Hong Kongers Supporting Nicole Kidman’s Expats with Umbrellas

Australian actress Nicole Kidman is set to star in a new TV series called Expats, which is slated to premiere soon. The official trailer for the show has already been released, offering a sneak peek at what viewers can expect. The clip showcases several Hong Kong street scenes, including masses of people holding umbrellas, a gathering of foreign domestic helpers, and Mido Cafe tea restaurant at Yau Ma Tei.

In the trailer, viewers see Nicole Kidman alone at the beach, expressing her desire to have some time alone, free from the labels of being a wife or mother, and the defining impact of tragedy. The trailer also features Kidman taking a bath in a tenement building and a close-up shot of Hong Kong artiste Bonde Sham Lok Yi standing under an umbrella in the rain.

The “Umbrella Revolution” of 2014, which was a response to the Hong Kong police’s use of violence to disperse crowds of students demanding more transparent elections, serves as the backdrop to the series. Adapted from the 2016 novel The Expatriates, the show follows three American women who have moved to Hong Kong. Kidman’s character, Margaret, moved to the city with her husband, who suffers the loss of their son. Mercy, played by Yoo Ji-young, blames herself for the disappearance of the child she was caring for, while Hilary, portrayed by Sarayu Blue, is Margaret’s friend and neighbor struggling in her marriage and trying to start a family.

Lulu Wang, a Chinese-American director, admits she was initially hesitant to take on the project amid concerns about representing different communities accurately. The new series has stirred up a variety of controversies, including claims of neglecting the ongoing political turmoil in Hong Kong. Additionally, there was controversy surrounding Kidman’s quarantine exemption, which was contrary to the city’s strict COVID-19 procedures.

Despite the controversies, artist Bonde Sham Lok Yi expressed excitement about her involvement in the series on Instagram. The show is set to consist of six episodes, including a 90-minute episode, and will premiere on Prime Video on Jan. 26, 2024, with weekly releases until Feb. 23, 2024.

The series, adapted from a 2016 novel, explores the lives of three American women who have moved to Hong Kong. Kidman’s character, Margaret, is struggling with grief after the disappearance of her son, while the other characters, Mercy and Hilary, face their own challenges. The show’s director, Lulu Wang, expressed concerns about accurately representing the cultural intersection of these different communities. Despite excitement for the release, the show has been met with a variety of controversies surrounding its portrayal of modern-day Hong Kong and concerns about Kidman’s special treatment during the filming process. Nevertheless, the show is poised to make its debut on Prime Video on Jan. 26, 2024, with weekly releases through Feb. 23, 2024.


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