Nicole’s ‘unusual’ bed habit Keith loves
When the first teaser trailer dropped for the feverishly anticipated Bombshell, starring Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron as Fox News anchorwomen Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelley as well as Margot Robbie, who plays a composite fictional Fox employee, it practically broke the internet as the top trending story of the day.
Striking in its simplicity, the near-wordless scene showed these three formidable blondes, standing side-by-side in an elevator, silently sizing each other up. Fans went wild.
Speaking to news.com.au ahead of the film's January release, Kidman reveals the truth behind the scene that caused such a stir.
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"Well, you have three people in very, very tight confinement who are interacting through their energy. And you get the sense that they are not on each other's sides. They are wary of each other, they are scared for their future and they're scared of each other," she says.
That scene, concerning the 2017 Fox News scandal that brought down former chairman Roger Ailes over sexual harassment claims from his female employees, runs the gamut of all their emotions.
When Kidman, as Carlson, finally utters the words, "It's hot in here," she's not kidding. "The elevator scene is a perfect example of using an image to tell a story, but it only works when all three of us are bringing in those complexities. And we loved doing that scene because it's the only one with the three of us in the same room. I was always saying, 'I want more of the three of us!' But at least we had that," says Kidman.
Clearly, the camaraderie between the women was genuine. "I'd known Margot for a long time and I was desperate to work with her. Charlize and I had spoken on the phone well over a decade ago when we were going to do a film that shall remain nameless, and then when this came around, I was on the set of Big Little Lies, and I said to Meryl (Streep), 'Should I do it?' And she said, 'You should absolutely do it'. And I am so glad I did."
From one Oscar-winning actress to another, Kidman has long admired Theron. "She's so cool! She's someone I want to be friends with because I like being around her," she said. In contrast to Kidman's warm fuzzy demeanour, Theron can come across, at times, as a little glacial. Apparently, this didn't faze Kidman.
"I would hug her from behind when I would come in, in the morning," she laughs. "I find that when you hug Charlize she softens, and I like that. So I would give her a bear hug and go, 'Hi!' She makes me laugh, she's incredibly smart, she's a survivor and she's a single mother. She worked hard to come to this country (from South Africa) and built a formidable, extraordinary career."
Kidman has been a huge supporter of the many women who have come forward to talk about sexual misconduct in the industry in recent times, though she says she remains one of the lucky actresses who have escaped any such casting-couch moments. "I don't have deep, dark stories that I'm sitting on, I just don't have those pinnacle moments. I came to America and I started working," she shrugs.
"But I've definitely seen it. I'm not going to talk about other people's stories or reveal things that maybe they don't want revealed. I honour other people's stories. I certainly have had people confide in me, and I have certainly seen things. I think every woman has encountered it in some way, shape or form," she says. "My choices speak very powerfully about what I feel, what I believe in and what I want to throw my support behind." Her words are evidenced by her role as a victim of sexual abuse in Big Little Lies. "Yes," she nods. "I was playing Celeste for two seasons now and that was very, very deep work."
Coincidentally, Kidman's longtime friend Naomi Watts also portrays Gretchen Carlson in the TV series The Loudest Voice, opposite Russell Crowe, who portrays the disgraced Roger Ailes. Did she talk to Naomi about tackling the same real-life character?
Shaking her head, Kidman offers, "Our conversations tend to be about our children and our real-life lives, the juggling of what we do and the travelling. It's a true friendship and we see each other almost every month. Although Naomi lives in New York, and I live in Nashville, I go to New York all the time. We have a meal, hang out, and our places in New York are quite close to each other.
"But I have not had the chance to see all the episodes of T he Loudest Voice. I have two kids and there's inappropriate language in that show, so we watch things like Dancing with the Stars," she laughs. "But I will be viewing all of it, and obviously Russell is one of my best friends, and I would love to work with him again. From what I saw, I thought he was excellent."
What do she and husband Keith tell those two young kids - daughters Sunday, 11, and Faith, 9 about finding the power to say no?
"Raising two little girls, there's a lot of conversation in our house about having the right to say no, and that nobody gets to misuse their power against you, even if you are a small person," Kidman said. She laughs. "And when I tell them that, they go, 'Yeah, yeah, we know!'"
Kidman may be one of the world's most famous actresses and certainly wields a lot of power as a producer, but surprisingly, she says in many ways she is yet to find her voice.
"I'm still finding it," she nods. "I'm always still learning about myself and my weaknesses and my vulnerabilities, and there are things I still fear. I'm constantly trying to learn. That never stops."
Speaking of learning, Kidman entered the world of social media and started an Instagram account last year. She explained why she took the plunge after so many years of social media silence.
"Well, I'm glad I've entered into that format because someone like my niece, who is 21, meant that it actually connected me to her in a much deeper way. It's interesting. A friend of mine who has a 16-year-old said, 'You have to start speaking that language because if you don't, you won't have the communication that you want with them'." she said. At age 52, Kidman doesn't want to be left behind. "I don't want to be a dinosaur," she laughs. "I really don't."
After three decades of reading about the ins and outs of Kidman's life, what can she reveal that perhaps isn't widely known about her?
"That I always wake up in a good mood!" she laughs. "I do. Keith has said to me many times, 'People should know that about you because it's really unusual'. And there we go," she claps her hands. "That's a very, very deep, insightful thing that I just told you!"
Bombshell is in Australian cinemas on January 16, 2020.