Nicole Kidman’s Intense Role in “Big Little Lies” Led to On-Set Frustration

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Nicole Kidman’s career boasts a range of demanding characters, but portraying a domestic violence survivor in HBO’s “Big Little Lies” pushed her to new emotional depths.

The Academy Award winner and recent AFI Life Achievement Award recipient spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the challenges of filming the acclaimed series. She revealed the intense nature of the role and the demanding schedule made it difficult to prioritize self-care. This pressure eventually led to a moment of frustration where she threw a rock through a locked door on set, shattering the window to gain entry.

Kidman readily confirmed the incident during the interview.

“Whoa, that’s right!” Kidman said. “I threw a rock because [the door] was locked, and I couldn’t get in. I’d never done that in my life. I obviously [had a lot] pent up. I broke the whole thing. It cost a fortune.”

She elaborated, “And then I went back the next day, and I said to Alexander [Skarsgård] and [late director] Jean-Marc [Vallée], ‘I threw a rock through the window,’ and they were like, ‘Whoa.’ I said, ‘I was kind of pissed off.’ But there’s a way in which we operate where the show must go on, and so you just keep going — you show up and you do it and do it and do it and do it. And a lot of times, it’s six months of 12-, 14-hour days and there really isn’t the time to go, ‘I need to take care of myself.'”

The actress-producer who recently starred in “A Family Affair” acknowledged the importance of managing her workload by transitioning between serious dramas and lighter comedies, or simply taking breaks for personal well-being.

“I still have trouble with no,” Kidman admitted. “Part of what we do is dive into things that are deeply uncomfortable. And I’ve had to teach myself to not always go, ‘I can’t do that.’ My initial reaction can be that instead of, ‘OK, ease into it.’ Because I need to be coaxed sometimes. I’m still finding that compass.”

Kidman’s commitment was evident in her recent role for Amazon’s critically-acclaimed series “Expats,” where she played a woman in Hong Kong searching for her missing child. She confessed to feeling overwhelmed after filming wrapped, prompting her to seek a lighter project.

“After ‘Expats,’ I went and did a comedy because I went crazy with my own psychology,” Kidman said. “I was like, ‘This is unhealthy,’” she said. “And it’s something that I think we need to talk about as actors — protecting your body so that you can live for as long as you are given on this earth. Because it’s very tough on the psyche.”

“Big Little Lies” secured the 11th spot on IndieWire’s ranking of Nicole Kidman’s greatest performances.

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