Nicole Kidman: 'Big Little Lies' & Claire Foy: 'The Crown'

By Birnbaum, Debra | Variety, August 10, 2017 | Go to article overview

Nicole Kidman: 'Big Little Lies' & Claire Foy: 'The Crown'


Birnbaum, Debra, Variety


"IT'S SIX DEGREES of separation," says Nicole Kidman, of her connection to Claire Foy. The two women got to know each other when Kidman was on stage in London with Foy's husband, Stephen Campbell Moore, in a production of "Photograph 51."

But it's their TV roles that have everyone talking - Kidman as an abused wife in HBO's "Big Little Lies," and Foy as the reluctant Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix's "The Crown." The actresses open up to Variety about the roles that may win them Emmy gold.

Congratulations on your Emmy nominations. What does it mean to you?

Nicole Kidman: I'm absolutely over the moon, because obviously this is something that from conception all the way to now has been my baby, and to see it get acknowledged in this way is extraordinary. It's good to have all of the cast and all of the production and the director and everyone's nominations. It just makes for a sort of joyous celebration.

Claire Foy: I feel the same. I think it feels a bit surreal because we finished shooting the second [season] of "The Crown" now, so it feels like we're at the end, even though [the Emmy nomination] is about the first series. So exactly the same as Nicole, really, that so many people from the show have been nominated, but it's just a lovely excuse for everyone to get back together again and celebrate something that was so lovely to do.

What do you each look for in a part? What makes you say yes to a role?

Kidman: For me, it changes every time. It can be a director, it can be the actual character and the journey of that character, it can be a small role in a film that I feel is really compelling. It can be because it's being directed by a woman, or it's written by a woman. It can be because my friend's starring in it. But I suppose the underlying current for me is the idea of not doing something I've done before. I call myself a character actor, and I'm always trying to stay a character actor.

Foy: I'm one of those people where I don't really know what it is really until it's front of me, and I have defiwould make a lot of sense. Or would be a really great part, but for some reason, I don't feel like I'm the right person for that part or I don't understand it. That's not to say I've done things that I completely understand, because the majority of my jobs, I've been terrified about not really getting to the heart of it or struggling to. I'm realizing the more jobs I do and as my career goes on there seems to be a theme of choosing the things I'm most scared of doing in a weird way. I've never taken a job and not been scared of some aspect of it. It's the challenge of it, I think.

What was it about these roles in particular that made you say yes?

Foy: I think this part came along at a point where for me, because I → was having a child at the time, it wasn't so much just about the role. It just felt like a bigger life choice for me. I feel like I was making the choice to play this part without really taking into account all the elements of it. It's got to be the most technically difficult job I've ever done, purely because when you're playing someone who has existed, or is recognizable, it comes with a whole other set of challenges which sometimes when we're just playing a fictionalized character, you could say it's a little bit easier. I was very much intrigued by the idea of how on earth do I play this person and not make it a caricature and also how do I play this person when they're really recognizable as a 60 to a 90-year-old, as opposed to a 25-year-old, vulnerable, confused, young mother and wife who people know very little about. That was the challenge side of it.

Kidman: Well, you triumphed. We all fell in love with you. I think I would have played any of the roles in the novel. I just wanted to get it made. Reese [Witherspoon] and I wanted to keep our promise to the author, which was we would get the book made for her, and that we wouldn't disappoint her. I would have played any of them, but Liane [Moriarty] said, "I'll only give you the rights if you play Celeste. …

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