The Amazon Prime series starring Nicole Kidman is based on the 2016 novel by Hong Kong-born author Janice YK Lee
There always seems to be intrigue about the ins and outs of being a high-flying foreigner in Hong Kong. At least to Australian actress Nicole Kidman, who is now in the city. Her production company, Blossom Films, picked up the project Expats in 2018.
Expats is an Amazon Prime Video series based on the 2016 bestseller by Hong Kong-born Janice YK Lee. It chronicles the lives of three expat women in Hong Kong. “It’s a compelling exploration of the strength of these women as they persevere through struggles with marriage, career, parenting and unimaginable loss,” said Amazon Studio head, Jennifer Salke, in a 2018 interview with Deadline. She also added that Expats will take on the “addictive tapestry” of “complex women and their lives as outsiders in Hong Kong”.
1. Lulu Wang to helm the production
Director Lulu Wang (The Farewell, 2019) will serve as one of the main writers, director and co-executive producer for Expats. Wang has been in Hong Kong since January 2021. While here, she documents her own taste of Hong Kong expat life on IG. From the mandatory 21-day hotel quarantine to summer yachting to nightlife.
So far, two of the three actresses playing the three lead characters have been announced. In June, American actress Sarayu Blue (Grey’s Anatomy) was revealed to join the cast. She joins Korean-American actress, Ji-young Yoo, who is taking on the role of Mercy Cho – a New Yorker who arrived in Hong Kong after college looking to escape her uncertain past and seek a new life.
Blue is set to play Hilary Starr, a wealthy British housewife contending with a troubled marriage and fertility issues.
The role of the third lead, Margaret Reade, is yet to be known. This causes some speculations whether Kidman may join the crew on screen as well – despite Reade’s mixed-race Korean background in the novel).
Playing opposite Blue is English-American actor, Jack Huston (American Hustle, Fargo) – as David Starr – an attorney who has lived with his wife in Hong Kong long enough to gain Permanent Residency.
As production churns on, coverage about the show’s progress has been garnering its fair share of interesting critique.
Columnist Matthew Brooker took to Twitter to poke fun at the show saying dryly, “What the world needs at this juncture is a Prime Video series about the privileged lives of American expats in Hong Kong, with Nicole Kidman.”
Filmmaker Kate Reilly also wonders how Kidman will play into the production if she is, indeed, starring in it.
Nicole Kidman is producing that Amazon series about “expats,” and it’s widely reported she’ll star in it, but they have not announced what part she’ll play. Perhaps unrelatedly, the one remaining female lead from the book is 1/4 Korean, and it’s essential to that character’s arc.
With all that has happened in Hong Kong, it is no wonder that the topic of being an expatriate would seem trivial as the basis of an entire TV series. While some are excited, others remain critical and skeptical.
omg lulu wang is going to be shooting in hong kong for her next film ?? consider me excited !!!
Great book on the inanity and insanity of Hong Kong expat life – it has the [dinner] party politics, the wandering-off-husbands, the bats**t online forums, the psychological decline of idle adults, the long-suffering silence of the staff. Highly recommend. pic.twitter.com/BoI9ZFooph