It wasn’t because of glitzy award shows or wearing designer outfits that made Nicole Kidman want to become an actress — it was books.

“I was like, ‘I want that.’ I know how to become a character and it all started when I was tiny, reading books and then reading plays,” she tells Variety during her recent cover shoot.

Whether it’s a big role or a character with a one-day shoot, Kidman says as long as she connects with the story, “it’s very hard for me to walk away from it.” That’s why she feels so protective of two of her newest films, “Boy Erased” and “Destroyer.”

And although she often gets called a chameleon for her ability to play just about any character with depth, Kidman says she doesn’t view herself that way.

“I see myself more as just a human being who wants to view the world from many different eyes and through many different spectrums,” she says. “I have no way of knowing how I do it. It’s like fairy dust gets sprinkled, and I go, ‘Oh okay, now it’s coming.”

She also talked about the next season of “Big Little Lies,” which has another A-list addition to the cast in the coming episodes: Meryl Streep.

“She is the queen,” Kidman said of Streep. “I call her the great one. It’s so good when you see someone that could be resting on their laurels and doesn’t, is a complete pro — comes in, is never late. It’s just great to work with that.”