Nicole Kidman and Lena Waithe both cleaned up at last year’s Emmys, have numerous TV projects on the horizon, and just scored series orders from Amazon. The Hollywood Reporter confirms the streamer has picked up Kidman’s drama “The Expatriates” and Waithe’s horror anthology series “Them.”
“The Expatriates” marks Kidman’s first project under the first-look deal she recently signed with Amazon Studios. The Oscar winner will exec produce the series with her Blossom Films partner Per Saari. Also serving as EP is POW Productions’ Theresa Park. Alice Bell (“The Beautiful Lie”) is writing.
Based on Janice Y.K. Lee’s book, “The Expatriates” follows a close group of expat women living in Hong Kong. Theirs is a community “where affluence is celebrated, friendships are intense but knowingly temporary, and personal lives, deaths, and marriages are played out publicly — then retold with glee,” per the show’s synopsis. It’s “a delicious world of unusual alliances, heartfelt truths, and mystifying superstitions; a place where fortunes are made and lost, families sundered and brought together, identities made and then remade in pursuit of an extraordinary life.”
“The story weaves an addictive tapestry that follows a group of complex women and their lives as outsiders 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 Studios head Jennifer Salke.
“I’m so thrilled about the Blossom-Amazon collaboration,” added Kidman. “‘The Expatriates’ is just the beginning of our shared goal in making delicious stories with something meaningful to say about the world.”
No word on an episode count or release date for “The Expatriates.”
Kidman’s upcoming screen credits include Season 2 of HBO hit “Big Little Lies” and Karyn Kusama’s police drama “Destroyer,” out December 25. She and Blossom Films are also developing TV adaptations of Meg Wolitzer’s “The Female Persuasion” — which Kidman will topline — and “BLL” author Liane Moriarty’s “Truly Madly Guilty.” The former explores the generational divide among feminists and the latter is set over a weekend and grapples with marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. Kidman will also star in and EP HBO miniseries “The Undoing,” about a successful therapist whose life falls apart just before the publication of her first book.
Waithe’s “Them” received a two-season order at Amazon. It will delve into race in America through horror and supernatural storylines. Season 1, entitled “Them: Covenant,” centers on Alfred and Lucky Emory and their family, who move from North Carolina to an all-white neighborhood in Los Angeles in 1953. “The family’s home on a tree-lined, seemingly idyllic street becomes ground zero where malevolent forces both real and supernatural threaten to taunt, ravage, and destroy them,” THR details.
Waithe is exec producing with series writer Little Marvin (“The Time Is Now”). Vertigo Entertainment will exec produce as well.
“Little Marvin’s script stayed with me for weeks after I read it,” Waithe revealed. “He’s written something that’s provocative and terrifying. The first season will speak to how frightening it was to be black in 1953. It will also remind us that being black in 2018 is just as horrifying. This anthology series will examine the cultural divides among all of us and explore us vs Them in a way we’ve never seen before.”
“I’ve always felt that dark, surreal times deserve dark, surreal mirrors to show us ourselves,” Little Marvin explained. “And at this point in time, one of the best ways to examine fractures in our world is through the visceral and raw lens of horror. I’m beyond thrilled that our series has found its home with the fine folks at Amazon.”
Last year Waithe became the first black woman to win a comedy writing Emmy for the “Master of None” episode “Thanksgiving.” The ep delves into the decades-long coming out process of Waithe’s character, Denise.
Just last week Waithe inked a first-look deal with Showtime, the home of her ensemble drama “The Chi.” “The Chi” will return for Season 2 in 2019.
Up next for Waithe is the script for “Queen & Slim,” directed by Melina Matsoukas (“Insecure”). Described as a “Bonnie and Clyde”-like story, the film follows a black couple who go on the run after they accidentally kill a police officer in self-defense. Waithe also has a new show in development at TBS. The network ordered a pilot for “Twenties,” a comedy about a queer woman and her two straight BFFs.