In many ways, Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer calls to mind typical Hollywood noir: It centers on a troubled LAPD detective who’s investigating a devastating case that blurs the line between personal and professional.
But although Destroyer has plenty in common with classic crime thrillers, it also stands as the rare film to cast a woman in the lead role. Nicole Kidman plays Erin Bell, a detective who went undercover in her youth to infiltrate a California gang with tragic results. The film finds her still reckoning with the trauma of that assignment years later, and when Kidman stopped by People and EW’s TIFF studio on Monday, she spoke about how thrilled she was to play the kind of damaged anti-hero role that’s usually reserved for men.
“I grew up on these kind of films,” she said. “I watched [Al] Pacino play these roles, I watched all of the men in the ‘70s get the chance to do it, but I don’t have a female [equivalent]. That’s exciting as an actress to get the chance to do that.”
The Oscar winner is nearly unrecognizable in the film, and Kidman says she relished the chance to dive into Bell’s complicated psyche.
“This character is also so far removed from me, so that’s part of the appeal as an actor: going to places I haven’t been given the chance to go,” she said. “I’m all about finding characters and stories that [make me] go, ‘This is new, but it’s still emotionally relevant.’”
Watch the full interview with Kidman above. Destroyer is scheduled to open Dec. 25.