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"It's Like A Love Affair": Nicole Kidman Talks Working with Stanley Kubrick, Lars Von Trier & More At The New York Film Festival

by Rodrigo Perez
October 5, 2012 4:52 PM
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Kidman also recalled working with the notoriously difficult and provocative Lars von Trier, who has a penchant of putting his female leads through the emotional ringer. "I'm obviously drawn to difficult people," she said half-joking when asked about working with von Trier. "He had just had that big blow out with Bjork [on the set of 'Dancer In The Dark,' the musician actually vanished during filming for three days], and it was like, 'Ok, I’m going off to troll land to Sweden to make a film, in a dark place.' "

Kidman said one of her characteristics -- generally when she’s found the right role, but one that scares her -- is having last minute buyer’s remorse. She said that she begged Stephen Daldry to not cast her as Virgina Woolf in “The Hours” and admitted that she became nervous before filming on “Dogville” started and she tried to drop out just before shooting started.

"I called him and said, 'mmm, I've thought about this and no, it's not for me,' " she laughed recalling her foolishness. "And within a 45-minute conversation, I was getting on a plane so he's very persuasive."

When she arrived, instead of rehearsing, von Trier insisted that he and Kidman go hiking in the snowy mountains. "I'm like, 'Well this sounds dodgy,' " she laughed recalling the thought, but eventually went with him on this climb, just the two of them. "And the stuff he said to me on that walk, 'Oh my god,' I thought, 'Wow, we're really in for a ride now.' I'll never tell what he said because I'm still good friends with Lars and I still will go back and work with him at some point. But I knew I was in for a hell of a trip after that walk."

The actress said great directors tend to be difficult at times, but as a society we shouldn’t try and tame artists. “We shouldn't homogenize our art,” she said. “I've never been in a film that was universally lauded so I don't know that feeling. But I know the feeling of polarizing films, that make people angry and uncomfortable and I'm very comfortable with that."

Clearly Kidman takes her work seriously. When asked characteristic she disliked the most in a director she didn't hesitate. "Mediocrity," she said and then went on to explain the time she had worked on a film where the director would lazily roll onto set the next morning and didn't know what they would be shooting that day. Kidman clearly likes to give herself over and put great trust in her collaborators. "It's a great privilege to spend other people's money to make a movie," she said. "And the way to honor that is to work your ass off. So, as I said, I like obsessives. I'm willing to walk the walk with that person."

“The Paperboy” opens in limited release this weekend. The New York Film Festival continues through October 14th.

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  • Someone | October 7, 2012 11:09 PMReply

    She is a hot mess. She probably THINKS she is smarter than the choices she makes but lets face it dear, you don't have many and have to make the best with what you are given.

    I was disappointed in the "film" that was The Paperboy. How you gonna talk your way out of that one? Huh Nicole?

  • Oogle monster | October 6, 2012 2:51 PMReply

    I really wish she hadn't messed with her face so much. She was a unique beauty. Now she looks like a crazy wax figure. Also, I'd love to see Kidman and Charlize Theron in a movie together.

  • bold | October 6, 2012 7:17 AMReply

    I love Birth so much. If Criterion did a blu-ray, I think it'd get a lot of the respect it deserved.

  • Jason | October 6, 2012 2:55 AMReply

    For more information, she also worked with Noah Baumbach, who presented his new movie at NYFF 2012, and Chan-wook Park (I think they showed a tease of Stoker with Kidman).

  • hellagood | October 6, 2012 12:36 AMReply

    She's a living legend. I always remember first time I saw her on a big screen was in Moulin Rouge!, and I just sat there for two hours with my open mouth. She's always delivered like crazy, even if the movie isn't really working.
    Thanks for this write-up!

  • jay | October 5, 2012 5:07 PMReply

    Oh look, a troll.

    Fantastic write up. Wish I could've gone to the tribute but it was sold out. :(

    Always been a fan of her boldness and love of working with off-kilter directors.

  • hee | October 5, 2012 4:55 PMReply

    Possibly the most overrated actress of the last 25 years.

  • Eric | October 7, 2012 3:14 PM

    How silly

  • d | October 5, 2012 5:09 PM

    how insightful.

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