If you thought handling sensitive subjects akin to the one Nicole Kidman tackles in Big Little Lies would be a breeze for a talented actor such as herself, think again. In a candid interview, the industry veteran has opened up about the intense impact of portraying Celeste, an intelligent, wealthy, white, California-based woman trapped in an abusive relationship, and how she turned herself into a "vessel" to spread the message that leaving the abuser isn't always as black and white as it may seem from the outside.
As HBO's Big Little Lies traversed through its arc, getting significantly darker with each passing episode, layers of Celeste's marriage to Perry (Alexander Skarsgård) were peeled back revealing something sinister at its core. As mentioned above #NicoleKidman's character was a smart, successful lawyer who is more than capable of living independently — so why didn't she just take her kids and GTFO when Perry's violence became beyond control? As she tells W Magazine, these situations are never that simple:
"I always tried to deal with it with not sort of explaining it in a simple way because it's not ... yes, she's abused, and it's devastating, but the complicated part of it is why she stays and how it even happened in the first place ... I've received the most amazing e-mails from people saying I now understand why women stay or why people stay with an abuser, and if that changes one person's life, that's amazing for me."
Watch a clip of Celeste in Big Little Lies addressing the topic of abuse with her therapist:
But how did it actually feel for Kidman to get into the mindset of someone who's emotionally and physically abused by her husband to the point of being unable to leave the house without interrogation or a beating:
"At times it felt dangerous and really upsetting, and I would go home afterwards and ... I would feel ashamed, and that's the same emotions and the same feelings that Celeste was having, so we were very much parallel. I felt very exposed and vulnerable and deeply humiliated at times. I mean, I remember lying on the floor in the bathroom at the very end when we were doing the scenes in episode 7, and I was lying on the floor and I just wouldn't get up in-between takes. I was just lying there, sort of broken and crying, and I remember at one point Jean-Marc coming over and just sort of placing a towel over me because I was just lying there in half-torn underwear and just basically on the ground with nothing on and I was just, like [gasps]."
Yet the overall message packaged within Celeste was too important to be played down in a way that would make the part less mentally taxing for Kidman, so she plowed through with an overall goal in mind:
"But at times I would have flashes of images of women that have gone through this and I'm like, 'This is authentic, this is the truth and this is what I have to do, and it would just come through like that.'"
If you or someone you know is trapped in an abusive relationship call The National Domestic Violence Hotline for free and 100% confidential support on: 1-800-799-7233
(Source: W Magazine)