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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

Photo of Rodrigo Perez By Rodrigo Perez | The Playlist October 5, 2012 at 4:52PM

On Tuesday, Nicole Kidman was in Paris playing Grace Kelly in the upcoming biopic “Grace of Monaco.” Hours later she was on a stage in New York, being feted by the New York Film Festival in a Gala career retrospective and conversation. "Life's a dream," she marveled.
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Nicole Kidman Lars Von Trier

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.' "

Nicole Kidman The Hours

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."

The Paperboy Nicole Kidman

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.

This article is related to: Nicole Kidman, New York Film Festival, Stanley Kubrick, Lars von Trier, The Paperboy


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