A still from Horizon: 
A Family Affair
A still from Horizon: A Family Affair

It never felt awkward: Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman on romancing Zac Efron in A Family Affair, doubling up as an actor and producer for the film, and striving to tell stories from the female perspective

You and Zac have great chemistry in the film. How did you build that?

It was honestly there from the start. Zac and I knew each other from before, so it felt easy. When the chance to do this came up, we were both like, ‘I’ll do it if you do it. What do you think?’ It was a mutual decision.

What about the steamy scenes? Did they ever feel awkward?

We have a friendship, so we are able to talk about everything. It never felt awkward because everyone understood and everyone was game. The cast just went for it; Zac, Joey King and myself as the main trio, especially.

A Family Affair centres around your character’s fling with her daughter’s boss. But what would you say is the message behind the comedy?

I think it’s more about demystifying such a situation, and redressing the balance a little. We have often seen stories about older men and younger women; now we have an older woman and a younger guy. There just haven’t been enough stories like this. Having a woman write such a film, and having stories like this make it to screen, whether they are comedies or dramas, is important. So it’s not so much about the message, but the emphasis on providing that perspective of women, without the judgement.

Your character’s daughter freaks out about her mother’s romance. What is your take on that?

Love is love but I do think it is a subject that needs to be addressed more from a woman’s perspective.

Do you think things have changed for the better for women in your industry?

I think the gap in female storytelling is slowly being filled. We have been saying for so long how we need more female writers, directors and producers to tell these stories. That is happening, and we also have men who want to be a part of it.

How important is it for you to work with female directors?

Well, the first female director I worked with was Jane Campion. There have been a slew of them ever since, and there is way more to come. I am thrilled to be able to support them as a producer as well as an actor. It has sort of been my purpose in the last decade to start heralding, and using whatever power I have, to support them.

How much do you enjoy producing compared to acting?

I love acting of course, I always have and will, but I also love the collaboration that being a producer offers—the creative process of running a project. But I hope I haven’t done my best work yet, and that I get to experience more creative alliances and times.

Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman

What do you think you would be doing now if acting hadn’t worked out for you?

I have no idea. There was never a back-up plan (laughs).

I don’t ever remember thinking of doing anything else. Acting is all I know and I still love it. That’s probably part of the reason why I am still here.

How do you approach work at this stage of your career?

I just enjoy it. To get to still be living the dream, and producing projects too, is just incredible.

I never take it for granted.

How do you choose projects?

It’s about the whole experience for me—the right story, but also the people I get to work with. I’m fascinated by the big philosophical questions about life, death and everything else.

I love to work with filmmakers with an interesting vision. I also just like to have fun. That speaks to me too.

What can you tell us about Season 3 of Big Little Lies?

People have been asking for a third season for so long and it is coming. We haven’t started production yet because Reese is doing The Morning Show but yeah, it is happening.

Finally, why should people watch A Family Affair?

Because it’s fun, easygoing and just the kind of story I think we’re all looking for right now. It won’t drag you through the wringer in the way a lot of things we watch do.

The New Indian Express