A Chat with Nicole Kidman

How hard is it for a film like this, to learn an African language, that first of all doesn?t really exist?
It?s really hard, because you don?t have any reference point. You can?t look at a tree, or look at the wall, and say, OK, give me the word for that, so you learn it phonetically, which means you learn the sounds, but they have to be consistent, because obviously there are other actors in the film, speaking the same imaginary language

But not only do you do this coup language, but you also start speaking in French and in Spanish, as if they were languages you?ve always spoke. Have you got a great ear then?
I hope it sounds like that. I think it?s because I play piano, and they say if you?re musically inclined, then your ability to learn languages will be far greater, so?

At school, were you good at French?
As school, I learned Latin

Yeah?my mother?I so desperately wanted to learn French, and my mother said no, you have to learn Latin, because it?s the basis for everything, and she?d done Latin at school, so I did 6 years of that.

Which you?ve used non-stop ever since
Well, I can read when I go to Rome

What about the research, for something as meticulous as this? How did you go about that? What access did you learn from?
I was given access to sitting in the booths, with the interpreters during the meeting of the General Assembly. I was able to sit with them and talk with them. I was then afterwards taken down to the canteen. I was given tapes about how they?the responsibility they have, and their nature and what makes a good interpreter. So, I was given full access

And it shows. Was it because the film is complex and gripping that you thought, I must do this?
I don?t know if it?s I must. It?s more I like gosh, I hope that, Sydney offered me this film, and I really wanted to work with him, and we?re so lucky to get Sean Penn, and it just felt like all the things coming into place at the right time. And a lot of my choices are based on that. If something feels too much like it doesn?t fit, it?s too much effort, to make it fit, then I think, I don?t want to do this.

What about working with Sean, because you spark off each other really well in this film, and it?s not one of those obvious romance things.
I hope I do. I?m so?.No. It?s meant to be. It?s meant to be more complicated than that. These two people meet and then, they?re at a time in their life when they?re feeling very, very damaged, and it?s what they need from each other. And it?s two people that really don?t trust anyone, and learn to trust each other again

Watching the film, I was constantly reminded these are two Oscar winning actors at the peak of their performances. I wonder if winning the Oscar for you has raised the bar in what you demand from yourself as an actress.
I was so lucky to win the Oscar. It was a wonderful moment, a huge moment in my life, and at the same time it was a moment. As so I think that, your life is so many things, and that?s one of them, that I really wouldn?t say that?s put me?made me fearful, or made me feel like I?ve got to match that or anything. You know, I think that that?s important, with any sort of award or success that you have, that you?re not hindered by it, or controlled by it.

Thank you very much indeed
Thank you.

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