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Stoker – Nicole Kidman and complicated relationships

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Stoker - Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode
Evie Stoker (Nicole Kidman) and Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox

In her new movie Stoker, helmed by Korean director Park Chan-Wook, Nicole Kidman portrays Evie Stoker, an emotionally unstable woman whose husband, Richard (Dermot Mulroney), is killed in a tragic car accident on their daughter India’s (Mia Wasikowska) 18th birthday.

When Richard’s long lost brother Charlie (Matthew Goode) unexpectedly turns up for the funeral, both India and Evie find themselves attracted to him, neither realizing that his arrival is no coincidence.

Nicole Kidman spoke about this unique movie, and working with Park Chan-Wook, whom she affectionately calls ‘Director Park,’ at the press day for the film.

What was it about this movie that interested you?

Stoker - Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska
Evie Stoker (Nicole Kidman) and India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox

I thought the combination of Director Park with this material was really exciting. He’s a filmmaker who is particularly revered amongst other filmmakers.

I love supporting artists who have a unique way of expressing themselves and are willing to take chances.

I certainly have done many mainstream movies, but to be able to support filmmakers who embrace a different way of looking at the world is my greatest joy as an actor.

Can you talk about Evie’s complicated relationships with Charlie and India?

Stoker - Nicole Kidman
Evie Stoker (Nicole Kidman) © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox

I feel like Evie is starved for love, and Matthew is compellingly attractive as Charlie. That’s really such a good thing for Charlie to be.

You believe that Evie would desire him and want his attention. He’s the first person for a long time to give her any attention.

And she’s got a child, India, that she doesn’t connect with. Director Park said to me, ‘Ever since you’ve held this baby, this baby had never wanted to be held.’

That’s an amazing way to start building the relationship of a mother and child, because that’s horrifying if your baby doesn’t want to be held by you.

Stoker - Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska
Evie Stoker (Nicole Kidman) and India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox

So I think that’s the thrust of Evie, she’s always trying to connect with her daughter.

India had a much stronger connection with her father, they hunted together, and Evie didn’t like to hunt. That was fascinating to me.

And, as I said, she’s very starved for love, and that creates a particular personality after awhile.

She’s not evil (she laughs)

What were the difficulties of working with a director that couldn’t speak English?

Stoker - Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode
India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) behind the curtains, Evie Stoker (Nicole Kidman) and Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox

There were times when we would have to clarify words, because particular words mean certain things, so a lot of times it would be me going, ‘Is this exactly what you want?’

In translation, things can get lost.

I was just very specific with him.

Why is he so exciting to work with?

Stoker - Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska
Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode and director Chan-wook Park on the set © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox

I think the strength of Director Park is his atmosphere. He creates an incredible atmosphere and this script relies heavily on the language of the images, because there’s not a lot of dialogue.

There’s a cinematic language that is very strong, and when I had a meeting with him we talked about all of that and it was extraordinary how detailed and precise [he was].

He knew what he wanted to say.

His use of color and sound is very specific and that’s something that really fills in a lot in a script like this.