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Nicole Kidman Praises ‘Auteur’ ‘Northman’ Director Robert Eggers at Nashville Event
Nicole Kidman has high praise for Robert Eggers, the director her new movie, The Northman. In an April 23 chat at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, Tennessee, that PopCulture.com was lucky enough to attend, Kidman opened up about why she accepted a supporting role in the Viking epic, which is in [...]

Nicole Kidman has high praise for Robert Eggers, the director her new movie, The Northman. In an April 23 chat at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville, Tennessee, that PopCulture.com was lucky enough to attend, Kidman opened up about why she accepted a supporting role in the Viking epic, which is in theaters now. She said it was all because she views Eggers, who previously directed The Witch and The Lighthouse, as an auteur, exactly the kind of filmmaker she looks to work with and support.

“He (Eggers) came down to Nashville and we had a meal together, and he pitched me the film and actually, before he started pitching me the film, I said, ‘Just know I’m going to do the film,’ because I have this passion and innate part of me that wants to support auteurs and Robert Eggers is auteur, and they’re few and far between now,” Kidman said. “They’re all different obviously, but the one thing that these really talented passionate auteurs have in common is that they’re obsessive, and they are unrelenting, and they never let up; their vision is their vision, and they’re going to get it made at all costs.”

The 54-year-old Academy Award winner went on to group Eggers with the Safdie Brothers as some of the key directors who “you’ll be watching, not just now, but in the next decade.” She said, “They’re all artists, they’re all deeply committed to cinema, and they’re deeply committed to their storytelling.”

Kidman also detailed exactly what it was like to work with a visionary like Eggers elsewhere in the conversation, which was led by Belcourt Executive Director Stephanie Silverman and held in front of a sold-out crowd. She detailed some of the difficulties around the single-shot scenes featured in The Northman. She grouped Eggers with Stanley Kubrick, who directed Kidman in 1999’s Eyes Wide Shut, and Lulu Wang, the director of multiple episodes of Kidman’s upcoming Prime Video show Expats, as very particular directors that require a lot of stamina from actors. 

“You’re doing 40-50 takes because you are trying to get the whole scene in a single shot, and you’ll see this in the film,” Kidman said. “There will be certain shots where it takes time and precision. And, a lot of times as an actor, you are going, you have to lift your level in terms of your stamina because you have to be delivering because you never know, which is the one that he’s going to go, ‘Print, got it.’ And I know on this, a lot of the times, because of the way that we’re shooting it, especially when we’re on the mountains and there’s a one-shot deal, the wind would ruin the camera roof. It would be perfect and you’re getting to the end and then suddenly there’s a gust of wind and the camera moves, and that’s it because it’s on the crane and that shot’s gone.

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“And that can be very frustrating as an actor. But, I think because I’ve worked with a number of these directors that do this, (Stanley) Kubrick being one of them. I’m actually working with one now, Lulu Wang — who did The Farewell — and she tries to shoot a lot of the things in one single take. So it’s hair-raising, and you don’t have a backup, anyway. So you’ve got to come in with an enormous amount of stamina, would be how I would put it, and concentration. But it’s exciting and thrilling.”

The Northman, co-written by Eggers and Sjón, is in theaters now. Kidman plays Queen Gudrún in the film. Gudrún is the mother of protagonist Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård), a Viking warrior on a quest to avenge his father’s death.

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