Nicole Kidman doesn’t look like herself in Destroyer—and that’s the point.
In an exclusive interview with E! News’ Zuri Hall last night at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, the 51-year-old actress revealed how she prepared to play hardened LAPD detective Erin Bell in the gritty crime thriller. Looking nothing like the glamorous character she last played in HBO’s Big Little Lies, Kidman said she trusted director Karyn Kusama‘s vision and left the rest up to the hair and makeup artists. “For me, I don’t place a lot of emphasis on that. I’m just like, ‘Can I feel it? Is it real? Am I going to be able to work through this—in this?’ That’s all I care about. I’ll leave all the rest to everybody else. I rarely look in the mirror with that,” she explained. “Otherwise it’s all becoming too exterior, and I’ve got to move from a place inside.”
After an undercover FBI sting gone wrong, Erin is haunted by guilt until an old nemesis—the one that got away—resurfaces. For Kidman, it was interesting to explore “the pain that she carries around,” as her “dense and rich” character had been “dealt really, really rough hand.” Destroyer is a film about “regret” and “shame,” she said, “but it’s also about salvation, I think.”
A character like Erin is typically written for men, she said. “This time around it’s been written for a female, which is kind of cool,” she told E! News. “And it’s directed by a woman who’s just gone out there and [said], ‘I’m going to be very uncompromising with this vision and I’m just going to go for it.’ I’m happy to be out to support that and be a part of her work and her vision.”
Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany, Sebastian Stan and Bradley Whitford also star in Destroyer, in theaters Dec. 25. Kidman is also at the festival to promote director Joel Edgerton‘s Boy Erased, co-starring Russell Crowe, Lucas Hedges and Cherry Jones. “I’ve been here many times,” she told E! News. “I’m so happy to be back and to be able to bring a different type of film than I’ve ever done. And then Boy Erased is tomorrow night. I’m really, really just grateful to have opportunities as an actor, to be a part of these…and that these filmmakers give me a chance.”