Actress Nicole Kidman is no stranger to adoption. While married to actor Tom Cruise, she adopted two children — Isabella, now 23, and Connor, 21.
So it only makes sense that she drew upon some of her own experience to play an adoptive mother in her newest movie, “Lion.”
The film tells the story of Saroo Brierley, an Indian child adopted by an Australian family who searches for his birth family 25 years later. Kidman plays Sue Brierley, Saroo’s adoptive mother. Although Brierley was able to have biological children, she chose to adopt Saroo and supported him when he wanted to find his biological parents.
In her research for the role, Kidman met with Brierley and, as two adoptive parents, they formed “a spiritual bond,” she told People editorial director Jess Cagle.
“We just felt very, very connected,” Kidman said.
As an adoptive mother herself, Kidman had thought about the moments when her own children would want to meet their birth parents. Although she said she couldn’t speak for all adoptive parents, for her, it was something she prepared for since she first adopted her children.
“It’s very much part of the whole relationship, so it needs to be addressed [and] discussed,” she said. “I don’t know about other people’s lives, [but] as parents of adopted children, the advice [we were given] was, ‘If they want to find their birth parents, you support that.’“
“Lion” will ring true for many adoptive parents, especially those with international and transracial adoptions. Part of the story focuses on Saroo’s worry that he’ll upset his adoptive mother by seeking out his birth parents — that she’ll feel betrayed by his choice.
But it’s important that adoptive parents understand this isn’t a reflection on their parenting skills; it’s a natural curiosity that some adopted children will want to follow through to the end. And it’s important that those parents support their child’s desires, which Brierley does in the movie.
“She says, ‘I love you, and I so hope you find her, because she will see how beautiful you are,’” Kidman said.
Watch Kidman’s full interview about “Lion” and its messages about adoption here.
“Lion” opens in movie theaters on Nov. 25.