In a way, Nicole Kidman’s year as a film actress in 2018 has scarcely started, with only one of her three major movie roles having been released: Boy Erased bowed in November with Aquaman and Destroyer on the way, on Dec. 21 and 25, respectively.
Thursday morning’s Golden Globes nominations, though, made Kidman’s amazing 2018 even better with a nod for Best Actress in a Drama, for her role in Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer as Erin Bell, a tough-as-nails alcoholic detective whose rough exterior hides a maze of trauma that she’s determined to make amends for. EW spoke with Kidman about her nomination, her fantastic year in film, and championing women in the industry.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How are you feeling right now?
NICOLE KIDMAN: Just, I mean, so grateful that the Hollywood Foreign Press recognizes these sort of films. To have Lucas Hedges nominated for Boy Erased, that’s a great thing. And also for Destroyer, that was so difficult to get it made. And now to have been acknowledged in this way, I share it with Karyn Kusama, who’s a female director who has worked so hard to get this film made and it’s such an untraditional female character on screen and for it to be acknowledged in this way is fantastic.
Your performance in Destroyer is so different from everything else you’ve done this year. What are you hoping that audiences get from this character?
I just hoped that they are fascinated by her and that it’s compelling. I loved that it’s so dangerous. You know? And I love that’s been recognized. It really helps the film and makes films that are tough to get made, tough to get seen, that don’t have the same trajectory as big studio films. So to have their support is just incredible. I’ve put so much into this, it really was low budget filmmaking and it’s my passion project.
You’ve talked a lot about working with Karyn and unfortunately there were no women nominated for directing this year. What do you think about that? What’s your partnership with Karyn like?
I share this nomination with her, it’s our baby together. It’s a huge acknowledgement for her as well and for us. And it was a female crew primarily, so that’s a big acknowledgement. And we’re trying to open doors and this is a way to do it.
You mentioned Lucas Hedges. What are some other performances that you loved this year?
And also Troye Sivan for his song [“Revelation” from Boy Erased, which was nominated for Best Original Song]. I love that it got nominated. So many performances. I can’t single any out, so so good. I think that’s what’s so good about the Hollywood Foreign Press is that they acknowledge so many different films and performances and it’s just lovely to be included.
You have such a transformation between your two big roles this year in Boy Erased and Destroyer to say the least. What were the different challenges going between those two performances?
They are both mothers but they are so different. One is so damaged and they have both caused damage, but one of them is able to be accountable, one is deeply affectionate. Martha Conley is a real person, so I’m sad not to have been [nominated for Boy Erased] to acknowledge her, but in some ways just getting the nomination [for Destroyer] acknowledges her as well. And Destroyer, I’m just so thrilled because she was a woman that is very difficult and very complicated, but she’s still a mother who’s trying to atone for her mistakes. I find that deeply emotional and the heart of Destroyer is between the mother and the daughter.
What was the transformation process like for Destroyer? You look unrecognizable.
It was all-encompassing. I just had to go about with a lot of emotional weight and physical weight. It took a long time every morning. Bill Corso is a genius makeup artist and so I’m going back and forth between them and was hard. The map of the destruction on her body and her face was so much a part of it, but it had to come from the emotional destruction and the self-sabotaging. She’s in that place of sabotaging herself. She’s so ashamed of what she’s done throughout her life and she carried that both physically and emotionally. So it was the toughest role I’ve ever had to do.
Are you and Karyn planning on working together again?
We’d love to! It also hopefully just continues the search for more complicated women on screen and so for female directors to get their films made.
What other kinds of things are you working on to help women directors and writers?
I have a show [The Expatriates] right now with an Australian screenwriter, Alice Bell. I’m just trying to find female writers, female directors. I’m about to go into The Undoing [TV series] with Susanne Bier. And Andrea Arnold on Big Little Lies season 2. I’m trying to champion women.