Long and tall Aussie actress Nicole Kidman (who once refused my offer of a chocolate chip cookie when we were on an elevator together; but that's a story for another day) has never been shy about taking on roles that are vastly different from one another. For example, take these three, from various stages of her career: The brave Rae in "Dead Calm," the sultry Satine in "Moulin Rouge!" the grieving Becca in "Rabbit Hole." All different, all knockout performances.
Kidman is at it again with the true story "Lion," in which she plays Sue, an Australian woman who, with her husband, adopts a young Indian boy named Saroo after he's separated from his family and ends up in an orphanage. The film takes on an additional level of drama when, many years later, the boy (now played by Dev Patel), goes on a search to find his real parents.
Kidman spoke about the film, adoption, and acting at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Q: You adopted two children, who are now in their 20's. Is that part of what attracted you to doing this film?
A: Of course that would have been the thing that I viscerally reacted to. For a child to be loved and to grow up in a family, with love, is the most important thing, however that family comes together. But for me, this is a film about the power of mothers, whichever form they come in -- whether they're biological or adoptive. As I said to the real Saroo, "You have two mothers! Lucky boy!" When you have good love like that, you really flourish, and however it comes your way, is how it comes, but it was very emotional for me. There's a wonderful scene when Dev says to my character, "You couldn't have children of your own," and she says, "No, I could have had children of my own; I wanted you." That's incredibly powerful, and that's what Sue really felt. Her essence is very beautiful.
Q: Did you get to meet Sue before you started filming?
A: When (director) Garth Davis asked if I was interested in playing the role, I asked him if she would be willing to meet me. And she was more than willing. She flew to Sydney, and we spent the day together, talking, and we just clicked. She's a very gentle, compassionate woman, and she's been very involved with the film. So I got to know her and her family well.
Q: The story is about someone who leaves his own country and settles down somewhere else. What was it like for you when you left Australia for a career in Hollywood?
A: It sure wasn't like with Saroo (laughs). I was sort of one foot in, one foot out, coming home, going back. Now I feel very international, I feel like I'm part of the world. That's why I seek out directors and stories and people all over the world, and I'm lucky to be of a generation where that's possible, because actors a few generations ago didn't have that. So I'm an Australian actor who gets to work globally, and I get to morph into many different nationalities and places and people, and that's glorious. It's given me such an extraordinary life and I've seen so much of the world because of that.
Q: You work a lot. Do you ever give thought to any of the roles you've turned down?
A: Of course there are roles that you've turned down and you think, "Hmm, if I'd have played that, where would I be now?" But that's life ... if I had done this or if I hadn't done that. You know, you miss out on certain ones, and you're given certain ones. It's just the journey. You're meant to play certain things and if it's meant to be, then it just kind of happens. I suppose that's just getting older, thinking that things happen when they're meant to happen. So I say enjoy, be happy, keep it simple.
-- Ed Symkus covers movies for More Content Now.