The flu helped Nicole Kidman perfect her destructive Destroyer detective

The Oscar winner looked so sick no one recognised her while she was shooting on the streets of Los Angeles.

Nicole Kidman didn't have to dig too deep to look like death warmed up while shooting new drama Destroyer - she was battling the flu.

In the film, the actress plays an alcoholic detective seeking revenge against the thug who killed her partner 16 years ago, and she admits a really bad cold helped her play Erin Bell.

"I had the flu," she says. "It's interesting the way in which your body reacts to the stress, but also the playing of a role, a damaged role... I got very sick... I was working with a really really high temperature and I was trying to push through, but the thing you're told as an actor is always use it, don't fight whatever you're given."

Her worst day came as she shot a tough diner scene with her onscreen daughter, played by Jade Pettyjohn.

"Being that sick and having to do this role, it all came together and even the scene at the end with my daughter... I mean I had no voice and I was so sick that day I could hardly move," Nicole recalls. "All of that plays into (the scene)... Erin's dying there and Erin knows she's dying... and the way that the sickness and the weight of that emotion all came into the scene (made it happen)."

Kidman looked so sick and ill while shooting in over 30 locations around Los Angeles in 33 days that no one recognised her on the streets.

"Nobody knew I was there, because I looked so different, so that was quite good," the actress chuckles.

She also underwent a major make-under so she looked like a weathered alcoholic, wearing one denim and leather outfit throughout the entire movie.

Destroyer hit cinemas in America on Christmas Day (25Dec18).

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