Nicole Kidman debuted perhaps one of her most unsettling characters to date in the trailer for her upcoming Hulu miniseries Nine Perfect Strangers.
On Thursday, Good Morning American premiered the first-ever trailer for the upcoming Hulu miniseries based on a New York Times best-selling 2018 novel of the same name by Liane Moriarty. Fans of Nicole Kidman’s work may recognize the author’s name as the scribe behind Big Little Lies, which aired the first of its two seasons in 2017 and also stars the actress.
The eerie trailer for Nine Perfect Strangers introduces Nicole Kidman as Masha Dmitrichenko, an Eastern European (judging by the accent she puts on) head of a swanky wellness retreat called Tranquillum House. The retreat attracts nine folks from the nearby city who believe she and her program hold the key to fixing the unique inner damages they all believe they suffer from. The group embarks on a 10-day retreat, but it quickly becomes clear that their inner demons may be the least of their problems as Masha’s methods seem to get more and more nefarious.
E! News reports that the cast of nine joining Nicole Kidman’s character on this potentially dangerous wellness journey are Frances (Melissa McCarthy), Lars (Luke Evans), Tony (Bobby Cannavale), Carmel (Regina Hall), Napoleon (Michael Shannon), Jessica (Samara Weaving), Ben (Melvin Gregg), Heather (Asher Keddie) and Zoe (Grace Van Patten). The trailer sees Masha ask that the group “surrender” themselves to her.
Other cast members joining Nicole Kidman on Nine Perfect Strangers include Melvin Gregg Asher Keddie, Grace Van Patten, Manny Jacinto, Tiffany Boone, Hal Cumpston and Zoe Terakes.
The trailer shows a lot of unsettling moments as the unblinking Masha puts them through various rigorous exercises designed to get to the heart of what’s wrong with them. Perhaps one of the most unsettling exercises depicted in the trailer includes the group being asked to lay in individual graves dug for them while the assistants of Nicole Kidman’s character throw dirt on them. While it seems odd, they each have some kind of seemingly profound personal experience during the grave scene.
However, things in the trailer begin to take a turn when the guests get wise to the fact that their presence at the retreat together is not exactly coincidental. One character notes that Masha hand-selected them because she believes their particular reasons for seeking help from a wellness retreat complement each other. However, it’s implied that getting her guests well is not exactly Masha’s core goal as the audience sees Nicole Kidman sitting at a computer seemingly watching the events she’s orchestrating among her vulnerable guests unfold.
According to its 2018 review of the Nine Perfect Strangers book, USA Today gives some insight into the Masha character that may or may not be transported from the page to the screen by way of Nicole Kidman’s portrayal. The book, which is set in Australia, depicts Masha as a strict, results-driven Russian emigre who fled the corporate world after suffering a heart attack that left her clinically dead. Now that she’s shed some pounds and gotten her life and health back on track, she seeks to do the same for her guests. However, for her this means the nine strangers undergo rigorous hikes, diet restrictions like fasting, something called “noble silences” as well as blood tests. However, in what might explain some of the more trippy elements of the trailer, they’re also fed a lot of smoothies that they may or may not know contains microdoses of LSD.
The first three episodes of Nicole Kidman’s Nine Perfect Strangers drop on Hulu on Aug. 18.