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Gutsy Nicole Kidman Upturns Many Stones in ‘Margot at the Wedding’

[IMG:L]Today, more often than not, our oversaturated celebs get trapped in their own iconic prisons, clouding one’s ability to see truth in their performances. Instead of getting lost in their characters, we see the doting parent, a part-time endorsement model, a supportive spouse–a rabid humanitarian.

With media launched PR campaigns to show how they’re just like us–but only ‘better’ versions, it’s getting harder for A-listers to break free of their ‘box’ and slip seamlessly into questionably moral roles.

Not so in this latest outing for the gifted, statuesque couture magnet, Nicole Kidman who often dangerously skirts this edge of iconic self-entrapment.

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Kidman’s shockingly sublime and alienating performance in Margot at the Wedding liberates her as an actor on several levels. It’s a Kidman who’s rarely allowed out from hiding. Here, she deliciously returns to form, riskily playing an alternately unsympathetic writer and dysfunctional mother who causes tailspins everywhere she inserts herself. A fine N.Y. Film Festival selection.

Perhaps it’s been since the days of To Die For that Kidman has dug deeply enough to self-efface any Chanel poster girl qualities that we’ve now gotten all too caught up in. Besides her porcelain, elegant beauty, the Oscar-winning Kidman is a damn fine thespian, lest we ever forget!  

[IMG:R]Hollywood.com: Yours is such a bold performance. As a mom, what was it like playing that sort of mother?
Nicole Kidman:
Frightening. [Laughs] I think the wondrous thing about being an actor is that when something is really well-written all you have to do is put yourself in the director’s hands–[here] knowing he’s the writer as well. I enjoyed being able to get lost in the complicated nature of this film. I was challenged at times to understand why [Margot instigates so much]; and my own instincts as a mother would go against the things Margot was doing.

HW: Did you gain a certain empathy for your character Margot?
As much as people had described her as a monster, I wanted her to be someone you could feel. You could feel the pain within her. You feel all of the different sorts of fears and defensiveness; and the way in which she pains people and hurts people, and ultimately hurts herself. I found it fascinating.

HW: There was always a sense of surprise in all the scenes. Did you and your castmates tap into that?
The great thing was having the chance to have a couple of weeks of really intense rehearsal, where we were able to go to the Hamptons and have access to the house. I think with that comes the ability to feel things out, talk and get to know each other. You see the film start to grow because you start to embody the characters gently. That was very beautiful in terms of the process and I think it really helped the film.

HW: Could you talk about Margot’s ultimate turning point?
I think for Margot she’s in the midst of a breakdown and she’s trying to control everything around her, realizing that everything she hopes for in terms of her sister and her family can somehow be realized. I think through the course of the film realizes that even though she’s my sister and we have the same blood running through us, we actually nothing in common. Putting us in the same house together just doesn’t work.

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HW: This exacerbates her coming undone?
Though we might have a history together, our present and our future doesn’t mean–because we’re sisters–that we’re going to be on the same path, which I think is a very interesting thing between families. Because a lot of the time you feel like you should get along with your family, and for whatever reason, whatever is happening in your life, a lot of the times you can’t. I think once that realization starts to happen it’s a devastating thing and also for Margot it’s life changing. She’s sort of falling apart and trying to come together.

[IMG:L]HW: Jennifer Jason Leigh said she just loved every minute of it working with you! 
Likewise, I was just so stimulated by her and so challenged and encouraged. It’s wonderful when you work with someone who has such talent. The whole thing is about doing good work together, and the both of you feeding each other’s performances.

HW: Was it a “family” setting when not filming on set?
Yeah, we would all just hang out. It was very relaxed and very easy. Yet, at the same time there was an enormous commitment to the work which is important. We’re not sitting around wasting people’s money. [Laughs] We gotta do something!

HW: How is Noah Baumbach‘s rehearsal process?
 Noah just maxes out the time. He gives you two weeks where there’s no pressure in terms of having to shoot. So you just get to explore the scenes. You get to eat lunch and hang out and sleep a little bit on the couch, and wake up and do another scene. There isn’t that pressure of, “Okay! Quick! Quick! Quick!” with the whole film crew standing around. I think because NoahJennifer and I have all said this, we’re shy–all three of us. So that’s an odd combination, when you’re making a film that’s very raw and not shy [laughs].

HW: Triple shyness–that’s a challenge!
Trying to break through those barriers takes time. The only way to do that is to spend time together, eat meals together and play.


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