The series will be filmed in NSW and produced out of Byron Bay.
The series will be filmed in NSW and produced out of Byron Bay.

Kidman brings $100m blockbuster production to NSW

Oscar-winning actor Nicole Kidman is leading the revival of Australia's screen production business by bringing a $100 million blockbuster production and hundreds of new jobs home to NSW. 

Kidman, who will also star in the much-anticipated screen adaptation of Sydney author Liane Moriarty's bestseller Nine Perfect Strangers, won permission from the state and federal governments to bring in international and interstate cast and crew under strict COVID-19 guidelines.

Australian actress Nicole Kidman is bringing a $100 million blockbuster production and hundreds of new jobs to NSW. Picture: Art Streiber/Raven & Snow
Australian actress Nicole Kidman is bringing a $100 million blockbuster production and hundreds of new jobs to NSW. Picture: Art Streiber/Raven & Snow

Police will supervise an isolated production hub at Kidman's Southern Highlands property to allow pre-production to proceed as the team quarantines.

Kidman, husband Keith Urban, and children Sunday and Faith, as well as cast and crew members, will serve a 14-day quarantine under strict government guidelines in a fully-contained facility, with Kidman and her co-producers to pay all medical and security costs.

The production will also house cast and crew in a hotel during filming under strict health guidelines.

The series, to be produced in Byron Bay by Kidman's Blossom Films and Bruna Papandrea's Made Up Stories, in conjunction with Endeavor Content and the US streaming company Hulu, will also star actors Luke Evans and Melissa McCarthy, and Australians Asher Keddie and Samara Weaving.

Filming will start on August 10 and run for 19 weeks.

Welsh actor Luke Evans is attached to the project.
Welsh actor Luke Evans is attached to the project.

 

Melissa McCarthy will also star. Pictures: Getty Images
Melissa McCarthy will also star. Pictures: Getty Images

"I am thrilled we are able to make Nine Perfect Strangers in Australia," Kidman said.

"It is a great opportunity for me to give back to the community that nurtured me through so much of my career."

It is the first major production in Australia since COVID-19 brought the industry to its knees earlier this year, with many actors having not worked for months.

Hollywood will be watching keenly as it desperately seeks to restart a clogged backlog of projects and looks for a base to do so safely.

Scott Morrison said the production would support more than 250 full-time and around 1300 casual jobs, many of which would be local to the Northern Rivers area and regional NSW.

"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," the Prime Minister said.

"Not only is Ms Kidman an acclaimed, Oscar-winning actor and producer, but she is an outstanding ambassador for or nation."

The Big Little Lies team: Nicole Kidman, Liane Moriarty, Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. Picture: Getty Images
The Big Little Lies team: Nicole Kidman, Liane Moriarty, Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. Picture: Getty Images

There will be fierce bidding for the Australian rights and, given its close association with Big Little Lies, Foxtel is tipped to put up a fight for the local rights.

NSW Treasurer Dom Perrottet said the filming would also support hard-hit hospitality industries.

"This production will create hundreds of jobs as well as supporting our hard-hit hospitality industry. You couldn't write a better script than that," he 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."

Nine Perfect Strangers will also star Aussies Asher Keddie ...
Nine Perfect Strangers will also star Aussies Asher Keddie ...

 

... and Samara Weaving. Pictures: Justin Lloyd and Getty Images)
... and Samara Weaving. Pictures: Justin Lloyd and Getty Images)

The project reunites Moriarty, Hollywood screenwriting legend David E. Kelley, Kidman, Blossom executive producer Per Saari, and Papandrea, who all collaborated on the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning worldwide hit Big Little Lies.

Moriarty's book spent 13 weeks at the top of the New York Times bestseller list.

The series will take place at a boutique health-and-wellness resort that promises healing and transformation as nine stressed city dwellers try to get on a path to a better way of living. Watching over them during this 10-day retreat is the resort's director Masha - played by Nicole - a woman on a mission to reinvigorate their tired minds and bodies.

However, these nine "perfect" strangers have no idea what is about to hit them.

Founded by Kidman and Per Saari, Blossom Films was executive producer of seasons one and two of Big Little Lies, which garnered five Emmy wins for season one.

Kidman is desperate to get home to see her family, having already missed her mother Janelle's birthday this year.

Kidman and Moriarty on the 2017 Emmys red carpet in Los Angeles. Picture: AAP
Kidman and Moriarty on the 2017 Emmys red carpet in Los Angeles. Picture: AAP