By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—Academy Award winning actress Nicole Kidman (“The Hours”) is busy promoting her new movie in which she plays unstable parent to “Alice in Wonderland’s” Mia Wasikowska in the psychological thriller “Stoker.”
The daring fortysomething actress spoke about the creepy and disturbing maternal character she plays in the movie. And it isn’t her first. Remember “Birth?” Communicating with her Korean director Chan-wook Park wasn’t easy, she admits, but she managed.
After scoring Golden Globe nominations this year for her daring performances in “The Paperboy” and the TV movie “Hemingway & Gellhorn,” the versatile actress is signed to play another Hollywood glamour gal—the legendary Grace Kelly, who went on to become Monaco’s princess in a biopic set for release next year.
Dressed exquisitely in a peach colored jacket and matador-like pants ensemble accented by a white blouse, the strawberry blond spoke about her latest turn as a mad mom.
Q: What was it about your character that drew you to play her in “Stoker?”
Kidman: Primarily it was the combination of the cast and being spearheaded by director Park. I knew his films and I wanted to work with him. I just thought the combination of this script with his direction would be really unusual. I saw it for the first time at Sundance last week and I was like, “Wow,” which is a great reaction to have – a good wow, not a bad wow. (She chuckles.)
Q: Was it difficult to communicate with your director since he doesn’t speak English?
Kidman: There are times when you have to clarify words because obviously particular words mean certain things. And so a lot of times it would be me just going, “Is this exactly what he wants?” In translation, things can get lost. So I was just very specific with him.
Q: Can you talk about your first impressions when you read the script by Wentworth Miller, who is better known as an actor?
Kidman: I had to read it a couple of times to understand it just because it’s got a lot of subtext and layers and stuff, so I just wanted to kind of absorb what the overall feeling of it was. And I think the strength of director Park is his atmosphere. He creates incredible atmosphere. And this script relies heavily on the language of the images because there’s not a lot of dialogue and so the cinematic language of it has to be very, very strong. When I had a meeting with him, we talked about all of that and it was just extraordinary how detailed and precise in what he knew he wanted to say it with.
Q: Was there a memorable moment during filming?
Kidman: I loved the dinner scenes. I loved the scenes around the table because there’s humor in them as well. I actually don’t think that (my character) Evie’s evil. I felt like she’s misunderstood. No, I feel like she’s just starved for love and she’s got a child that she doesn’t connect with. Director Park, when we first met, said to me, “Ever since you’ve held this baby, this baby’s never wanted to be held.” And that’s an amazing way to start building the relationship of a mother and child because that’s horrifying as a mother if your baby doesn’t want to be held by you. So I think that the thrust of her is that she’s never – this child that she’s had just doesn’t connect with her and so she’s always trying to in some way connect. I mean obviously that’s gotten broken down over years and years and India (Wasikowska’s character) had a much stronger connection with her father. They hunted together and Evie didn’t like to hunt. So that was fascinating to me. And then also, I sort of came up with my own thing in terms of she’s just very starved for love and that creates a particular personality after a while – being starved of being touched and held. She’s not evil.
Q: Your character was kind of having a hard time with her daughter, but how about yourself? How do you have fun with your daughters?
Kidman: I have many different aged daughters, so there are different fun things to do with each of them.
Q: When was the last time you had a fun time with your daughter?
Kidman: At my house, this morning.
Q: You and Mia have an intense confrontation scene. What was that like?
Kidman: I mean, that’s a really intense sort of – I love the scene because it’s so unusual. When I first read it, I remember reading it and I never expected it to end with that line of “I can’t wait to watch life tear you apart.” So, from where it starts to where it ends, that’s an amazing monologue. But to make it, because of the way director Park shoots which is really intense and close, we did it a number of different ways, but we shot it in one shot, which is fantastic as an actor to not be cut up and edited. It just gets to play out that way. So I just was very, very grateful that he had the vote of confidence in me to be able to do it because it’s a really weird, weird scene.
Q: You play Princess Grace and your good friend Naomi Watts plays Princess Diana in upcoming movies. Are they coming out at the same time?
Kidman: No. I don’t think they’re coming out at the same time. I think they’re very different films that obviously, we’ll see, you know. We both had fun. We’re just lucky to have the roles.
Q: Are you watching “American Idol” this season? (Her husband Keith Urban is a judge.)
Kidman: Yeah, of course! (She laughs.)