The “Awful” Role Nicole Kidman Couldn’t Wait to Finish

Nicole Kidman, who stars alongside Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and season two newcomer Meryl Streep in Big Little Lies, likely took on season one’s most emotionally and mentally taxing role.

Playing the victim to a physically and emotionally abusive husband (Alexander Skarsgard), some of Nicole Kidman’s scenes as Celeste Wright were utterly unbearable to watch. However, despite traversing territory that many dare not venture into, the actress does not cite this role as one of her most difficult.

Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman | Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Turner

The one-time Academy award winner and four-time nominee, Nicole Kidman is most known for her starring roles in The Hours, Rabbit Hole, Lion, Moulin Rouge!, and Cold Mountain.

The versatile actress – one able to spread her wings to conquer comedic and dramatic roles alike – has walked away from certain opportunities in the past, for she will not “jeopardize” her family for a role destined to destroy her, which brings us quite nicely the point of this article.

Nicole Kidman talks ‘The Destroyer:’ “An awful place to exist in”

During her interview with The Talks, Nicole Kidman discussed her role in The Destroyer, explaining why it was such an “unpleasant experience” Though thrilled to accept the role, it took a lot out of her.

In The Destroyer, Nicole Kidman plays a police detective who reconnects with individuals from her past, previously involved in an undercover assignment, to make peace in her life. Nicole Kidman’s performance was adulated, for it was “smart, committed, and utterly absorbing” according to The Guardian.  

Though going on to snag a Golden Globe nomination, Nicole Kidman explained that the character lived in such a dark place, which is why she “was so happy” when she finished filming. She told The Talks:

“When I finished filming, I was so happy — as was my family because that was an awful place to exist in. It really was unpleasant. I didn’t like being in her body and her soul for that period of time, I just wanted to go back to my own life. This character in particular, I couldn’t perform it, I just had to be it.”

The Talks

Nicole Kidman goes onto explain that embodying such a character not only draws on her reserves but also those of her husband and children.

‘Big Little Lies’ star Nicole Kidman will walk away from roles for her family

During her interview, Nicole Kidman explained that, as a woman who puts her family first, she has walked away from roles that seemed too emotionally and physically taxing (depending on where was in life when the role came across her desk). When discussing her emotional limits, she stated:

“This is more to do with what can my family give, actually. If I was single and on my own and just working, I could probably go to many places and do many things most of the time. But I am not, and there’s a family here that is first and foremost the most important thing. I will not jeopardize that family. So sometimes there’s some give and take with it, it can’t all be perfect, but overall, if it’s going to stress the family too much, then it can’t be done.”

The Talks

Nicole Kidman explains that she has denied roles that have gone on to win major awards and gain critical and audience praise alike. She states that she has a pretty strong grasp on what her mind and body can take, and what she can request of her family. Taking on a role, such as that in The Destroyer, is no easy feat, and you do not always walk away unscathed.