Nicole Kidman (Masha) sits in candlelight at Tranquillum House in Nine Perfect Strangers

Get ready to meet Masha and her Tranquillum House. The upcoming Nine Perfect Strangers TV miniseries on Hulu, created by David E. Kelley, will bring nine people together at a health and wellness retreat. Though these characters are looking for a transformative experience at the pricey resort, fans of the HBO series Big Little Lies and Liane Moriarty's books should know they’re in for much more than they bargained for.

The limited series is coming to screens at an interesting time in our collective lives. We’ve all experienced the disaster that was 2020, when people around the world were confronted with issues like isolation, self-reflection and mortality. Not unlike some of these wellness retreats, many people took the opportunity to try to improve relationships or focus on their physical wellbeing. So while it’s completely coincidental, the timing is actually quite appropriate to dive into a fictionalized world that explores the extreme side of healing. Let’s take a look at what we know about Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers.

Bobby Cannavale as Tony in Nine Perfect Strangers

The Night Perfect Strangers Premiere Date Is Set For August 18

Nine Perfect Strangers is an eight-episode miniseries and will begin streaming on Hulu on August 18, with the first three episodes being released on that date. After that, one episode per week will be released on Hulu each Wednesday. The staggered release is the same format Hulu followed with the book adaptation of Little Fires Everywhere in 2020. So we can binge the first three episodes (and get hooked), but then we’ll have to wait and experience the rest of the series in smaller doses.

Nicole Kidman as Celeste being interrogated in Big Little Lies

Nine Perfect Strangers Is Based On The Book By Liane Moriarty

The Hulu miniseries Nine Perfect Strangers is based on the book of the same name by Liane Moriarty, which was published in 2018 and made the New York Times Bestseller list. It’s the second book-to-screen adaptation for Moriarty, whose Big Little Lies was adapted for an HBO miniseries in 2017. After the success of the first season, a second season of Big Little Lies was added that continued the story after the events of the book, and the fate of a possible Season 3 hangs in the balance.

Melissa McCarthy as Frances in Nine Perfect Strangers

Nicole Kidman And Melissa McCarthy Lead The Nine Perfect Strangers Cast

Nicole Kidman — who gave an Emmy-winning performance as Celeste in Big Little Lies — is set to star as Masha, the leader of Tranquillum House. Melissa McCarthy will play romantic novelist Frances Welty, one of the retreat attendees. They lead a star-studded cast that also includes Michael Shannon, Asher Keddie and Grace Van Patten as the Marconi family; Luke Evans as divorce lawyer Lars Lee; Samara Weaving and Melvin Gregg as lottery-winning couple Jessica and Ben Chandler; Regina Hall as single mother Carmel Schneider; and Bobby Cannavale as retired athlete Tony Hogburn. Manny Jacinto and Tiffany Boone will play Tranquillum House staffers Yao and Delilah.

Nicole Kidman as Grace and Matilda De Angelis as Elena in The Undoing

The Miniseres Reunites David E. Kelley And Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman and Liane Moriarty aren’t the ties Nine Perfect Strangers has to Big Little Lies. Both series were created and written by David E. Kelley. Kidman and Kelley also worked together on the recent HBO Max miniseries The Undoing. Though she’s said these dramatic roles cause some “disturbing” side effects for her personally, I selfishly hope they keep collaborating, because they’ve made some pretty damn entertaining television. Hopefully Nine Perfect Strangers continues that trend.

Nine Perfect Strangers Delilah (Tiffany Boone), Zoe (Grace Van Patten), Lars (Luke Evans), Napoleon (Michael Shannon), and Carmel (Regina Hall)

Nine Perfect Strangers Is A Satire Of The Wellness Industry

Liane Moriarty, who wrote the book the miniseries is based on, has said she was inspired to write about the wellness industry because she was fascinated by the “weird and wonderful things” people are willing to do to transform their lives, especially if their lives are already pretty good. While she said she didn’t intend to do a straight satire, the things that are done in the name of health lend themselves to the dark humor her books are known for.

Nine Perfect Strangers. Frances swimming Melissa McCarthy

Nine Perfect Strangers Should Strike A Balance Between “Ridiculous” And “Very Real”

David E. Kelley seemed to be on the same page as Liane Moriarty as far as the tone of the miniseries, telling Vanity Fair that it’s hard to parody self-improvement:

The series is ultimately rooted in human pathologies, and what leaps out as ridiculous gets very real. The goal was to deliver a fun ride which emotionally resonates. A hoot with a sniffle chaser.

He acknowledged the absurdity of the lengths people will go to change, but without losing the fact that those people are hurt and asking for help.

Luke Evans as Lars Lee meditates in Nine Perfect Strangers

Actors Had to Quarantine In Isolation Prior To Shooting

The process of filming Nine Perfect Strangers during the pandemic seems like it might have been a transformative experience in itself. Luke Evans detailed the quarantine process they had to go through before they could shoot the limited series, which was filmed in Australia in the latter part of 2020. Evans said they were tested every other day as they quarantined alone for 14 days. That’s even longer than the Tranquillum House’s 10-day retreat! The actors were also reportedly given the option to do their own hair and makeup.

With nine retreat-goers’ stories to tell, as well as those of the Tranquillum House employees, it’s good to see Nine Perfect Strangers being adapted as a miniseries rather than a movie. Hopefully eight episodes will give David E. Kelley et. al. the space to develop the characters as well as Liane Moriarty did in the book. Judging by the success of the book and the previous work done by this cast and crew, I’m excited to see the completed project. Check out the trailer below to get a glimpse of what these nine strangers are in for. And stay up to date on all of your other shows with our 2021 Summer TV schedule.

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