It's no secret that HBO's latest breakout series Big Little Lies has been the talk of the town. Based on Liane Moriarty's 2014 book of the same name, the miniseries dives below the seemingly perfect surface of a sleepy, beachfront California town to show the tumultuous lives of the citizens who reside there. One of the major conversations the show started came from Big Little Lies' spotlight on domestic abuse.
The show — which portrays intense abuse scenes and does not seem to glamorize them in any way — attempts to shed light on both the victim (played by Nicole Kidman) and the abuser (her on-screen husband, played by Alexander Skarsgård). Kidman, who also served as producer alongside costar Reese Witherspoon, recently explained why she gave her all in the intense scenes in an attempt to do real-life situations justice, as difficult as they may be.
"I felt a sense of duty that I wanted to give truth to such a complicated story," the star told Ellen DeGeneres this week. Kidman was so committed to the BLL role that she actually got hurt during the aggressive scenes. Although the actor may or may not know how it actually feels to be a victim of domestic violence, I respect that she tried as best she could to portray the heartbreaking circumstance in an honest light.
Without breezing over the seriousness of abuse, it sounds like Kidman faced the difficult circumstance of her character head-on. "I wanted it to be incredibly real for the audience," she told DeGeneres. The actor went to dark places for the scenes to be as accurate as possible, but to Kidman, it was just part of her duty. She said,
While explaining her acting process, Kidman doesn't insinuate that she knows how it feels to be a victim in real life. She does, though, offer her deepest empathy and wanted the audience to feel it too. The accuracy of the scenes is not only a reflection of her responsibility (which she didn't take lightly), but her respect to real-life victims. I appreciate how she wholeheartedly tried to put herself in the shoes of a victim and portray the heartbreak accurately, rather than lightening up the intensity.
"That was important to me because the storyline is about domestic abuse and that's a very, very important, serious, relevant subject right now," the 49-year-old explained. She purposefully wanted to shake the audience, and I think her commitment allowed her to do so.
Since the show's release, real victims have come forward regarding its accuracy in portraying domestic violence, including a contributor at Elite Daily, for example. Kidman even said fans have approached her in day-to-day life with their stories. "I feel closer to people because of it," she said in the Ellen DeGeneres Show interview. As controversial as the show may be, Kidman purposefully did what she could to bring these difficult situations to the surface. "I hadn't had a film that really kind of penetrated into the psyche of the world for a long time," she said.
With talk of Season 2 on the way, hopefully Kidman and her team hold onto the commitment and authenticity which allowed Season 1 to start such important conversations.