The Orlando Sentinel website have recently posted two fantastic interviews with Nicole, both of which I’m posting below. In the first one she talks a bit about how The Danish Girl is progressing, and this enlightens us as to why it’s taking so long to get made – and may take a bit longer!
Kidman on ‘The Danish Girl,’ and ‘My life’ in country music.
Here’s “Rabbit Hole” director John Cameron Mitchell’s take on Nicole Kidman, where she is in her life and how that helped him in his film with her, a movie based on David Lindsay-Abaire’s play about parents coping with grief (or the lack of it) over the death of their young son.
“She’s 43. She has a new child. She’s in a happy relationship, with her feet firmly on the ground. And that gives her room for a rawer and more unadorned performance than we’ve seen from her before.”
Kidman says she went to dark places in this performance that many actresses fear.
“I didn’t want to shy away from her anger and her reasons for her anger. I had to exist in that place for a time and I knew it was going to be really painful. But I wanted to go there because of the people who are, in real life, going through this. I wanted to put myself into their shoes, even though I was only acting, just to do justice to it.
Keith (Urban, her husband) was so good through all of this. But I was obviously hitting something in my subconscious. And that feels necessary, if you’re going to do justice to what people really go through. If I’m not doing that, I’m not hitting a nerve deep down in my own soul which is what I am supposed to be doing.
“Strangely, when we were doing some scenes, there was so much emotion available, it was almost as if we could do take after take and it was always there. That doesn’t happen very often. Even in the most emotional scenes, you expect the well to run dry.
“The scene where Howie and Becca fight over him thinking she’s erased a video he had of their son? We did that for 12 hours straight. It got more and more raw. Every take, these emotions would come pouring out. It’s got to be the material and the fact that I have a young child coming together in my head, even though I’m just acting.”
“Rabbit Hole” opens at The Enzian on Friday.
For Kidman, there are plans to be made.
“I’m going to do an HBO movie with Phil Kaufman based on Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn. That’ll be fun.”
“We’re trying to raise the money for ‘The Danish Girl.’ That’s been so hard. But ‘Rabbit Hole’ took five years to get made, so a movie about A Danish transsexual? Even more controversial, oeven more difficult material? It’s going to take a while. I figure ten years for that one.
“But otherwise, my life, these days? Kids and tour buses and country music.”
Kidman dares to go down the ‘Rabbit Hole’ of a grieving mom
Among actresses, even true believers of method acting, there are places most dare not go in putting themselves in their character’s shoes.
And high up on that list is what you let yourself imagine when playing someone whose child has died. For an actress and a mother, that’s dangerous ground.
“I felt almost superstitious in refusing to think about my own kids,” Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly said when she had to play a grieving mom in 2007′s “Reservation Road.”
“You can’t take that sort of role home with you.”
Nicole Kidman, also a mom and an Oscar winner, confronted this dilemma with her latest film, “Rabbit Hole,” playing a woman who has emotionally shut down after losing her young son.
“I suppose there’s a sense, when you’re playing a part like this, where you think ‘I’m keeping the work and thoughts of my own family separate. I’m doing really well,’” Kidman says from the rural Tennessee home she shares with husband Keith Urban, daughter Sunday Rose and her children from her first marriage. “But I would wake up, sobbing. So that didn’t happen for me. I wouldn’t be able to breathe.”
Her “Rabbit Hole” director, John Cameron Mitchell, says Kidman is “more adventurous than most of your big stars.” But even Kidman “had to separate her home life from this character. She didn’t have her child on the set. Her husband would pop by, but she kept it all separate.”
“Rabbit Hole,” opening Friday at the Enzian Theater in Maitland, is about a married couple who are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to dealing with their son’s death eight months ago. Becca (Kidman) is frosty, ready to move on and not openly grieving. Howie (Aaron Eckhart) isn’t grieving either and sees something wrong with that. So he seeks solace in a support group.
“This is about how you live after going through something we all go through, hopefully not with our children,” Mitchell says of the film based on David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. “Stories are now our tools for dealing with grief. Religion fills that purpose for some, but increasingly, the rest of us need and use movies, plays and books — stories — to help us cope.”
“You’ve got all these other points of view,” Kidman says. “Becca’s mother [Dianne Wiest] is coping with religion, Howie with group therapy. The script treats them all as valid. This gets at where people seek and find solace in a moment like this — science or faith. David found all these big themes and worked them into a very intimate story.”
Kidman, 43, was drawn to this story — she worked for five years to find a director, get it financed and filmed — as she often is, by the lure of playing a character who isn’t, on the surface, all that likable. She compares Becca to the ruthlessly ambitious Suzanne in her breakthrough film, “To Die For” (1995).
“I get so emotional, protective of Becca,” Kidman says, “when people say how angry she makes them or how they don’t understand her. ‘She’s so cold. How can she be so cold?’ Noooo. You don’t get it. She lives with this loss every waking second of the day, in that house, with his fingerprints on the door, his room, his smell. Becca is this open wound. She has to have some barriers, some protection that she can throw up around herself. Otherwise, she would never get out of bed.
“Just to get up in the morning and pretend everything’s OK? That’s ‘just fake it until you make it’ time. She is SO not OK, and even though it happened eight months ago, it’s like it just happened yesterday”
Mitchell said Kidman endorsed him as director even though his earlier work (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Short Bus”) gave little indication of the sensitivity called for in this film.
“I felt that I knew it, emotionally,” Mitchell says. “I lost a brother when I was a teenager, and just reading the screenplay, those feelings came rushing back really hard. There was unfinished business for me, doing this film, thanks to those feelings. I told this to Nicole in a single telephone conversation, and she took a chance and went for it.”
There is Oscar talk, both for the film and for Kidman, who has been praised high and low by critics, with Steven Whitty of The Newark Star-Ledger noting that “you never regret that Nicole Kidman ended up being the actress who got this made.”
“Rabbit Hole” is being shown to parental support groups. “We want the audience to go through the ‘Rabbit Hole’ feeling cleansed, the feeling you get after a wake, a few laughs, and a good cry,” said Mitchell, who described making the film as “reopening, and then healing, an open wound” left by the death of his younger brother.
And Kidman hopes “that this film reminds people, especially those still grieving, that they’re not alone. There’s no ‘solution’ to taking this pain away. But you’re not alone.”