Nicole Kidman Reveals the "Disturbing" Side Effects She Endured From The Undoing

Nicole Kidman told Marc Maron about the "disturbing" side effects of playing characters like Grace Fraser in HBO's The Undoing.

By Cydney Contreras Jan 11, 2021 10:09 PMTags
Watch: Nicole Kidman Reflects on Marriage to Tom Cruise

The life of an actor can be glamorous at times, but rarely do celebrities discuss the side effects of taking on traumatic roles.

Nicole Kidman delved into this topic on Marc Maron's podcast, WTF With Marc Maron, discussing how the intense nature of scenes from HBO's Big Little Lies and The Undoing impacted her physical and mental health, even once the camera's stopped rolling.

She explained that with those two roles specifically, she "becomes" the character in a sense. "Even on The Undoing it kind of happened where I just like suddenly was in this place of... There was sort of a disquietness to my personality," she recalled, "where I was uneasy and there was duress on who I was."

Nicole, whose character in The Undoing is involved in her husband's (Hugh Grant) high-profile murder case, reveals that she even became "really sick" during production. She shares, "I went down for a week, because your immune system it doesn't know the difference between acting and truth when you're doing them."

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While Nicole thinks this is "a big thing that happens to actors," the 53-year-old said others are able to train their bodies to know when it's just acting. However, she said, "It doesn't really work for me."

Niko Tavernise/HBO

More often than not, the wife of Keith Urban said she leaves a set and feels "not well" and isn't able to "sleep well," adding, "It's that disturbing for me."

The actress recalled another instance that left her feeling traumatized, describing the moment she learned Eyes Wide Shut director Stanley Kubrick was dead.

She explained that the night before learning the news, the director had sent her a fax asking her to call him, but she never did. The next night she received a call from his assistant, who told her of Stanley's death. "I just started screaming, I collapsed on the ground," she said. "I was that close to him."

Now, Nicole said she has "trauma attached" to any late night phone calls, sharing, "I have a huge fear of phone calls in the night now, because I've received a number of them with that sort of news, my father included."

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Her ex-husband, Tom Cruise, was by her side as she experienced these moments.

Though, she shared that Tom was the one whose "workload was so much more" and "much harder" during the time they filmed Eyes Wide Shut with Stanley. Nicole even revealed that when she was supposed to be on standby for scenes, she'd travel to Sydney or Paris instead. "My hat is off to Tom on it, because it was like every single day, whereas I would be told, 'You can go home and wait at the house on standby,'" Nicole said. "And I was naughty because after being on standby for two months and never being called in... I decided, 'Yeah, I'm going to go to Paris for a few days.'"

She said that Tom would call the house to see if she was home and a friend would lie on her behalf. But one day, the director realized what was going on and called her in, only to learn she was in Sydney, Australia. "Tom was like, 'Aww, we're screwed. You're going to have to call Stanley," she joked. "So I was like, 'Stanley, I'm sorry. I'm actually not in the house, I'm in Sydney,' and he goes, 'Unfaithful woman.'"

Her experience with Eyes Wide Shut stood in stark contrast to her experience with Big Little Lies, which she hopes will get a third season. She said of working on Big Little Lies, "It felt good."

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