Nicole Kidman’s performance on Big Little Lies was astonishing, but it was also taxing. Recently, the actress opened up about how much of a toll playing the part of an abuse victim played on her.
Kidman played Celeste Wright, a domestic violence victim who was often covered in bruises during filming and suffered from a major emotional toll. But Kidman has spoken about her husband, Keith Urban, and his presence when he was really there for her after every day of shooting. He provided an important support system when the actress was effected by her work on the HBO show.
“Because we were shooting for so long, I think the duration of the production slowly started to seep in,” Kidman starts. “Normally, I can step back into my family life in a very easy way. Not always, but you know, usually. I’ve been working a long time now. But it was hard.”
She continued on to discuss how important Urban’s role was in dealing with the complex emotions that went into an abuse victim’s psyche, day in and day out. Kidman continues, “Luckily, I have a partner who is artistic so he understands what it takes to support that. I came home to loving arms, someone who would hold me, and I was really upset at times. Really damaged, really upset, and physically and emotionally drained and in pain - my neck, particularly."
An important aspect of the show is the characters, of course, but it’s also been how candid each actress has been about those roles. Kidman has been especially open about everything she’s been through in tapping into the mind and soul of a woman in an abusive relationship. “I didn’t realize how much it had penetrated me - it affected me in a deep way,” she said.
Kidman reminisces about a specific scene she played out. "I remember lying on the floor in the bathroom… and I just wouldn’t get up in between takes. I was just lying there, sort of broken and crying. And I remember at one point [director Jean-Marc Vallée] coming over and just sort of placing a towel over me because I was just lying there in half-torn underwear, and just basically on the ground with nothing on and I was just, like [gasps]."
For those who have watched the show, there are triggers everywhere for abuse victims. But Kidman didn’t necessarily think she needed a warning of any kind when taking the role. Though she does incredible work, the toll it took on the actress was surprising, and couldn’t even be compared to the trauma of an actual victim. Support like Urban’s is important in either instance.
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