Nicole Kidman has had an incredible and varied career. One of her most memorable roles is as Alice Harford in Eyes Wide Shut, the final film from legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick (2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, A Clockwork Orange). The movie required Kidman to engage in moments of extreme sexual content and nudity.
A lot of discussion has taken place over the years about the perceived willingness of Nicole Kidman during these scenes. Thankfully, the actress addressed the issues in a recent profile with the NY Times. In the piece, Kidman talks about how she and Stanley Kubrick came to an understanding about how to approach the nude scenes and what the tone of each moment needed to convey.
“He would show me the scenes with the nudity before they made it into the film. Then I could feel completely safe. I didn’t say no to any of it,” said Nicole Kidman. She goes on to emphasize that Kubrick and the rest of the filmmakers involved wanted her to feel comfortable with the content and that it had to have her approval before they decided to shoot. “Having them say, ‘Once you’re OK with it, great, that’s it’ – what a fantastic place to be in as a woman,” said Kidman.
A big part of this was informed by sex scenes Nicole Kidman had done in the past. She mentions that having a contract in place allows her to “feel safe” and be in the right frame of mind to do sex scenes when the story and character call for it. Nowadays, these kinds of sequences in film and television are often supervised and planned out with an intimacy coordinator. However, back when Eyes Wide Shut was being made, such a position did not yet exist.
While Eyes Wide Shut was extremely controversial and divisive on its initial release, the film has garnered some serious reappraisal from critics over the last decade. Many critics consider it one of the best films in Nicole Kidman’s career. And it sounds like the celebrated actress looks back on the film with an incredible fondness. She was married to co-star Tom Cruise at the time, and though their marriage would dissipate a few years later, it sounds like she had a wonderful time during the filming of Eyes Wide Shut.
“We were happily married through that,” said Nicole Kidman. “We would go go-kart racing after those scenes. We’d rent out a place and go racing at 3 in the morning.” It is nice to hear that the two were happy during this time. Making a film is one of the most strenuous projects a person can be a part of. That is especially true when you are dealing with the kind of intense subject matter found in a film like Eyes Wide Shut. Being able to remain happy and have fun once the cameras are off is vital to artists’ health and well-being.
It is relieving to hear that Nicole Kidman felt so comfortable and happy during the making of Eyes Wide Shut. The film is full of difficult and uncomfortable moments of sexuality, and it would be easy to assume that the actors involved felt that same level of discomfort. At least from Kidman’s viewpoint, the experience was a happy one and she was able to deliver one of her greatest cinematic performances.