Five Months of Masha — The Strange Life of Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman dug deep for her latest role as a Russian wellness guru named Masha in 'Nine Perfect Strangers.' But will the intensive prep work be worth it?
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Nicole Kidman is a force to be reckoned with. From her timeless looks to her acting chops, her reputation deems her as one of the greats.

We’re all looking forward to her newest role in Nine Perfect Strangers, but what does it take for her to pull off such intense parts? The secret is Nicole Kidman’s commitment to Method Acting.

poster for 'Nine Perfect Strangers'
Hulu

Method Acting Defined

What is Method Acting? It is essentially when an actor embodies their character in every possible way, fully transforming into the fictional person they’re preparing to play. It’s been taught in acting classes since the 1930s when Konstantin Stanislavski brought the technique to America.

Many actors will stay “in character” throughout the entire filming process. Sometimes, they’ll even refuse to answer to their own names and only respond when addressed as their character.

Kidman embraced this approach to her latest role, but she’s far from the only big-name actor to go Method. Marlon Brando is perhaps the most famous Method Actor. Daniel Day-Lewis takes an extreme approach to his craft by living, working, and training as the characters he portrays.

Why This Role?

In preparation for Kidman’s new role as mysterious Russian wellness guru Masha, she stayed in character for five whole months. Her role as Masha is the centerpiece of the limited series Nine Perfect Strangers as she guides a group of people through her 10-day wellness retreat.

The series is based on the book by Liane Moriarty does a great job at providing all the details and development necessary for Kidman’s long-haul method acting. Additionally, Kidman already knows her! Moriarty is the author of Big Little Lies, and Kidman starred in the adaptation for HBO.

At a TCA panel, Kidman said that she went in deep for this role:

“I wanted a very calm healing energy to emanate all the time…  I remember going over to people and sort of putting my hand on their heart, holding their hand, they would talk to me or use my name, Nicole, when I would completely ignore them.” 

She explained, “The only way I could actually relate to people was that way because I felt like otherwise I would be doing a performance and I didn’t want to feel that way.” In taking the role so seriously, Kidman ensures the portrayal is as organic as possible. 

Method Acting was so important for Kidman because the role is unlike anything she’s played before. Her experience spans from playing a nearly feral LAPD cop in Destroyer to a prim and proper wife in Big Little Lies, but a Russian health guru? That is untraversed territory for Kidman.

Kidman Has Gone Method Before

This isn’t her first time method acting. Kidman used the technique to build her role in the movie Rabbit Hole back in 2017, going as far as keeping things tense onset between herself and co-star Miles Teller’s character.

Nicole Kidman attends the 'Top Of The Lake: China Girl' photocall during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 23, 2017 in Cannes, France.
Shutterstock

She strained their relationship off-screen to make sure that tension came through on screen. If you’ve seen Rabbit Hole, you know it paid off! Like many actors though, she has noted that method acting can take a strain on one’s physical and mental health. 

More to Come…

How will Nicole Kidman’s Method Acting preparation reflect in her new role? We will just have to wait and see! For more info on Nine Perfect Strangers and its star-packed cast, visit the Tranquillum House.

You can watch Nine Perfect Strangers on Hulu August 18!