In advance of tonight’s finale, we talked to Big Little Lies stars Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgard. We will be posting their full interviews after the show airs, but we wanted to give you some highlights ahead of time.
Kidman admits that filming the violence affected her in ways she wasn’t prepared for. “There were days and days of doing a lot of aggressive, really violent scenes. And I would go home and have a shower or have a bath and I would weep,” she says. “And then one day, I just got a rock and I threw it through a glass door! I thought, Oh my gosh, what is happening to me? I must had a lot of pent-up [stress] because I was trying to hold it all in.”
Skarsgard adds that the violent scenes were really tough to shoot. Per director Jean-Marc Vallee’s style, the scenes were shot from beginning to end with no break. While that allowed a lot of freedom for the actors, it also meant they were doing the complete scenes over and over again.
“Those days were horrible,” says Skarsgard. “But having a partner like Nicole was extraordinary. We had an opportunity to get to know each other and build trust. And we’d check in with each other and make sure everything was okay. And then we’d check in again at the end of the day because it’s tough to do that for 8-10 hours and then jump in your car and go home to your family. It’s intense.”
But the two are also very proud of the work and the light it shined on domestic abuse. They are also thrilled the show has generated so much attention.
Kidman, for one, was surprised when she found out Skarsgard’s big reveal in episode 6 generated Internet memes and even screenshots. She howled with laughter at the news. “No Way!” she exclaimed. “Well, it was a strange scene,” she admitted. “My aim had to be so accurate.”
She went on to break down how that scene actually worked. “Alex would say, ‘Are you sure you know exactly what your mark is that you’re hitting,” she says with a laugh. “I would say, ‘Yeah, yeah, don’t worry. But I was thinking, oops. I do play tennis so I knew that I’d be okay. Plus, I had a big target,” she says, laughing.
The Big Little Lies finale airs Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.