Karyn Kusama has found her next leading lady.
Karyn Kusama seems ready to take a big step back into the spotlight. Winning over audiences with her directorial debut Girlfight back in 2000, it would take 15 years before she would return with another acclaimed film — The Invitation. In between, Kusama helmed some less-well-received films, namely Aeon Flux and the cult classic Jennifer’s Body. But her latest venture has landed someone so star-studded that everyone was bound to notice. The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Nicole Kidman will be starring in Destroyer, a crime thriller set in LA, to be directed by Kusama and written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi (Ride Along).
The film tracks the story of LAPD detective Erin Bell (Kidman), who has to contend with her past when it resurfaces without warning. As a young police officer, Erin went undercover into the California desert with a cult-like gang until tragedy befalls them. When the gang leader reappears in her life, Erin must confront the ghosts of her past, encountering the remaining members along the way.
“Phil and Matt have written one of the most compelling screenplays I’ve ever read, Nicole is at the top of her game — doing tremendously exciting work — and Karyn is one of the most assured voices working today,” said Destroyer producer Fred Berger (whose credits include La La Land). “It’s a powerful combination, sure to produce an iconic character, and I feel lucky to be in their company.”
Indeed, Destroyer sounds primarily like an actor’s vehicle. Hence, it’s hard to argue the value of having Kidman on board the project, after the tremendous year she’s had. FSR’s Angela Morrison has even dissected a selection of Kidman’s best performances, determining her status as the ultimate Hollywood risk taker. That, of course, means a mixed bag of films every so often. Kidman sometimes goes for more subpar projects. For example, maybe it was easy to believe in Werner Herzog for Queen of the Desert, but Secret in Their Eyes suffered greatly as a remake. However, more often than not, Kidman just needs to sit in a corner and deliver some ace monologues in some way, shape or form and we’re sold (Lion, Stoker). Most recently, Kidman starred in Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled and Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer in this year alone. She then took home an Emmy for her starring role in HBO’s Big Little Lies. That’s halfway to an EGOT right there.
Kidman and Kusama’s joint efforts may just make this hopefully “formidable and intelligent commercial thriller” work. Destroyer aims to tap into star power, the portrayal of a complex, powerful woman, and a knack for portraying authenticity and humanity onscreen. That’s a killer combination.