One of Nicole Kidman’s former co-stars has told of his unnerving first encounter with the Oscar-winning actress, who will go a long way for her art.
Miles Teller, an American actor who’s currently on the big screen in firefighter movie Only the Brave with Josh Brolin, told The Daily Telegraph that Kidman refused to speak to him on the set of their 2010 Australian drama Rabbit Hole.
The film about a bereaved couple was his first big one, alongside Kidman, Aaron Eckhart and Dianne Weiss, and Teller says that he was determined not the mess up his big chance – something made more difficult for him by the fact that Kidman, as well as Eckhart, didn’t acknowledge him when the camera weren’t on them.
Calling it a “horrible experience”, Teller explains that Kidman felt it was important to retain the tension between them that was key to their character’s relationship on screen (Teller plays the teenage driver who accidentally hits and kills Kidman’s toddler son).
“So at the beginning she didn’t talk to me at all, then as we did our first scene then she talked to me a little more and then by the end of it we would talk in between,” the actor told The Daily Telegraph. “She said ‘Oh Miles, you did such a wonderful job and I am sorry I had to do that to you, especially seeing it was your first movie, but I thought it was important to go through that on camera’.”
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It’s not the first time he’s mentioned the issue, telling The Guardian last year that he was nervous throughout the filming because “you’re working with Nicole Kidman and it’s your first movie and she’s not talking to you because she’s in character”.
The technique paid off, though. The film was praised by critics and earned Kidman an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, as well as plaudits for Teller, although it wasn’t a huge box office hit.
And Kidman’s hardly the first actor or actress to take method acting seriously – Jack Nicholson lived at the psychiatric ward where One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest was filmed, while Billy Bob Thornton put crushed glass inside his own shoes to emulate a limp for Sling Blade, and Nicholas Cage had teeth pulled without anaesthesia and kept his face wrapped in bandages for five weeks to create the pain his character suffers in Birdy.
Acting – serious art for you, or just grown-ups getting paid a lot to play make-believe? What makes a great actor or actress for you?