December 2002
The Hours : Moving Forward on My Own : An Interview with Nicole Kidman

Interviewed by Wilson Morales

The Hours : Moving Forward on My Own : An Interview with Nicole Kidman

On the heels of being nominated last year for “Moulin Rouge”, the Oscar buzz is circling once again for Nicole Kidman. Besides MR, she also had “The Others” which was financially and critically successful. The Oscar buzz this year is for a role many may not recognize her in because her appearance is totally different. In a dream cast, Nicole is paired with Oscar Winner Meryl Streep and Julianna Moore in “The Hours. In an interview with, Ms. Kidman talks about how taking this role was good for her.

WM: Did you think you could portray Virginia Wolf?

NK: I was very frightened because I thought if this doesn’t work I am going to really have egg on my face. But the director just said, ‘be bold’ and basically took my hand and guided me in terms of saying, ‘you can do it’ because I didn’t think that I could. Once I started to research her I just fell in love with her. This woman is such a magnificent creature. The way in which she had this enormous intellect and then this extraordinary agility and to combine the two; her emotional agility with her unrivaled intellect creates this bubbling chemistry. I’m just fascinated by her.

WM: This role came at a time when things were roller coasting in your life. Was taking this role good for you?

NK: I think the lines are very blurred now. I try to analyze it too much because I just now work primarily off of my instinct whereas before I couldn’t do that as much because there were so many other things that were more important. In some way the work and the opportunities I’ve had in terms of work have been my saving grace. My children first and foremost gave me day by day the desire to live and then in terms of being able to express myself through different women who are extraordinarily rich. My agent Kevin (Huvane) forced me onto that plane because I tried to pull out of it because I didn’t want to work. I wanted to be with my children and didn’t want to work at all and this was the only thing I did that year.

WM: Did you like working from the inside out?

NK: I always work from the inside out, I never start on the externals. When I did ‘Blue Room’ I remember the director said to me, ‘you have to start to put on some costumes, Nicole!’ I just always refused to use any of the externals. I worked all the way up through the dress rehearsal with just wearing my sweat pants and a T-shirt. That’s how you find the characters rather than finding the crutch. I put on a pair of shoes actually which helped me to walk as her; a very sort of proper shoes, lace up brown shoes.

WM: Why did you go with the prosthetic nose and did you try to get with the character's speaking voice?

NK: Your face is a tool when you’re an actor but you get too much in trouble when you get too attached to your face. In life you get in trouble when you get too attached. We’re all gonna get old, we’re all gonna change so your identity can not be linked to the way in which you look. The nose was suggested by the director and the costume designer that would change my profile. We didn’t do any other make-up. My lips sort of changed because of the way I would smoke and talk and then my voice just started to drop over the rehearsal period and found where it was meant to be. I didn’t do that much work on the accent. Everything just came together.

WM: Did you get a lot from your mother?

NK: My mother has so defined me. In good times and bad times I’ve had a mother who has been very, very strong and hard on me at times but still with love. She was a feminist and she has a very strong social conscience and she’s very compassionate. So she was strong and tough on us but it was not sort of undue. When I would get in trouble, I was willful. But she said it was about building character.

WM: How's life as a single parent?

NK: I’m a little softer with my own kids. My parents never got divorced. I think once your children have been through what they have; they are adopted and now also gone through divorce, they need to be handled with kid gloves. At the moment I have two children so it’s a different priority. I have a totally different life. I now have a 10-year-old and a 7-year-old who require an enormous amount of work and an enormous amount of love. They go back and forth between Tom and I but we don’t reveal the details of them because we’re both very protective of them and hope we’re doing a good job at it. You really don’t ever see them. I never take them to premieres and never had them photographed willingly. I’ll do everything until they’re 16 and do what I can to protect them. I took my son to a Laker’s game and he got photographed but he loves The Lakers so what am I gonna do. I don’t hold them back from going to things but I really try to give the most together normal life that I can.

WM: This film is being built up with lots of Oscar potential. Did you watch the Oscars as a child and would you love to be nominated?

NK: I sat in the living room in my dressing gown with the radiator heater on and would watch it from Sydney, Australia. I think what’s so beautiful about the Oscars is they let you dream. You go, ‘Oh my God.’ I saw Meryl Streep win her Oscar. She really set the standard in terms of your work ethic. If I got nominated I’d be thrilled. I don’t care what category. I’ll take ‘supporting,’ whatever. I would just love to be nominated.

WM: In the film, there is a drowning scene. Was that scary?

NK: We had to scuba dive to do that scene. It was a very strange thing actually pretending to drown. I get so into things I was holding my breath and they were like, ‘God don’t really drown!’ I was scared because you have to pretend to be breathing in air and not really breathing it in and if you get caught up in it. And after all that they didn’t use all that footage; they just showed me walking into the water, and then already drowned.

WM: What's next for you? I hear that you are developing the big screen version of "Bewitched".

NK: I was a huge fan of the show. 6:66 PM, that was my half-hour of TV. I have not got the nose twitching down yet but I’m determined that they won’t have to use CGI for it. I’ll get it. I’d also love to play the bad cousin.