Thank you to everyone who submitted a question to Nicole about “The Others”. Please see below for her answers.
Courtney: Hi, Nicole, I’m a huge fan of you and your work. What scene, for you, was the most intense to film? As a mother, how did you mentally prepare for the role of Grace?
NK: There wasn’t one particular scene– the whole film was very intense because of the subject matter. It was important for me to find the motivation as to why she had harmed her children, and at one point I didn’t want to make the film because I couldn’t even go there emotionally. I was having nightmares in pre-production when we were rehearsing, which led me to quit. They convinced me to come back and do it, and I think I found the motivation from the perspective of Grace’s character deciding to take her children’s lives because she felt that the world was too cruel a place for them. As soon as I could approach it from that place I could fathom playing the role. It was still very difficult to exist in that state. I was so glad to step out of her in the end.
IR: The question I would like to ask about The Others is this: What do you think is the ultimate resolution of the film, if there is one? The story itself is so sad–it is as if there is no way out of the grief. The message seems to be that even death cannot take away the sadness and weight of certain events in life–such as what Grace did. She has not been spiritually reunited with her husband when they are both dead, and it appears that they never will, even in afterlife. Do you think there’s a way out of the abyss, or do you think this is what the film meant to convey–a kind of despair that can’t even be resolved by death?
NK: Those sort of questions– I think they are up for interpretation. When you’re an actor in a film you’re very much a part of a director’s vision and a part of a director’s voice. I have my ideas about the film, and that there’s this limbo place that you exist in when things are not resolved. But this is very much Alejandro Amenábar’s vision. He’s such an auteur- he directs, he edits, he oversees every tiny part of the film and he’s extraordinarily talented. I think he has a complicated relationship with the Church,which I think comes across in the movie. But through the whole film, I suppose the heart of it is the sadness of this mother, and the turmoil she has in relation to losing her husband and being left alone in this house with her sick children.
Rosanna: You often say that you take up projects because they are challenging. In this movie, what was the challenge about? What did you gain out of it? And, what do you wish you had done a better job at?
NK: The challenge was making this woman fragile, not a monster. Even though what she does is horrendous, I wanted her to have this fragility so that you could feel for her. I hope that comes across; I wanted you to feel her love for her children. I always see a film and think that I could have done better. Some of the films I never see– I happened to have seen “The Others”, and I just love what Alejandro did with it. However, I look at everything I’ve done critically–but I think that’s the job of an actor. If you ever sit on your laurels or think that you’re good– in a way, I don’t then think you’re pushing yourself.
Harjot: As the character you were playing was a very emotional one, did you keep in character off set, intentionally or otherwise? Also how did Alejandro Amenábar’s filming methods differ from other directors?
NK: I think the emotional state just seeps into your life (I said that about Rabbit Hole as well). When you’re doing an intense film the boundaries blur, but at the same time I don’t have people calling me the character’s name. I think I do exist in some sort of limbo state myself so that I can access very raw, deep emotions– it’s just how I work. Alejandro is very different from other directors– all great directors are different. I suppose what I do is honor each director’s process. At the moment I’m filming Paperboy with Lee Daniels who did “Precious”. He’s extremely different from anybody else i’ve worked with– he’s very spontaneous and immediate. Whereas with Alejandro, everything is thought-out. He is very intellectual and bright, so he approaches it from a philosophical place, yet at the same time he’s willing to work with an actor to find the emotional truth so that the actor can mold the role.
The official Blu-Ray release of the film will debut on September 20th– visit the Lionsgate store now to pre-order your copy!