Nicole Kidman never saw David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Rabbit Hole” debut on Broadway.
But after she read the opening night reviews, she phoned her producing partner to get on a plane to New York and take a look.
The result: The Oscar-winning actress is producing and starring in the film version, a move that’s already won her Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice and Screen Actors Guild Best Actress nominations, not to mention more Oscar buzz.
In “Rabbit Hole,” married couple Becca and Howie (Kidman and Aaron Eckhart) have yet to recover from their young son’s accidental death and, eight months later, are increasingly isolated from each other.
“She’s so confused and in so much pain,” said Kidman, 43.
“There’s only a certain amount of time the world allows you to grieve and in eight months you’re expected to pull yourself together.
Down the ‘Rabbit Hole’
“Because of where she is, she doesn’t know what she’s doing. When you’re that grief-stricken, it’s so much pain still, it’s like it happened yesterday and she’s pretending she’s OK but she’s not. Her behavior shows that: ‘Please don’t touch me.’ She’s just swimming in this grief.”
Kidman, married to singer Keith Urban and the mother of three, said “Rabbit Hole” is a parent’s worst nightmare.
“That doesn’t mean it’s not a story that shouldn’t be told. When you put it onscreen it makes you more compassionate; it certainly has for me. And you don’t feel so alone.”
Filming was intense and intensely emotional, especially a climactic scene in which Becca unleashes all her pent-up fury at Howie.
“This is the rawest place possible. Because it’s relentless, it’s every day and you’re living with it. As an actor I don’t want to go exist in this place, and at the same time it’s honoring the story,” she said.
But the film is ultimately optimistic.
“I didn’t want it at the end with everyone shattered. I wanted some sort of hope, a way to endure this.”
‘(“Rabbit Hole” opens Christmas Day.)