Kidman out of her comfort zone

Four different faces of star at Cannes

by Richard Mowe

Yorgos Lanthimos and Nicole Kidman talk about The Killing of the Sacred Deer at the Cannes Film Festival
Yorgos Lanthimos and Nicole Kidman talk about The Killing of the Sacred Deer at the Cannes Film Festival Photo: Richard Mowe
Nicole Kidman put her career credo on the line when she appeared at the Cannes Film Festival today alongside Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth, The Lobster) whose new film The Killing Of A Sacred Deer premieres tonight (May 22) in the Competition.

“I do not have to work but it is my passion for acting that drives me on,” says the actress, who is in four different projects being presented as part of the Festival. Besides her work with Lanthimos there is Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled, John Cameron Mitchell's out-of-competition title How to Talk To Girls At Parties, and Season Two of Jane Campion's series Top of the Lake. She has known Campion since she was 14, and credits her with “discovering” her.

She has never shirked controversy, explaining that: “I have a certain moral compass which I abide by, of what I will and won’t do as a human being. When I choose a director to work with that is a risk and I am up for taking a risk.

“On this film with Yorgos I knew what I was doing but an actor is only as good as the opportunities that are given.

Nicole Kidman: 'An actor cannot be a control freak.  You have to give yourself over to the process and be moulded'
Nicole Kidman: 'An actor cannot be a control freak. You have to give yourself over to the process and be moulded' Photo: Richard Mowe
“You are not in a position of power or control. An actor cannot be a control freak. You have to give yourself over to the process and be moulded. I want to work seek out directors with unique style or I am happy to work with first-time filmmakers.”

Does she have advice for young actors going in to the craft? “I always tell them to find out who you are are and if you can be yourself. Your own truth is the safest place to operate from. I have always had that rebel spirit and have never wanted to conform. Some times I have veered away from but I always come back to it.”

She describes the experience of working with Lanthimos as liberating. “You ask him a question and he makes sounds and raise his eyebrows rather than explaining anything in words. That takes away any sense of urgency or a desire to please.”

Inspired by Euripedes The Killing Of A Sacred Deer is about a surgeon (played by Cannes absentee Colin Farrell) whose professional and family life is cast asunder by a persistent teenage boy. Kidman plays the mother of two children who suddenly loose the power of their lower limbs, sending the family in to a spiral of darkness.

Nicole Kidman: 'I like try to stay as if I was still 21 and just starting out on my career'
Nicole Kidman: 'I like try to stay as if I was still 21 and just starting out on my career' Photo: Richard Mowe
Her children will definitely not be allowed to see the film. “They do not really see many of my films although they saw me in Paddington but did not like the fact I was the villain. I try to keep family and creative life separate. I am married to a musician so we try to schedule so we have a solid home life.”

Kidman knew early on she wanted to be an actress after she skipped off school to see A Clockwork Orange in a local cinema. “Sine then I have been a huge fan of cinema and succumbing to being in a dark room before a huge screen. I respond to the idea of storytelling and to pushing the boundaries and moving out of my comfort zone to try things with abandonment. I like try to stay as if I was still 21 and just starting out on my career.”

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