, in response to charges that the film is anti-American.

Von Trier initially wanted to get The Star Spangled Banner played on the red carpet last night, although festival officials claimed no formal request was made.

In the end, the ceremony kicked off with Threepenny Opera's Pirate Jenny, leaving Dogville itself to finish with Bowie's Young Americans and a series of photographs depicting poverty in America during its closing credits.

Kidman, meanwhile, despite her busy slate added that she plans to stop working eventually. 'I hope I have many things ahead of me rather than just this life,' she said. 'This is a burnout life and at some stage you have to step away from it.'