Things are going very well for Nicole Kidman these days, as we discussed in our two-part interview for my Deadline web series The Actor’s Side. She just returned from the Cannes Film Festival, where she was honored at the awards gala Sunday with a special 70th Anniversary Award which recognized the fact she appeared in no less than four movies (well actually three, plus Jane Campion’s limited series Top Of The Lake: China Girl) on display there, including award winners The Killing Of A Sacred Deer and The Beguiled.

In February, the Oscar winner was up for yet another golden boy, this time for the much-loved Lion. And she has caused all kinds of Emmy talk this spring for her startling role as Celeste in HBO’s hit limited series Big Little LiesIn Part I of our conversation, we talk about that show which has caused so much water-cooler dishing. She was a producer as well as co-star, and grabbed the rights to the book early on. She tells of how the cast of “friends helping friends” came to be, as well as the attraction of doing television that was once verboten for film stars of her caliber. She also discusses the physical and emotional toll of playing such a complex role. “I would go home and cry,” she tells me.

In Part II we dive into the question of why she gravitates toward risky roles, even ones she fears, and why they make her feel safer. She discusses the list of world-class directors she has worked with including Kubrick, von Trier and Campion, and says why she thinks it is important to seek out female directors. We also chat about the process of choosing projects to do; how she started very young going to drama classes on Saturdays while other kids were out playing; the financial toll of being attracted to smaller indie films; and finally her latest gig, playing the mother and “female warrior of the sea” in James Wan’s Aquaman which is anything BUT indie.

Check out Part I of our conversation above, and Part II below.