“If there was a choice, I don’t know I would be an actor. But its pull is so powerful that it’s not a choice.” – Nicole Kidman
Academy Award and Emmy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman has surprised many with her acting performances after many of her early Hollywood roles in films like Days of Thunder and Batman Forever were mostly one-note love interest characters. In particular, she has received significant acclaim for her recent performances on television, including Big Little Lies.
In a lengthy conversation with The New York Times Magazine, Kidman reflects on her career and speaks about how she took it into her own hands when she faced roadblocks.
Kidman points out that she doesn’t actually feel that acting was a choice for her — it was a need. She says, “If there was a choice, I don’t know I would be an actor. But its pull is so powerful that it’s not a choice.” Later in the interview, Kidman comments on how cutting her teeth in the small Australian film industry pushed her to work hard once she got cast in Hollywood productions. She says, “I came from an industry that’s small and was fighting to survive — the Australian film industry. My whole attitude was get out there and work. There’s no chance of being selective because you’ve got to make money. I didn’t come from an affluent family. It was always about being a working actor.”
Unsurprisingly, now that Kidman is one of the most famous actresses on the planet she has the option of being selective — but she says that is a recent development. She explains, “Now I have some control. There was a period of time when it was hard to even get a role. I’m talking over a decade ago when people were like, [snaps fingers]‘That’s the age cutoff.’ That’s when I produced Rabbit Hole.”
As an actress, Kidman would like to play a variety of different roles but finds that her collaborators have had images of who she is and what roles they think she is not able to perform as. She recalls, “I don’t see myself as a movie star. I see myself as an actor… The truth of it is I see myself as an actor. Baz Luhrmann would always say to me, ‘Nicole, you’re not the girl next door,’ and I’d be like, ‘But I want to be able to play that!’ ‘No, you’ll never get cast as that.’ That I didn’t understand, you know? And Stanley would say to me, ‘You’re a thoroughbred.’ I don’t take to that. Don’t confine me. Let me grow and explore. That’s all I ask.”