Over a career spanning more than 30 years, Nicole Kidman has never shied away from playing uncomfortable characters.
From her Academy Award-winning role as Virginia Woolf in The Hours, to her most recent turn as the conflicted Christian mother of a gay son in Boy Erased, her resumé is overflowing with complex roles designed to make you think.
But it's her latest film, Destroyer, that sees Nicole at her most conflicting. She plays Erin Bell, a haggard and haunted Los Angeles cop who finds herself drawn to a decades-old case when a crucial piece of evidence triggers a memory.
While the "hard-nosed detective" is a well-worn trope, Erin rises above the archetype as a truly flawed and untrustworthy screen character.
Nicole shifts so seamlessly between dark and light and with such ease, it's hard to tell if you're cheering for Erin's survival or plotting her downfall.
"I just never know how much of a hold the character's going to take on me, but I'm always open − and always trying to stay open so that I can access emotions and access truth," Nicole, 51, told TV WEEK at the Australian premiere of Destroyer in February.
The Big Little Lies producer and star also admitted it was hard to leave Erin behind once filming wrapped.
"I've let go of other roles easily, but found it very difficult with her," she says.
"I think as an actor, it's so intuitive and visceral."
Directed by Karyn Kasuma and shot by cinematographer Julie Kirkwood, Destroyer is also a vehicle for Nicole to champion women behind the cameras − a cause that's increasingly important to the star.
"I want these women in key positions on crews," she explains. "I'm appalled that I haven't worked with more women in film. That has to change."
Destroyer is in cinemas March 21.
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Australian Women's WeeklyYesterday 11:00am