On a steamy hot afternoon turning into twilight harbourside at the glorious Sydney Botanical Gardens, a line of mixed press and photographers wait for the arrival of Australian screen royalty, Nicole Kidman, to walk the red carpet before her film Destroyer premieres at St George Open Air cinema.
Having spoken to her a few times off the record at various movie events, I always found Nic to be nothing short of honest in conversation and fabulous as a person. An independent low budget production, Destroyer doesn’t hold back on action suspense trauma with an unrecognisable Nicole at the core with a dark Golden Globe nominated portrayal as burnt out cop, Erin Bell. Dressed in white wearing offset sparkly heels, Nicole slinked down an exclusive path onto the carpet waving to an adoring crowd. When it came to my interview, that smile direct into my eyes and laugh as she greeted me made my January.
Erin Bell is complex, was she a role that kept you up at night?
NK – I was so exhausted. It wasn’t she kept me awake, it was more she depleted me. There’s a stamina required when doing this kind of filmmaking. It is tough in a sense you don’t have a lot of money. Constantly on the fly down in the trenches, gritty filmmaking.
How deep did you go into her mind?
NK – Playing something this powerful is tough. The same goes with Celeste in ‘Big Little Lies’, it requires strength. There’s certain roles where you go, you really have to go there. I am going to have to push myself to places I don’t necessarily want to go and places I have never been before, then existing in them. For me it’s not so much as a performance as it’s a state of being.
The authentic LA street locations must have been a challenge.
NK – Obviously we didn’t have the funding to go build sets so yes it helped me get into character, sure. When shooting on location like this, what you see is what you get (laughs).
Technically the role would have probably been written for a male lead a few years ago, but you really nailed it.
NK – Thank you Shane, except this film became very much about a mother and a daughter, it’s about atonement. As much as people often say, it’s a male dominated genre, but in terms of this female character, I see it as deeply female. Strong feminine instincts because so much of the mistakes in her life has been to do with her daughter and mothering. Was exciting to have this opportunity working with Director Karyn Kusama.
DESTROYER – Rated MA, 121 min
Screening in Australian cinemas March 2019 (Madman Distribution)
Shane A. Bassett