Nicole Kidman Interprets Her Career
by Brad Balfour
Originally posted April 17, 2005.
With her previous film released being the odd and controversial Birth, Oscar winner Nicole Kidman has proven to be unpredictable, very much her own person, not unlike the character she plays in her most recent film, The Interpreter, directed by Sydney Pollack-which premiered at the 4th annual Tribeca Film Festival. Even in interviews, she proclaims her independence from the Hollywood mentality and lifestyle and in this film her character displays a conviction and determination that seems very Nicole Kidman-like.
You’re very high on The Interpreter; what was it like working on this film?
I got to work with Mr. (Sean) Penn, who was great. It’s a thriller set at the U.N. so we got to shoot there for a month. We were sitting in the General Assembly and after a few weeks we were a little blasé about it. Can you believe that? I was like lying down, falling asleep on one of the chairs, and I went, “Whoa, I’m in the General Assembly.” When we did The Peacemaker we weren’t even allowed inside. For this, we were inside.
Since your divorce [from Tom Cruise] you’ve taken on far more risky films and roles than you had before.
I wasn’t interested, really, beforehand in exposing myself. I was in an intense relationship. I didn’t need to have any other way of expressing myself. It didn’t interest me. Now, [acting] is something that I give to in a very full way. I think working with [noted director Stanley] Kubrick, he really took me and shook me up. He would say to me, “Nicole, you have to honor this and honor your art and not squander it,” which I’m so grateful for. [Director] Jane Campion said it to me; Stanley said it to me. When someone you admire to that degree-that you believe in-wants that from you, then you listen. Stanley really encouraged me to be bold. So I hope that I still get to do that.
Your choices seem very smart. Is that simply instinctual?
It’s just completely instinctual. I mean, I do have people around me who say, “Don’t do that” or “Do do this.” But ultimately it’s my [decision]. I make huge mistakes. I think I’m sort of weaving my way through, navigating my way through.
Can you just snap out of a role, or out of a scene immediately? Or does the character stay with you when you get home?
I think you exist in a limbo. Afterwards…? It depends. It’s different every time. There are times when I get physically ill. There are other times when I just have to run away and be completely by myself or with my kids and just put everything perspective. There are other times when… I wish there was a rhyme or reason to it. That’s why when I make the choices I make I never have any idea what I want to do next.
You seem so much stronger and happier now than at the time of say Portrait of a Lady. Are you stronger and happier?
I’m happy at the moment. I’m very happy at the moment. I don’t know how strong. I can feel terribly weak, but I would hope that there’s an inner strength. I have two kids. You have to be [strong] when you’re responsible for two other lives.
You seem to be working non-stop now…
Yeah, but last year, I had two months in Australia, where I went and just swam and did some fun things. I disappeared. I left a message on my cell phone saying, “I am absolutely un-contactable. Don’t even try.” And I put on my email, “Will not be available until…” That’s a great thing to do and I really advise it. We’re all so available now.
There seems to be such a hubbub about you, you’ve become so huge. Do you feel like your life is yours or does it get too overwhelming?
There are times when I get amazed at it. I went to Paris and stayed in the Coco Chanel Suite by myself, in the bed, and I went, “Oh, my gosh.” I called my sister and said, “I wish you were here. We could really enjoy this.” But at the same time I have a little cottage just outside of Sydney where I go, and I spend the happiest times of my life there. I can walk on the beach and be with my kids. If I didn’t have that, then I would feel quite different. There’s something about when you’re alone and you’re not sharing it with somebody else, when you don’t have a partner, so that then you’re kind of struggling at times to go, “Whew, I’ve just got to keep it up.” I’ve got very, very close friends and I’ve got a great, very together family who are willing to get on a plane and be with me. That’s rare. When you just say, “Hey, I need someone to hold my hand” [someone will be there]. It sounds really, really simplistic, but sometimes the power of that is extraordinary.