Nicole Kidman on the Allure of Her New Thriller ‘The Undoing’

Nicole Kidman, The Undoing

The actress talks to Katie about the thriller and the “Scandi-noir” elements that have captivated audiences

Ahead of Sunday night’s season finale, Katie chatted with Nicole Kidman about the HBO drama that has audiences hooked. The actress opens up about her reunion with Big Little Lies creator, David E. Kelley, what it was like working alongside Hugh Grant and Donald Sutherland, and the show’s lush depiction of a pre-Covid New York City.

Katie Couric: Everyone I know is obsessed with The Undoing. Did you know when you heard about the project it would intrigue so many and attract such a cult following?

Nicole Kidman: I love to hear that! It’s been such a journey getting this made, I’d forgotten what it was like to experience this story for the first time and now I’m hearing all these amazing theories about who did it and the fun of that conversation. I love your posts…thank you! I remember when David sent me the scripts and I had no idea what the next episode would bring, who the murderer might be. I was playing the main character and I still didn’t know!

The show made so many people miss pre-Covid New York City. Did you have fun filming there?

I love being in New York and working in New York. One of the things that excited me about this project was [director Susanne Bier’s] desire to show New York like we hadn’t seen it on film…almost like a dark fairy tale. We didn’t know there would be a time capsule quality to what we were doing, but I’m grateful we were able to get this made when we did and with one of the finest crews in the world.

New York hasn’t been this big a character since Sex and the City and it seems Susanne Bier really brilliantly highlighted it. What are your thoughts on the shots, the classical music, the whole vibe Susanne gave New York?

Susanne Bier is an extraordinary filmmaker. She directed every frame of every episode, which is so difficult to do. Her cinematic vision — not to mention her tenacity and stamina — was key to making this dark, subverted fairy tale come to life. Thrillers are hands-down the hardest genre to make work. Susanne is one of the finest filmmakers working, at the top of her game. Scandi-noir is what Hugh calls her vision, which I love. Pure cinema!

What is it about David E. Kelley’s writing that makes him one of the most sought after people in Hollywood?

David is just a great storyteller. You know him too…in person or on the page, he knows how to pull you in, to captivate you, and he’s so funny, too. I hadn’t worked with him before Big Little Lies, so his special tone, which goes from the dramatic to the comedic, was a discovery for me. He knows how to write for me. We just click in that way you always hope.

Everyone is so good in this show. What was it like working with Hugh Grant, Donald Sutherland, and Noah Jupe.

The four of us made the perfectly imperfect family! Something that was important to Susanne was to explore Grace’s relationship to the men in her life…her father, husband and son…and no one could have brought more dimension and life to these characters than Hugh, Donald and Noah.

What are you up to now?

I just wrapped Nine Perfect Strangers, which I made with David Kelley and Liane Moriarty and a lot of our Big Little Lies team. It was an unbelievable journey, which I am so, so grateful to have been a part of thanks to a quick mid-Covid move to Australia with Melissa McCarthy, Regina Hall, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Shannon, Tiffany Boone… another family brought together. Now I’m in Northern Ireland on Robert Eggers’ film. I play a viking.