On a fundamental level, acting is the art of imitation. An actor takes on a character based on words written in a script and brings that character to life, putting his or her real persona on hold. For Nicole Kidman, playing Virginia Woolf in The Hours brought the late English writer she portrayed back to life--and also saved her own.
Two-thousand two was a tornado of a year for Kidman. She experienced the warm feeling of success from accolades for her performance in Moulin Rouge but also experienced the shivering chills of a divorce from her husband of more than a decade, Tom Cruise.
Nevertheless, she continued doing what she does best and landed a role in The Hours, a film based on the life of English writer Virginia Woolf and the characters in her novel Mrs. Dalloway.
As the film puts on full display, amid writing her iconic stream-of-consciousness novels and short stories, Woolf had her share of internal struggles and committed suicide by drowning herself in a river near her home in England.
Her stories have gone on to be included in the canon and her life story was brought to life in The Hours over eighty years after her death. It wasn't a cheery life story, but as dismal as it was, it helped resurrect the life of a woman who would one day portray hers.
"Acting, for me, at this particular time in my life, saved my life," Kidman says after winning her first Oscar for The Hours. "...I was so fortunate to get the chance to play Virginia at that particular time of my life because I needed it.
"...Thank God that I had the chance to express myself through this character at this time. Receiving her at that time was very important to me and being able to read and understand her voice and what she said."
In the purest form, art was life for her.