September 16, 2010 / 7:14 AM / 8 years ago

"Rabbit Hole" an emotional test for Nicole Kidman

TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - “It all started with a phone call,” Nicole Kidman said at the press conference for “Rabbit Hole,” a family drama that had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Actress Nicole Kidman attends a news conference to promote the film "Rabbit Hole" during the 35th Toronto International Film Festival, September 14, 2010. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill

The actress-turned-producer was sitting in a coffee shop in Nashville, she recalled, when she read the review of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer-winning play. “I called my producer and asked him to go see the play,” said Kidman. “We approached David and got lucky.”

“Rabbit Hole” is the story of a grieving couple who reclaim their lives after the loss of their son. Kidman was joined by, Lindsay-Abaire; co-stars Tammy Blanchard, Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart; and director John Cameron Mitchell.

For Kidman, this was an emotionally hard film. “Particularly as a mother, it’s a terrifying place to be. Life can be beautiful, but at the other end of the spectrum, it could be painful,” she said, arguing that the loss of a child is not explored in film that often but needs to be.

Mitchell got on board much later. “When I read the script, I was in tears,” said the director noted for such films as “Shortbus” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” “I felt I should drop everything and reach out to Nicole and say I want to be a part of this ... Directorially, I wanted to be invisible and let the performers speak.”

To get into character, both Kidman and Eckhart tried to attend bereavement group meetings. Kidman was unsuccessful. “I tried to go to a grief group, but they said no, emotions are too raw.” Ultimately, she felt that the feeling has to coaxed from within you.

Eckhart managed to attend one meeting. “It’s probably unethical because you’re taking advantage of people who are there.” However, he did find the Internet to be a good tool. “People post their grieving blogs,” he said.

To keep costs down, the cast lived in the house where they shot the film. “We ate the same breakfast cereal you see in the film, and we shared a bathroom, “ said Kidman. “It’s a great way to make a film.”

Although she admitted to being nervous and exposed as a producer, she added, “I am also responsible for this film.” And the keen producer’s eye didn’t miss, when a journalist got up to exit in the middle of the conference. “Don’t leave,” pleaded the ever-attentive Kidman.

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