While friends for over 25 years, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant have never worked together onscreen. That is, until now, in HBO’s stylish, thrilling new series, The Undoing. Directed by Susanne Bier and written by David E. Kelley, the six-episode show is an addictive adaptation of Jean Hanff Korelitz’s novel, You Should Have Known, which tells the story of a privileged couple living in New York City whose marriage is upended by a shocking death and the many revelations that follow.
As Grace and Jonathan Fraser, there’s no question that Kidman and Grant are a couple long in love but also slightly out of touch with each other, which plays into the paranoia that unfolds over the course of the series. For Kidman, who delivers another stunning performance following her Emmy-winning turn on Big Little Lies, the chemistry is so palpable “because we’ve known each other since we were in our early 20s,” she tells ET’s Rachel Smith during a joint Zoom interview with Grant.
The actress is calling in from Sydney, Australia, where she is currently filming her next, hotly anticipated series Nine Perfect Strangers, while Grant checks in from a “gray and depressing” London.
Surprisingly, the two have never appeared in the same film or TV series together. Though, it's not for a lack of trying, with the actress revealing that she previously auditioned for Notting Hill while Grant admits to walking away from another project. But they make the most of their time together on The Undoing.
“I feel very comfortable with him and part of what it took for this to work is that this couple has to be very sort of comfortable and happy,” Kidman continues, before turning to her co-star. “Would you not agree, Hugh?”
“That was the aim,” Grant confirms, while adding that despite having six episodes to make this couple as complex and layered and believable as possible, “We had to sort of establish all that in one episode before the rug was pulled from under the feet of this adorable couple.”
In The Undoing, Grant channels a darkness that when combined with his natural charm results in a beguiling character, perfect for the twists and turns in this series. Without spoiling the story, which wastes no time delivering shocks and surprises, the rug that he was referring to was their lives as working medical professionals and parents of a 12-year-old son, Henry (Noah Jupe), who attends a prestigious private school where all the parents, including Sylvia Steinetz (Lily Rabe), know each other’s business and are the keepers of their secrets.
While Kidman and Grant have natural chemistry together, the actress says that her co-star was adamant that they don’t hug or kiss too much. “Because after 10 years of marriage, people would never be doing that,” she recalls, while calling out Grant, who attempts to clarify that he only said, “I just didn’t think we should do it every single scene.”
Their back and forth is just the kind of playful banter that comes with having been friends for so long. “You know, Nicole’s a laugh,” Grant says, adding that she’s also “a gossip, which I love. I can get stuff out of her.” While Kidman tries to deny it, the actor clarifies, “Well, you gossip about yourself, which I like. I like all the dirt.”
“I do. I’ll answer questions about myself,” Kidman concedes.
While Kidman saves the juiciest gossip for her longtime friends, she did open up about the rumors surrounding a third season of Big Little Lies, her hit HBO series co-starring Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern and Zoe Kravitz. After an explosive first season, which was based on Liane Moriaty’s novel of the same name, the series was renewed for a second season, welcoming Meryl Streep to the cast.
In a recent interview with Marie Claire, Kidman revealed Kelley, who wrote seasons 1 and 2, and Moriaty “have a really good idea for it,” while adding that Dern and Kravitz were up for another installment.
When ET asked for any updates on the current status of the show, Kidman turns to Grant to see if he would want to be in season 3. “Very much,” he answers. “It was brilliant.”
But when it comes to any specifics, it all comes down to timing and availability, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has made productions more difficult. “We talk about it, we would love to do it, obviously,” she says. “Right now is such a difficult time for our industry and everyone is working [but] we would love to do it. We would all relish the idea of coming back together in Monterey.”
The Undoing, meanwhile, premieres Sunday, Oct. 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.