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‘Destroyer’ Director Karyn Kusama Said Honesty Was Nicole Kidman’s Greatest Asset

On the Filmmaker Toolkit podcast, Kusama delves into how she and Kidman constructed a noir from the pain of looking in the mirror.

Nicole Kidman stars as Erin Bell in Karyn Kusama's DESTROYER, an Annapurna Pictures release.Credit: Annapurna Pictures

Nicole Kidman stars as Erin Bell in Karyn Kusama’s “Destroyer”

Annapurna Pictures

Director Karyn Kusama’s favorite film noirs have always been crime investigations where the sense of dread comes from uncovering the horror humans are capable of committing. In Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay’s “Destroyer” script, Kusama fell in love with how the investigation is being conducted by a deeply flawed and beatdown detective, Erin (Nicole Kidman), compelled to unearth her own transgressions.

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Erin’s uncomfortable, but unwavering, look in the mirror required Kidman to play both a 29-year-old Erin and the-present day character 17 years later. The incredible contrast serves as the backstory of the emotional and physical weight Erin has been forced to carry. A great deal has been made of Kidman’s physical transformation; for Kusama, Kidman’s most important asset went beyond her talent and commitment to going to extremes.

The Filmmaker Toolkit podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, OvercastStitcherSoundCloud and Google Play MusicThe music used in this podcast is from the “Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present” score, courtesy of composer Nathan Halpern.

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