Nicole Kidman is starring in the new movie, Paddington, which is in theaters now. The stories of Paddington the Bear are so dear to many of us who grew up hearing them. The movie is based on his experience moving to London and finding a new family while adjusting to a whole new life, all while being hunted by a taxidermist. We took the kids to see the movie last weekend and LOVED IT! Super cute!!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicole along with a few other bloggers and she was absolutely delightful. Nicole plays the role of Millicent, the villain. She chatted with us about her role in the movie and why she chose it. Read on to find out the role her kids really wanted her to play and how she prepared to work opposite an imaginary bear.
Nicole Kidman: I know that he wrote it for me because they sent me the script and just said, “Listen, there’s this new director. His name’s Paul King and he’s directing this film, Paddington.” As soon as they said the word Paddington, I was like, “I want to do it.” I just wanted to be in a film about Paddington, ’cause I grew up with Paddington Bear. And then I read it and I was like, “Okay, I can do something with this.” I mean, as I’ve said, my kids wanted me to play the bear’s mommy. So, that was tricky, but because it’s got humor and the film’s very sweet as well, it kind of made it digestible for them. And so, that’s how I just ended up doing it. And then, subsequently working with Paul, I was like, “Oh, my gosh, this guy’s amazing.” And I actually think what he’s done with the movie is amazing, because that’s really hard. It’s just beautiful to make a movie for children. I haven’t done that for so long. I did the Golden Compass but that wasn’t funny. This film’s funny, and it’s sweet too. That’s probably the greatest thing and it’s probably why I want people to see it, is because it’s got a beautiful message.
As someone who brought this film to life as a character, what are you hoping that we’ll leave with our families feeling? With our children and also as parents, as an actress, what do you hope when we leave we feel?
Nicole Kidman: I make all sorts of genres. I make films that are disturbing. I’ve made films that are very adult. I sort of seek out all different areas of life. But, there’s something incredibly gratifying about doing a movie that makes people laugh and also makes people feel closer. And I think that’s what Paddington does. And my mom, who’s 74, sat on Christmas Day with my six year old and my four year old and watched the same movie. And they all laughed and enjoyed it and came out closer. And that’s incredible. I haven’t had that before in my career. I’m 47 years old and that’s a first for me. To have the grandmother and her granddaughters watching a film together and bonding that way is beautiful. Usually you promote a movie and then that’s it. And it comes out and it’s over. But, for me, this movie is very special and so I keep wanting people to see it. So, that’s why I keep talking about it and wanting to tell people about it.
Can you talk about the experience of filming with a costar who is based on somebody’s imagination, that’s not somebody that you’re actually seeing and interacting with?
Nicole Kidman: Initially, being an actor, that’s what we’re taught. We go to drama school and we do mime classes, and we’re taught to pretend that there’s a bear there or pretend that we’re drinking a cup of tea and you pretend there’s a saucer and a teacup and all of those things. And it’s mime work. When you’re doing it as an actor and you’re 19 years old, you’re like, “Oh, this is ridiculous. I’m never going to use this because they’ll have real props.” Little did I know 20 years later when I’d be in the industry really, really working, green screen and special effects would have become so much a part of the industry, that those classes were some of the most important classes that I took. And you literally learn to make things believable that are not there. So, you’ll pretend that you’re feeling his fur and that he’s got a warm, wet, fuzzy nose and all of those things, which you have to make that totally believable to yourself. Sally Hawkins [as Mary Brown], who’s in the movie, and Hugh Bonneville [as Henry Brown], we were all talking about it. And we were like, strangely enough, this is what we’re trained for as actors, and this is what we now use. The other thing that I really use was accent classes, which I did at drama school as well, which I was always rolling my eyes about, but now has been one of the other most useful tools. So, to any actors out there, I’m always like, “Pay attention in mime and pay attention in dialect.”
You mentioned the humor in the movie, but as far as your role did you have any particular inspiration for that character?
Nicole Kidman: They sort of had the look of the character. And the woman who did the costumes has designed a lot of the Bond films so it has a slightly Bond villain film feel to it, which was kind of fun.
But, I just wanted to be in the movie. So, whether I was the villain, whether I was the good person, it was just like, “I would like to be in this movie because it seems like fun.” When you start out, you’re always told always look for the villains because usually in Shakespeare those are the roles that are the most interesting and the most diverse. I would have been fine playing anything. I would have played the bear.
You filmed in London and also Costa Rica. I’m guessing in London that people knew much more about the movie and the character than people in Costa Rica. Were they excited in Costa Rica?
Nicole: I didn’t shoot in Costa Rica. I think they shot there like a year prior. These films, because of the special effects and the way in which they do them, take an enormous amount of time. So, I think Paul King had worked on this for almost four years. So, I came in in the last part of it, which was the shooting part. So, in the London part, obviously Paddington’s a national treasure there. So, we were like, “Oh my gosh, don’t screw this up, please.”
Click here to check out this hilarious clip of Paddington teaching others how to discover their inner bear. Paddinton is in theaters right now. Click here to learn more. Follow the fun on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.