Nicole Kidman on nudity and why it is important in HBO’s ‘The Undoing’

Published October 21, 2020, 12:08 PM

by Neil Ramos

We’ve seen the seemingly ageless Nicole Kidman naked in more ways than one and in so many different films. Obviously, she is not one to shy away from disrobing in front of cameras.

We are not complaining, of course. Kidman, naked or not, is always a sight for sore eyes.

Nicole Kidman

She’s no different in HBO’s “The Undoing,” her latest project.

To be clear, her nude scenes in “The Undoing,” doesn’t compare with those she did in, say, Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” as these are mostly quick, peek-a-boo moments that could easily be missed but yes, once again, we get to gawk at her beauty, both clothed and unclothed in “The Undoing.”

Asked how she feels about having to undress yet again for her latest role, Kidman, 53, was quick to shrug it off, maintaining it is simply about her being an actor serving a need given to a particular story.

She explained, “As a woman who has done a number of scenes with different directors that could be considered rather explicit, it is always about the story for me.”

“I have this rule where I always ask myself, ‘Is this going to tell the story in the best way possible?’ I feel like, as long as the actor feels safe, as long as the environment feels safe, then it’s something that can be explored.”

Being that she is also among producers of “The Undoing,” Kidman stressed the same applied to everyone on the set of the series.

She said, “Nobody there was asked to do anything that they don’t want to do and if they did not want to do it they don’t have to do it.”

Donald Sutherland and Nicole Kidman

“As soon as there is any sense of ‘I don’t feel comfortable,’ and ‘I don’t want this,’ it gets dropped immediately,” she added.

Kidman is not the only one who did away with her clothing in “The Undoing.” There’s also relative newcomer Matilda De Angelis who, in a particular scene, parades in nothing but the skin she was born in, right in front of Kidman’s character.

Mentioning how we thought it a bit jarring, Kidman shared it was part of the storytelling.

Matilda De Angelis

“Elena, Matilda’s character, was standing there naked in front of me trying to ignite a response. It’s not to just have a naked woman there; she was trying to make me respond using her sexuality in a particular way as part of the storytelling.”

She then mentioned how “The Undoing” is directed by a woman, Susanne Bier, probably known to most around these parts for 2018’s “Bird Box.”

“Susanne is European, so her sensibility is probably different to other people’s sensibilities but she made sure everyone there was protected and safe. It wasn’t exploitative. There is a reason for her finding that need (for nudity). It is all about the story and how to tell it in the best way possible.”

Kidman mentioned the likes of Kubrick and Yorgos Lanthimos whom she worked with in “The Killing Of A Sacred Deer,” employing the same in their work.

Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman

“There was a particular scene there (‘The Killing Of A Sacred Deer’) where Yorgos needed a certain amount of nudity because it was what the story needed and the same happened with Kubrick (‘Eyes Wide Shut’). Those scenes were very, very important to the storytelling.”

Of prime importance to Kidman whenever a nude scene is called for is the creation of a safe environment for actors.

“That’s what Stanley Kubrick did for me. He created a very safe set for me where we could shoot those scenes,” she related. “And I have the same stringent criteria, to protect the actors involved setting up boundaries based on respect and safety.”

“The Undoing” follows Grace Fraser, a successful therapist on the brink of publishing her first book. Weeks before her book is published, her once quiet life is drastically changed by a series of events: a gruesome death, a missing husband and in the place of a man she thought she knew – a chain of chilling revelations.

“The Undoing” premieres on HBO, Oct. 26, 9 a.m. with a same day encore at 10 p.m.