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First Look: Nine Perfect Strangers

If we were to tell you that you’ve got an appointment coming up with nine perfect strangers, you’d be forgiven for wondering if you’ve been invited to a nightmare dinner party. Don’t worry though, that’s not the case. It’s a lot more enjoyable and less awkward than that.

Fans of Liane Moriarty will likely recognise the name. Nine Perfect Strangers is the title of the Australian author’s ninth novel, a gripping work that’s been adapted for television by David E Kelley, the very same American TV writer and producer who so brilliantly brought us all fourteen episodes of Big Little Lies, HBO’s realisation of one of Moriarty’s most famous books.

Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy are amongst those set to star, so it’s safe to say we’re pretty excited about this…

Asher Keddie and Melissa McCarthy star in Nine Perfect Strangers

What’s it about?

Good question. The action takes place at a ‘wellness resort’, a respite sanctuary run by a mysterious guru called Masha. Only nine guests are treated at a time at ‘Tranquillum House’, none going there fully knowing what to expect. Each being pretty shocked to find it’s not just ten days of meditation and reiki. Suffice to say that things get more than a little intense at the ‘mind and body total transformation retreat’.

Modern society’s unending quest for self-improvement will no doubt be examined, along with plenty of other hard-hitting subjects. All the while it seems likely that we’ll all be asking whether Masha is an enigmatic and idiosyncratic genius of therapy, a grifter on the make or a despotic lunatic.

When asked about the book’s themes, Moriarty explained, ‘We live in paradise. Most of us live such comfortable middle-class lives, and so, is it the desire for suffering? And this desire we all have for transformation. I can never ignore an article that says, “Just change this one thing about your life, and you’ll be transformed forever” – even though you know when you click on it, it won’t work, I find it irresistible.’

Bobby Cannavale stars in Nine Perfect Strangers

The series was filmed last year in New South Wales, Australia, where the book is set, and production was wrapped up in fairly quick order, despite the country’s quite strict Covid regulations.

All eight episodes have been directed by Jonathan Levine, whose previous works include film comedies 50/50, The Wackness, Warm Bodies, Snatched and Long Shot. David E Kelley co-created the series with English screenwriter John Henry Butterworth, who – along with his brother Jez – wrote the upcoming fifth Indiana Jones movie.

Is there a trailer?

Here’s the official trailer for Nine Perfect Strangers.

How can I watch Nine Perfect Strangers?

Here in the UK, you can catch weekly episodes released on Amazon Prime Video, so you’ll need Prime to be able to watch all eight parts.

Who’s in it?

Maybe it’s better to ask who’s not in Nine Perfect Strangers… Alright, actually, it makes far more sense to ask who actually is in it. Still, it’s some cast.

Perhaps the great and good of Hollywood have been attracted to the project because of the strength of Moriarty’s writing, or perhaps it’s the sheer quality of Big Little Lies and avalanche of awards that the television adaptation picked up. Emmys, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, Screen Actors Guild awards, Satellite awards, Writers Guild awards, AFIs… It was some awards season for everyone concerned.

Manny Jacinto and Tiffany Boone star in Nine Perfect Strangers

Hoping to pick up gongs for Nine Perfect Strangers are a cavalcade of Academy Award and Emmy winners and nominees including Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy, Bobby Cannavale, Regina Hall and Michael Shannon. Manny Jacinto, Tiffany Boone, Melvin Gregg, Samara Weaving, Grace Van Patten, Asher Keddie, Hal Cumpston and Zoe Terakes also star.

It’ll be the third time that David E Kelley has worked with Nicole Kidman. Not only did the pair team up for Big Little Lies series 2, Kidman also starred in Kelley’s well-received 2020 crime-mystery The Undoing.

And one more fun fact for you: Melissa McCarthy plays Francis Welty, a romance novelist that Liane Moriarty has said in interviews is, in part, based on her.

Nicole Kidman stars in Nine Perfect Strangers

When is Nine Perfect Strangers out?

The series will begin over in the US on Hulu on 18th August and run weekly from there. Here in the UK we only have to wait a further two days, with Amazon Prime loading at least the first episode on the 20th, possibly along with episodes 2 and 3 as well.

So there’s not long to go before we can all get nice and acquainted with these nine perfect strangers. We can’t wait to host them.

Loved Big Little Lies? Excited for Nine Perfect Strangers? If you can’t get enough of Liane Moriarty, pre-order her new book, Apples Never Fall, here.

Nine Perfect Strangers

Liane Moriarty

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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