In a coup for NSW, Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films and Bruna Papandrea’s Made Up Stories will shoot Nine Perfect Strangers, a Hulu-commissioned series based on Liane Moriarty’s novel, in the the Northern Rivers, injecting more than $100 million into the state’s economy.
Shooting will start on August 10 and Kidman and her core creative team have established an isolated production hub under police-supervised quarantine at her Southern Highlands property so pre-production can continue remotely.
As IF reported, filming in NSW was contingent on Border Force Australia granting exemptions on travel restrictions to Kidman’s co-stars including Melissa McCarthy, Luke Evans, Manny Jacinto and Melvin Gregg, and other key creatives.
Samara Weaving, Asher Keddie and Grace Van Patten have joined the cast. All hotel, medical and security costs will be borne by the production.
Following discussions with the Federal Government, Screen NSW and the NSW health authorities, it was agreed all international and out-of-state cast and crew members will serve a 14 day quarantine under strict government guidelines in an unspecified facility.
Presumably the project will be eligible for the Federal Government’s new $400 million Location Incentive fund. “Applications are made in confidence, so it would not be appropriate to comment on whether a specific production has, or has not, made an application,” a spokesperson for Communications Minister Paul Fletcher tells IF.
“Successful recipients of the Location Incentive are announced in the usual course.”
Confirming the production, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “Australia is in the box-seat to attract productions to our shores and we are proud and privileged that one of the first is Nine Perfect Strangers with our Nicole Kidman.
“Not only is Ms Kidman an acclaimed, Oscar-winning actor and producer but she is an outstanding ambassador for our nation.
“This major international production will support more than 250 full-time and around 1,300 casual jobs, many who will be local to the Northern Rivers area.”
Kidman said: “I am thrilled we are able to make Nine Perfect Strangers in Australia. It is a great opportunity for me to give back to the community that nurtured me through so much of my career.”
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said: “Our economy could do with a touch of Tinseltown right now and we welcome productions like this one. This will showcase the best of NSW on the global stage. It’s showtime for new jobs and new investment in NSW.”
Samantha Strauss co-wrote the script with the showrunners, David E Kelley and John Henry Butterworth, who collaborated with Made Up Stories and Blossom Films on HBO’s adaptation of Moriarty’s Big Little Lies. Barbara Gibbs is the line producer.
The series is set at a boutique health-and-wellness resort where nine stressed city dwellers try to get on a path to a better way of living. Watching over them during the ten-day retreat is the resort’s director Masha (Kidman), who is on a mission to reinvigorate their tired minds and bodies.
McCarthy, Evans, Gregg, Weaving, Keddie and Van Patten are among the “perfect” strangers. Jacinto will play Yao, a bright-eyed man-kid who is Masha’s right hand man and is deeply committed to her self-improvement techniques and teachings.