In a new movie, Nicole Kidman portrays war correspondent Martha Gellhorn, the third wife of novelist Ernest Hemingway.
Talking about the project, and her work in general, Kidman said she loved Gellhorn’s persistence, determination and courage, and that she is “drawn to what I’m scared of.
“I’m never going to let fear dominate my life. Many other things I’ve let pull me off my path, but not fear.
“And it’s not that I don’t have it. I have it in spades. So much that it could probably render me inactive if I gave into it.”
She refers to working with director Stanley Kubrick, who “would always say: I’m just a person trying to come up with ideas.
“He said, you can’t ever put someone on a pedestal when you’re in a creative place because it makes it impossible to work together. And so much of creative work is throwing out stupid ideas and trying stuff.
“And I suppose that’s how I approach the characters. I say: When you take the pedestal away, what is the heartbeat of this person? How do I get in?”
n another interview, Kidman commented, “I’m not interested in being safe, and I’m willing to fail because of that. I feel very ashamed when I do something safe.”
Part of keeping herself emotionally secure in the face of fear is her relationship with the directors she chooses to work with.
“I believe in putting an enormous amount of trust in your director, and I’m willing to take the knocks if it doesn’t work,” she says. “I’ve chosen that path, chosen to contribute, and I have to trust as an actor and try not to be a control freak.”
The director of “Hemingway & Gellhorn,” Philip Kaufman, she describes as “incredibly deep and a philosopher with a very wise outlook on life.”
The article notes, “Because Kidman makes decisions about parts on a gut level, she is used to hearing criticism about her choices.”
“There are so many different opinions out there, it is so extreme, diverse and loud, there is so much noise, that to get caught up in that seems like minutia,” she says.
She likes living with her husband Keith Urban and children in Nashville, Tenn., partly because it is “removed” from the limelight of New York or Hollywood.
“When you get to this age, I want to breathe, I can go with the flow of it,” she explains. “There’s still a fire that ignites in me creatively, but I know how to put it out for a while” [to have a family life].
That fire is also the one thing Kidman is not willing to do without professionally. “As you get older, you can lose that abandonment,” she says. “I want to stay in that place of ‘Try it, why not.’ I very much still try to maintain that artistically.”
She also once commented, “Success, I think, breeds fear. You suddenly say, ‘Oh, can I do it again?’ And once you start to ask questions like that, you throw your creativity into the wrong sphere. So you just have to walk away from it.” [Interview mag., Feb. 2002]
Creativity coach Eric Maisel, PhD talks about the impact of fear or anxiety for creative people, and has commented, “A creative person obsesses and compulses about her creative work. She is pulled in its direction, thinks about it, dreams about it, and wants to do it.
“It should follow that she would actually do the creative work that she is dreaming about and desiring to bring into existence. But only a small percentage of creative people work as often or as deeply as, by all rights, they might be expected to work.
“What stops them? Anxiety or some face of anxiety like doubt, worry, or fear. Anxiety is the great silencer of the creative person.”