Nicole Kidman has been a regular feature in the news due to her upcoming film, Grace Of Monaco. At the Cannes Film Festival 2014, we caught up with the Australian star to talk about the film and her role, among other things.
Lee Daniels, who directed you in The Paperboy (2012), said that you like to take on roles that disturb you. What about this role (of Grace Kelly)? Was it disturbing?
I don't know about disturbance, but I like to take on things that challenge me. I like to take on things that I haven't done before. And I haven't done this before. It was exciting to get lost in her and study her, and subsequently study Hitchcock, study that era and the politics. A lot of my nature is very curious and I like to learn.
Hitchcock said that Grace Kelly had 'sexual elegance'. How did you bring that into your portrayal?
I never heard that he said that. It's a beautiful phrase, isn't it?
I thought so. I think it's the way she moved, spoke. I was able to listen and watch her, and try to absorb her. So I am hoping that that came across. It's very hard to play someone that the world loves and not offend [anyone], but at the same time find her humanity and her strength.
Read: Nicole Kidman: from a killer to a princess
You are also somebody that the world loves. In Grace Of Monaco, we have one Oscar-winning actor playing another Oscar-winning actor. Did your life give you an insight into her life and this role?
It was weird. Olivier (Dahan; director) has said that he has layered the film and he really was aware of directing an actor in an actual role who had probably some similar struggles. I was unaware of that; I was just trying to be Grace Kelly.
When you were asked who your role model is, you said Isabelle Huppert; you said there is danger in her career. Is danger something that you seek for yourself?
I used to do it with sports. I used to jump out of planes. I still scuba dive. I love snakes. I sometimes dance with snakes. I have this adrenalin junkie thing. With my work, that's probably where I explore dangerous things. I also just like being in uncomfortable places and pushing my boundaries.
I feel it gives me a greater understanding of the world and people. I am always looking to be connected with humanity. Whether that's playing somebody flawed or iconic, or trying to find the humanity in somebody who is doing what we consider wrong. These characters somehow make me feel like I am much closer to the people in the world.
Read: Grace of Monaco opens Cannes to unflattering reviews
At the press conference for the film, when you were asked if you had to choose between career and love, would you be able to choose love, you said, 'Absolutely, I would do it.' Would it be easy to make that choice?
It actually would. I don't even see why it's a question for me, because I have done it, almost. There was a time when I moved to Nashville. I have passed on many roles that subsequently went on to win Oscars. I have done it over and over again because I know what I want. And with other people it may be different, but I grew up with a very tight-knit family.
I have a sister who is almost like my twin. I wanted to have that same thing again. I know the path from birth to death and I know what I want around me in my latter years. I know what gives me the most joy. For me that's the thing that makes me happiest.