On the surface, it doesn’t seem like Nicole Kidman has too much in common with her Destroyer character — a hard-bitten, alcoholic LAPD detective in search of revenge.
But the Oscar winner, 51, tells PEOPLE in the latest cover story that she drew from some of her own personal motivations to play Erin Bell in director Karyn Kusama’s gritty action thriller, in theaters nationwide later this month.
“I think we all as human beings, we have a lot of things in common. We all can relate to mistakes, or particularly as a mother with a daughter, wanting your daughter to have a better life than you had,” Kidman says.
For more of PEOPLE’s exclusive interview with Nicole Kidman, pick up this week’s issue on stands Friday.
Still, the role required Kidman, who was nominated for a Golden Globe, to change everything from the way she looked to the way she talked and even walked. The actress says she enjoyed diving into a perspective so different from her own.
“This character is also so far removed from me, so that’s part of the appeal as an actor is going to places I haven’t been given the chance to go,” she says. The character, a LAPD detective whose life has been derailed by an undercover operation gone wrong, “is so damaged, sleeping in her car and sometimes not even sleeping. She’s at a place in her life where it’s over. She’s barely able to get through the day, let alone think of a future.”
She continues, “I’m all about finding characters and stories that I go, ‘This is new,’ but it’s still emotionally relevant and I grew up on these kind of films, I watch Pacino play these roles. I watched all of the men in the ’70s get a chance to do it, but I don’t have a female…So that’s exciting as an actress, to get the chance to do that.”
In the end, Kidman says her characters don’t stay with her in a way that negatively impacts her life.
“I think I just put it out into the world and then I walk away,” she says. “It’s a very, very strange journey being an actor, or the way I act. I go and I view the world through a different set of eyes, in a different mentality. Everything is different. What it does is it gives me great empathy and connection with the world when I do that. I get to go into another place and exist there for a period of time and see it really from that point of view and then I move back into my own life.”