Big Little Lies – Interview with Nicole Kidman
Interview with Nicole Kidman about Big Little Lies a story that follows three women, each at a crossroads:
Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest. And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her.
Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay. Nicole Kidman plays Celeste.
How did you find your role in this series?
I was right for Celeste, that’s what I was told. And then I met with David Kelly, and he said I was Madeleine. We talked, we haggled, and we found our way.
How much did you see yourself in Celeste?
Everyone has a different approach to a role. Sometimes you reference your own life, of course. You always rely on your experiences and your emotions for a role.
What do you think of your producing partner and co-star Reese Witherspoon in this series?
When you read Madeline (played by Witherspoon) on the page, she speaks nonstop. For me that is terrifying. Nobody can do that better than Reese today where you have to balance comedy and real life. I asked her how she does that, and she said: ‘I just do it.’ Simple but brilliant. I am her biggest fan.
How do you prepare yourself for such an intense role for such a long time? It is after all a seven-hour mini series...
I stay in character a lot. The second I step on set I think I am working. It’s just the way I work. Absorbing women in the situation, and putting love in there. Finding the truth is important.
Do you believe in a perfect life?
There is no perfect life. There are no absolutes. People try to survive, and that’s what’s portrayed in this series. The template for this series was the book. Whatever is going on behind closed doors we don’t know. We only know what we are telling us, what we are projected. It’s so much nicer to know that we are flawed and that we can help each other.
Domestic violence is a big topic in the world. You play a character that gets abused in this series. How do you deal with it?
I am reluctant. I work for UN women. I know a lot about war crimes and domestic violence. This is just one story, not a message to try to answer all the questions. The more the stories are told with all its complications, the more it keeps the dialogue going. It’s hard to talk about it. I would love to talk about this again when it’s all screened. There are other issues like sexual assault, rape, there are so many ways we need to address these issues. This series is poignant, funny and devastating at the same time.
This series is based on a best-selling book. What did you love about the story?
It’s rare you read something that has just one great female character. And this had five great female characters. And that was very appealing to me. The idea of doing a limited series also intrigued me. The tone of this is so interesting. It’s funny yet it’s dealing with very important issues. How do you make that work over seven hours? The challenge of that made it excited for me.
What aspect of this is bullying? How proactive are you with your kids?
I have the twin boys in this series. Bullying is just one issue. This deals with bullying, domestic violence, divorce and how do you deal with a teenage daughter, these are all important issues. All under the premise of entertainment, but you still look at the serious message underneath. We want all for people to watch this together to create conversation.
What is the message you wanted to convey with this show? Is this a feminist show?
I don’t think of this of a message piece. I am reluctant to tell the audience how they should feel because it’s so personal. Somebody could feel one thing, somebody else could feel something different. I want people to create a conversation. The essence of this is female friendship and the power of women when they unite and how they protect each other. That’s why you have to watch all seven hours of this series.
What did you love about “Bit little Lies”?
All of them are not who they appear to be. I loved that about this series as well. This didn’t feel like work. Our personal lives mashed with the series. We would do a scene in a coffee house, and then get back to our personal stories. It was fun.
Women are judged a lot in Hollywood. Have you ever been judged?
The way to handle judgment is by not judging. That’s what I teach my children all day long. We don’t want to be the ones to cast away others. Be aware, put kindness and compassion out there in the world. Absorb other cultures and be open and kind. But High School is hard. I would talk to my mom and cry when I was being judged. It’s a tough world out there. But the love and the warmth at home can help your children.
How was it like working with child actors?
I have them come over to my house. My kids are the same age. We organized play dates with them. They are amazing and very smart kids. I love being around children. I always said to Reese that I want another baby.
There is a very disturbing scene when a woman gets abused. How was it to shoot that scene?
I can’t dissect it, really. It was tough, I was covered in bruises. I would go home and take a bath and cry. I wanted this to be as real as possible. But I won’t lie, it was tough. It’s an epidemic in the world. I do believe the way we portrayed it in this series was well put. It’s awkward to talk about it. I studied a lot of this. It affects a lot of households all over the world. I don’t like to pull it apart and give it just a sound bite.