“The Undoing,” starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant, was HBO’s most watched series of 2020. Through the twists and turns of a murder mystery, it also explores themes of economic privilege, race and marriage. Washington Post movie critic Ann Hornaday speaks with Kidman and Grant about their roles, the creative opportunities in the streaming television landscape and their friendship offscreen.

Highlights

Kidman said collaborating with director Susanne Bier helped fulfill a pledge Kidman made to work with a female director every 18 months. “I’d made a pledge… at the Cannes film festival where I stood up and said ‘Listen, I’m going to pledge because this is the only way to actually get things to change is that when you have some position of being able to make choices for who’s going to direct something or at least offer them to people to try and have women directing, work with a female director every, every 18 months. And so that was part of my pledge and honoring that, and it was fantastic because… It was true to my promise but also completely necessary for the project.” (Washington Post Live)
Grant said he enjoyed the way the Danish director fused a European sensibility with a “very American script.” “I loved her Danish films and I do think it’s a very happy, an unusual marriage of this very European sensibility with a very American script. And you can see that… The other thing that surprised me about Susanne… was–and I didn’t know this side of her–was she’s very, she’s quite twisted and dark. She loved, the darker Johnathan was, the more fascinated she was, which suited me down to the ground.” (Washington Post Live)
Grant said Susanne Bier–who directed the series– wanted him to channel the charm he harnessed in his famous romantic comedies to make his character in the new show more complex. “I think Susanne [Bier] wanted a bit of kind of what I might call vintage Hugh Grant... If I could wheel on some of that, you know, charming character then people might think ‘he can’t possibly have done it.’ And a good way to do that, and a good vehicle for that… were scenes with the boy.” (Washington Post Live)
The actress said it was necessary to move beyond discussions of changing Hollywood, and put in the work to actually change it. “It’s because of so many people going ‘Come on, it has to change, there’s no more discussion about it,’ or ‘Oh wouldn’t it be nice’ or constantly going yeah we can talk about it but let’s actually do it. Let’s actually do it. You know, and that’s, this is the sort of [thing], I suppose, I’ve been committed to.” (Washington Post Live)
Despite the success of streaming, the actors said films still warrant being seen in groups and on the big screen. Grant said: “When you watch a film with an audience, there’s something going on. There’s a special feeling in the room, and I think we all spend too much time watching screens by ourselves or with our little close bubbles. Enough.” Kidman said: “There is certain films that need to be seen on a big screen with a huge group. There’s stories that you can sit and snuggle in your bed and watch on your computer or on TV… and they work that way…Being able to say there is still going to be those directors that are gonna want to work on those big, big landscapes and tell these stories that warrant being seen on a big screen.” (Washington Post Live)

Nicole Kidman

Provided by representatives for Nicole Kidman.

Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG and Emmy winner Nicole Kidman first came to the attention of American audiences with her critically acclaimed performance in Phillip Noyce’s riveting 1989 Australian psychological thriller Dead Calm. Kidman has since become an internationally recognized, award-winning actress and producer known for her range and versatility.

Nicole was recently nominated for a Golden Globe and SAG Award for Best Actress in a Limited Series for her role in HBO’s THE UNDOING opposite Hugh Grant, where she also received recognition for her role as an executive producer on the series along with her Blossom Films, nominated for a PGA Award in the category Outstanding Producer of a Limited Series. The series made HBO history as the first Original Series to grow viewership consistently week after week over the course of its season. She can also be seen portraying Angie Dickinson in Ryan Murphy's Netflix adaptation of the hit-Broadway musical THE PROM, alongside Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, and James Corden – the film premiered on December 11th. She has recently wrapped production on Robert Eggers’ THE NORTHMAN and NINE PERFECT STRANGERS for Hulu, a project she is producing under Blossom Films.

In 2003, Kidman won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in Stephen Daldry’s The Hours, for which she also won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award. She has also been honored with Academy Award nominations for her performances in Baz Luhrmann’s innovative musical, Moulin Rouge!, John Cameron Mitchell’s RABBIT HOLE, and Garth Davis’ LION. Kidman also served as a producer on Rabbit Hole, the first feature film produced under her production company, Blossom Films. She is currently in production on Aaron Sorkin’s Being the Ricardo’s with Javier Bardem.

Kidman took home her first Golden Globe for her performance in Gus Van Sant’s To Die For. Her next Golden Globe came in 2002 when she was nominated for both Best Actress in a Musical for Moulin Rouge! and Best Actress in a Drama for Alejandro Amenabar’s psychological thriller, The Others, winning for Best Actress in a Musical. She has also received Golden Globe nominations for the films Billy Bathgate, Cold Mountain, Birth, Rabbit Hole, The Paperboy, Lion, and Destroyer.

Her other feature credits include Eyes Wide Shut, Nine, Killing of a Sacred Deer, Beguiled, Boy Erased, and Aquaman. She was most recently seen in Jay Roach’s Bombshell opposite Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie.

In television, Kidman starred in HBO’s HEMINGWAY AND GELLHORN alongside Clive Owen in 2012 (Emmy, Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations). In 2017, Kidman returned to the small screen with the limited series BIG LITTLE LIES alongside Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, and Shailene Woodley for HBO, co-executive produced by Blossom Films. Kidman received Emmy, Golden Globe, Critics Choice and Screen Actors Guild awards for her portrayal of Celeste. BIG LITTLE LIES also received an Emmy Award, Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award for Outstanding Limited Series. The second season of the series premiered in June 2019.

In theater, Kidman made a highly-lauded London stage debut in the fall of 1998, starring with Iain Glen in THE BLUE ROOM, David Hare’s modern adaptation of Schnitzler’s LA RONDE. For her performance, Kidman won London’s Evening Standard Award and was nominated in the Best Actress category for a Laurence Olivier Award. In 2015, Kidman was seen on the West End stage in Anna Ziegler’s PHOTOGRAPH 51, for which she received a London’s Evening Standard Award.

In January of 2006, Kidman was awarded Australia’s highest honor, the Companion in the Order of Australia. She was also named, and continues to serve, as Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, UN Women. Along with her husband, Keith Urban, she has helped raise millions over the years for the Women’s Cancer Program which is a world-renowned center for research into the causes, treatment, prevention, and eventual cure of women’s cancer. In 2017, the Cannes Film Festival honored Kidman with a special award for her body of work and longstanding history with the festival. She is one of only eight people to ever receive this honor in the 70-year history of the festival.

Last December, Kidman announced her partnership with SeraLabs. She joins the brand as a strategic business partner and global brand ambassador. She will be working on the brand’s Seratopical line – a line of topical CBD products that support anti-aging as well as hydrating skin and relieving pain.

Hugh Grant

Provided by representatives for Hugh Grant.

Hugh Grant has received awards and acclaim for his work in a wide range of films, which have grossed more than $2.5 billion combined, worldwide.

Grant was most recently seen in in HBO’s hit limited series “The Undoing,” starring opposite Nicole Kidman as an acclaimed pediatric oncologist, devoted husband to Grace (Kidman) and doting father, whose past undergoes scrutiny when he suddenly disappears, leading to a chain of terrible revelations. The show made HBO history as the network’s first ever original series to grow consistently every week over the course of its season, with the finale becoming the most watched night of viewing for an HBO original series since the finale of “Big Little Lies.” Grant received Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for his performance.

The actor recently wrapped production on Guy Ritchie’s new film, previously titled FIVE EYES. Up next, Grant will begin production on the highly anticipated DUNGEONS & DRAGONS film adaptation, starring alongside Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Justice Smith, and Regé-Jean Page.

In 2020, Grant also appeared in Netflix’s DEATH TO 2020, a mockumentary by “Black Mirror” creators Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones. Also in 2020, Grant starred in Guy Ritchie’s THE GENTLEMEN, a gangster feature exploring the collision between old-money European wealth and the modern marijuana industrial complex. The actor played the sleazy and relentless journalist, Fletcher, who also serves as the narrator of the story. Prior to that, Grant starred in Stephen Frears directed drama “A Very English Scandal”, which garnered strong critical acclaim for his performance as the scandalous British politician, Jeremy Thorpe and earned him Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Critics' Choice nominations, as well as his first Emmy nomination.

In 2018, Grant appeared as “Phoenix Buchanan” in the box office sensation, PADDINGTON 2, which grossed $228 million worldwide and received a 100% Rotten Tomatoes rating. For his role, Grant received nominations from BAFTA and The Evening Standard Awards, and won the London Film Critics' Circle Award for Supporting Actor of the Year. Grant was also seen in Stephen Frears’ comedy FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS, in which he starred opposite Meryl Streep. His performance received critical acclaim, earning him Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA, and Critics’ Choice nominations, as well as the Best Actor Award at The Evening Standard British Film Awards.

Prior to this, Grant starred in Marc Lawrence’s romantic comedy THE REWRITE, and in Guy Ritchie’s film adaptation of the eponymous series THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. In 2012, he starred in the ambitious drama CLOUD ATLAS, from directors Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski and Tom, playing multiple roles throughout the film. That same year, he lent his voice to the lead role of The Pirate Captain in the animated film THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS from director Peter Lord, and, in 2009, starred opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in Marc Lawrence’s DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MORGANS.

His other film credits include Lawrence’s MUSIC AND LYRICS (2007); Paul Weitz’s AMERICAN DREAMZ (2006); Sharon Maguire’s BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY (2001) and its sequel, BRIDGET JONES: THE EDGE OF REASON, directed by Beeban Kidron (2004); Richard Curtis’ ensemble comedy hit LOVE ACTUALLY (2003); and Marc Lawrence’s TWO WEEKS NOTICE (2002), opposite Sandra Bullock.

Grant won a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA for his performance in Mike Newell’s FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL in 1994, and was nominated for Golden Globes for his performances in Roger Michell’s NOTTING HILL (1999) and Chris Weitz’s ABOUT A BOY (2002). Among his many feature film credits are Mike Newell’s AN AWFULLY BIG ADVENTURE (1995), Christopher Monger’s THE ENGLISHMAN WHO WENT UP A HILL BUT CAME DOWN A MOUNTAIN (1995), Ang Lee’s SENSE AND SENSIBILITY (1995), Kelly Makin’s MICKEY BLUE EYES (1999), Woody Allen’s SMALL TIME CROOKS (2000) and Michael Apted’s EXTREME MEASURES (1996), which he also produced.

In addition to his Golden Globe and BAFTA honors, Grant has received the Peter Sellers Award for Comedy, Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival, and an Honorary César Award.

Grant is also on the board of Hacked Off, which was started in response to the News International phone hacking scandal and campaigns for a free and accountable press.