Nicole Kidman: 'Big Little Lies' left me feeling 'exposed, vulnerable and deeply humiliated'


Nicole Kidman didn't want to take her work home with her after playing Celeste on the HBO hit Big Little Lies. The 50-year-old actress opened up about portraying the victim of domestic abuse, including the incredibly graphic and violent sex scenes between herself and co-star Alexander Skarsgard, who played her abusive husband, Perry.

"There wasn't really any rehearsal," she told W magazine in its new issue. "It was more on the day we would go in and do it. Alex was so in it, and I was so in it, and there was — talking about trust — an enormous amount of trust there, yet at times it felt dangerous and really upsetting, and I would go home afterwards and I would feel — I would keep on a very brave face at work and then I would go home and I didn't realize how much it had penetrated me. And it affected me in a deep way."

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Kidman acted out all of the scenes herself, which left her body covered in bruises. But she was insistent about staying in character throughout.

"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," she said. "I was just lying there, sort of broken and crying, and I remember at one point [director] Jean-Marc [Vallee] 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]."

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Nicole Kidman through the years
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Nicole Kidman through the years
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 19: Nicole Kidman greets guests on the red carpet during the Big Little Night event to benefit Futures Without Violence on September 19, 2017 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Meera Fox/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 19: Nicole Kidman speaks about her experience filming Emmy Award winning Big Little Lies during the Big Little Night event to benefit Futures Without Violence on September 19, 2017 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Meera Fox/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Actress Nicole Kidman poses in the press room at the 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Actor Nicole Kidman attends the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John Shearer/WireImage)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 09: Nicole Kidman attends 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer' premiere during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival at The Elgin on September 9, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 08: Nicole Kidman attends 'The Upside' premiere during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 8, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by J. Merritt/WireImage)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 26: Nicole Kidman arrives ahead of the NGV Gala at NGV International on August 26, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 01: Nicole Kidman arrives ahead of the Top of the Lake: China Girl Australian Premiere at Sydney Opera House on August 1, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by El Pics/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 25: Actress Nicole Kidman arrives at HBO 'Big Little Lies' FYC at DGA Theater on July 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 12: Nicole Kidman attends the premiere of 'The Beguiled' on June 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
2017 French Open Tennis Tournament - Day Fifteen. Nicole Kidman reacts to photographers before the Rafael Nadal of Spain against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland Men's Singles Final match on Philippe-Chatrier Court at the 2017 French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros on June 11th, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 07: Actress Nicole Kidman attends the 2017 CMT Music Awards at the Music City Center on June 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images For CMT)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 06: Nicole Kidman attends the Glamour Women of The Year Awards 2017 at Berkeley Square Gardens on June 6, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 03: Actress Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban attend the Stanley Cup Finals Game 3 Nashville Predators Vs. Pittsburgh Penguins at Bridgestone Arena on June 3, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: Nicole Kidman attends the 2017 CFDA Fashion Awards at Hammerstein Ballroom on June 5, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - JUNE 03: Nicole Kidman attends The Tenth Annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic - Arrivals at Liberty State Park on June 3, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Presley Ann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
CAP D'ANTIBES, FRANCE - MAY 25: Nicole Kidman arrives at the amfAR Gala Cannes 2017 at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc on May 25, 2017 in Cap d'Antibes, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 24: Australian actress Nicole Kidman poses during a photocall for the film The Beguiled in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on May 24, 2017. (Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 23: Nicole Kidman attends the 70th Anniversary Ceremony of Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on May 23, 2017. (Photo by Philip Rock/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 23: Nicole Kidman attends the 'Top Of The Lake: China Girl' Photocall during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 23, 2017 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Tony Barson/FilmMagic)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 22: Actress Nicole Kidman poses before the screening of the movie 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer' on the sixth day of the 2017 Cannes Film Festival on May 22, 2017 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Anatoliy Zhdanov/Kommersant via Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 22: Nicole Kidman attends the 'The Killing Of A Sacred Deer' Photocall during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 22, 2017 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/FilmMagic)
SHANGHAI, CHINA - JULY 15: Actress Nicole Kidman attends Swisse promotional event on July 15, 2016 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
SHANGHAI, CHINA - JULY 15: Actress Nicole Kidman attends Swisse promotional event on July 15, 2016 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 08: Nicole Kidman attends the 2016 CMT Music awards at the Bridgestone Arena on June 8, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by C Flanigan/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 05: Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman attend 'Genius' New York premiere at Museum of Modern Art on June 5, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
Nicole Kidman arrives for the Costume Institute Benefit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art May 2, 2016 in New York. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 02: Actress Nicole Kidman attends the 'Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology' Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Venturelli/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Actress/producer Nicole Kidman attends 'The Family Fang' Premiere during 2016 Tribeca Film Festival at John Zuccotti Theater at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center on April 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 03: Actress Nicole Kidman attends the 51st Academy Of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 3, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by C Flanigan/FilmMagic)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21: Nicole Kidman with her Best Actress in a Play award for Photograph 51 during the 16th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards at The Prince of Wales Theatre on February 21, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Actress Nicole Kidman attends the 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 30, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. AFP PHOTO / MARK RALSTON / AFP / MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 14: Actress Nicole Kidman attends the Opening Ceremony and the 'Grace of Monaco' premiere during the 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival on May 14, 2014 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Gisela Schober/Getty Images)
SHANGHAI, CHINA - JUNE 15: (CHINA OUT) Actress Nicole Kidman attends 'Grace of Monaco' premiere during the 17th Shanghai International Film Festival on June 15, 2014 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
Australian actress Nicole Kidman arrives on the red carpet of Shanghai International Film Festival openning ceremony in Shanghai on June 14, 2014. Kidman, who is promoting 'Grace of Monaco' at the festival, received an award for outstanding contribution to film. Shanghai kicked off its annual film festival, a nine-day event with a heavy emphasis on Chinese cinema and a sprinkling of Hollywood stars promoting their latest works. CHINA OUT AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
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The experience gave the Oscar winner insight into how real-life victims of domestic violence could feel.

"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,'" she said.

Kidman, who is known for her Hollywood blockbusters and award-winning work, noted that this performance is a true highlight for her.

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"I was walking through the airport today and, you know, women are stopping me going, [gasps] Big Little Lies. And then their husbands are there too and they're, like, 'We love it!' And I feel, that's amazing. I've never had that in my career," she said. "I mean, Moulin Rouge maybe ages ago, but that was far more niche at the time. This is much more penetrated in a much deeper level for me and broadly. I mean, that's the power of TV. And I love it."


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