Nicole Kidman’s kids weren’t big fans of her latest transformation for a role.
ET’s Nischelle Turner caught up with the 51-year-old Destroyer star and the film’s director, Karyn Kusama, to discuss Kidman’s Golden Globe-nominated transformation into former undercover cop Erin Bell. Kidman is nearly unrecognizable in the film — with short, dark hair, a pallid complexion and dark under-eye circles — so much so that it “scared” her two children with husband Keith Urban, Sunday, 10, and Faith, 7.
“They were a bit scared. They found it scary, yeah,” Kidman admits. “[My character is]… angry and she’s defensive and she’s on a mission and she has a lot of rage, but she also has a lot of pain and heart and is trying to fix the damage and heal things… I think that’s very emotional, but it’s a good story too.”
For the role, Kidman completed makeup tests, one of which was at her home. That, she says, made her transformation into the character all the more real.
“When it becomes in your home and you just kind of there, it’s very gritty,” Kidman notes. “What happens is it becomes authentic, so then it just becomes, like, oh this is very real to me. I’m in this skin. I’m in this person. I’m not standing on the outside trying to make this happen.”
The complete transformation, Kusama reveals, was in large part thanks to Kidman, who wanted to disappear into the character.
“Nicole said something at the very beginning of all of our creative conversations that struck me and was part of why I knew I had to work with her,” Kusama shares. “Which was, ‘I don’t want to look like Nicole Kidman. I don’t even want people to see me. I need people to only see Erin Bell.'”
“That takes a tremendous amount of bravery to kind of jump off that cliff with the director,” Kusama adds. “We could have had very different ideas of what the character looks like, but, in fact, Nicole was so open to exploring the fact that this was a character who wore a lot of pain and a lot of damage and despair in her physical self. It affected the way she spoke, and the way she walked, and the way she thought. You know, the way she reasoned with the world.”
For Kidman, she decided to work off her character’s physical appearance in order to internalize what she was going through.
“I just had to move inside her and the exterior I sort of left up to Karyn,” Kidman says. “I’m now just going to exist in it and out of that came the movement and the voice and all the things that you would think are done by your brain, but were actually done because of the heart and the inside.”