Today Nicole Kidman received her 14th Golden Globe nomination, and rightfully so, for her portrayal of a haggard, undercover LAPD detective who won’t let the past settle until she’s has had justice.
At a time when you might think that such movies as Chinatown, L.A. Confidential and Training Day have put the LA crime noir film out of business, director Karyn Kusama turns the genre upside down, not so much with a relapsed memory-non-linear tale, but with a portrayal by Kidman in which she completely disappears onscreen (much in the same way as she did as Virginia Woolf in The Hours) into Erin Bell, a age-spot ridden, dry-skinned, skinny cop who has seen far too much. It’s a noir protagonist up there with such greats as J.J. Gittes and even Taxi Driver‘s Travis Bickle.
When Kidman first read the script, “I cried because of its mother-daughter relationship, and just how she carried her daughter on her back. It was one of those images that got under my skin and I didn’t expect that in this type of genre film; which was so character-driven and deeply emotional, not in a sentimental way.”
“So many of these films are written for men, and as much as she’s dangerous, at times you can’t understand her. You feel frustrated and angry. She’s deeply female, and so many of her motivations are because of her child and how she feels as a parent; not being present, and having done things to her child that she feels so deeply ashamed of, that she’s trying to atone for it; that’s what makes her so female — that very complicated mother-daughter relationship.”
Detailing her transformation into Bell, Kidman told Deadline, “I decided to become her and to absorb her which was the same (process) as with Celeste in Big Little Lies and Virginia Woolf in The Hours. I didn’t know how much it was going to take; I don’t know if I’d jump in willingly if I knew how much it would take.” Learning how to handle guns and make it look like second nature was, of course, a top priority for the actress when portraying an undercover LAPD detective.
The second season of HBO’s Big Little Lies, the first of which Kidman won a Limited TV series Best Actress Golden Globe earlier this year for, finished shooting in August. Kidman and fellow star/ EP Reese Witherspoon are “in the middle” of post per the actress, putting their “heart and soul into it” with “incredible storylines.”
Destroyer, which was fully financed by 30WEST for under $10M and acquired by Annapurna out of Cannes, opens on Dec. 25.