When an actor plans to leave their comfort zone for a role, it’s not a bad idea to research the part as thoroughly as possible. But as Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart discovered preparing for their film Rabbit Hole, there’s a line you don’t want to cross, where simple imagination will do.
The film follows the wrenching trajectory of wife and husband trying to mourn the sudden death of a child, and both actors were looking for ways to understand the depth of that sort of grief.
“I actually tried to go to a grief group and they said, ‘No, you can’t come,’ because the emotions are too raw, and you can’t have someone in the group that hasn’t been through exactly the same thing, which I totally respected. And so that’s when I just go in. I find it from within,” Kidman said at a press conference Tuesday.
Perhaps she’s lucky the group turned her down.
“I did attend one grieving class and that was probably unethical, I have to say. Because you really feel like you’re taking advantage of people who are laying it all out there. And no matter what kind of actor or sociopath you are, you just feel like you’re a liar, so I didn’t do that again,” Eckhart added.
But never fear – when things got too bleak, the assembled press always seemed ready to lighten the mood with a penetrating question, such as “What is it like being at TIFF?” or “How much thought goes into what you wear?”
Kidman, an old pro, had a suitably deflating reply to the latter.
“The reason I’m wearing this jacket is that I’m sweating under here and I can’t take if off,” she said.