Nicole Kidman Transforms Completely for Haunting New Thriller Role

Even the biggest Nicole Kidman fans may have trouble recognizing her in her new role for the upcoming thriller Destroyer.

(Photo: Annapurna Pictures)

In a first look of the new movie, a photo from Annapurna Pictures debuted by Vanity Fair, a disheveled, almost haunted looking Kidman stares into the camera, dirty brown and gray hair growing in her face and bags under her eyes. She also wears a dirty, baggy sweatshirt in the photo promoting her role of LAPD detective Erin Bell, years after going undercover to infiltrate a gang in the California desert. When the gang's leader reappears 20 years later, Erin finds herself reckoning with those memories and embarking on a "moral and existential odyssey."

Karyn Kusama's Destroyer will make its world premiere in September at the Toronto International Film Festival and is already earning early awards season buzz for Kidman's extreme transformation.

“We always knew that we wanted her to look like was a real middle-aged woman with a past that she wears on her face,” Kusama told Vanity Fair. “With sun damage and sleep deprivation and stress and rage, just in her whole physical body.”

Understandably, Kusama said Kidman "hates being in the makeup chair" while undergoing her transformation. "She just wants to be on set working. So we had to make it as short an application as possible," she added.

Along with Kidman, Sebastian Stan (Avengers: Infinity War), Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Bradley Whitford and Toby Kebbell also star. Destroyer is slated to hit theaters on Christmas Day.

Her role in Destroyer isn't the first time that Kidman has totally transformed herself; for the BBC Two TV show Top of the Lake, she adopted curly gray hair. In The Hours, she donned a prosthetic nose to play Virginia Woolf in 2002. And in 2012's The Paperboy, she transformed into a sleazy blonde bombshell.

Having just finished up season 2 of Big Little Lies, for which Kidman won an Emmy earlier this year, she is preparing to dive into another role: that of former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson. The movie, Fair and Balanced, will follow Roger Ailes through his forced resignation in the wake of the 2016 sexual harassment allegations made against him.


The 51-year-old actress is well known for her dramatic performances. In fact, she was so convincing in her role of abused wife Celeste Wright on HBO's Big Little Lies that her real-life husband, musician Keith Urban, was a little "disturbed" by her work on the show.

"When he watched Big Little Lies he was disturbed," Kidman told W magazine in January. "He says that when he hears me scream or cry from a certain place in my soul it’s almost like it goes straight into him and he has a visceral reaction immediately. Because his brain and his heart doesn’t discern between acting and real life. They’re the same sounds for him. It throws him."