The world of boutique health-and-wellness gets the limited series treatment in Nine Perfect Strangers, Hulu’s latest star-studded drama. Based on Big Little Lies author Liane Moriarty’s novel of the same name, Nine Perfect Strangers takes place over the course of a ten-day wellness retreat in the Californian wilderness, where a group of stressed city dwellers hope to reinvigorate their minds and bodies. Nicole Kidman delivers a can’t-look-away performance as unconventional guru Masha, but it’s the nine “perfect” strangers who flesh out this study of privilege and healing. Here’s who’s who in the cast of the new Hulu drama:
Nicole Kidman leads the cast as wellness guru Masha Dmitrichenko. Mascha has deveoloped a cult-like following for using some seriously unconventional methods to reinvigorate her clients’ minds and bodies, but even her most ardent acolytes are unprepared for a ten-day retreat at Tranquillum House. Nine Perfect Strangers caps a big year for Kidman that's seen her nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in HBO’s The Undoing and starring opposite Meryl Streep in Ryan Murphy’s The Prom. The Australian-American actress previously worked with Nine Perfect Strangers author Liane Moriarty on the acclaimed drama Big Little Lies, for which she won two Emmys and two Golden Globe Awards. She won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA for her performance in The Hours and has also been nominated for her roles in Moulin Rouge!, To Die For, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Hemingway & Gellhorn, among other film and TV projects.
Veteran comedian Melissa McCarthy plays Frances Welty, a novelist who receives bad news just before arriving at Tranquillum House. McCarthy came up in the improv world before breaking out as Sookie St. James in Gilmore Girls. A few years later, she solidified her place in the industry with a lead role in CBS sitcom Mike & Molly, followed by a star turn as Megan in Bridesmaids, for which she earned Oscar, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and SAG Award nominations. McCarthy has hardly taken a break since, appearing in a host of projects, including The Heat, Spy, The Boss, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and Thunder Force. The Nine Perfect Strangers star can be seen next in The Starling, Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid, and the upcoming Netflix comedy series God’s Favorite Idiot.
One of the nine “perfect” strangers at Tranquillum House, Lars Lee can’t seem to buy into Masha’s methods or the strict rules at the resort. He's played by Luke Evans, a Welsh actor who made a name for himself in London’s West End before transitioning to the screen in Immortals, The Raven, and The Three Musketeers. More recently, Evans has played villains in Furious 6 and Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast, and has appeared in The Girl on the Train, Midway, and The Alienist.
Joining Lars on Team Skeptical is Ben Chandler (played by Melvin Gregg), who reluctantly agrees to join his wife at Tranquillum House. Viewers may recognize Gregg from his performance as “Manboy” on FX’s Snowfall, as well as from roles in American Vandal Season 2, Steven Soderbergh’s High Flying Bird, and The Way.
Australian actress and model Samara Weaving plays Jessica Chandler, an Instagram influencer-type who hopes the retreat will serve as a reset for her marriage. Weaving’s first major success in the United States came with a guest stint on Ash vs Evil Dead Season 1; shortly after, she landed a series regular role on SMILF and starred in Mayhem, The Babysitter, and Ready Or Not, her first lead role in an American film. She can also be seen in Netflix’s Hollywood, Bill & Ted Face the Music, and Snake Eyes.
In Nine Perfect Strangers, Michael Shannon ditches his familiar badass persona to play Napoleon Marconi, an eternally optimistic father who tells anyone who asks that his family is at Tranquillum House “on a discounted rate.” Shannon is a legend in Hollywood who can hop seamlessly from comedy to drama: after nabbing his first film role in 1993's Groundhog Day, he's appeared in a string of diverse films, including 8 Mile, Pearl Harbor, Bad Boys II, and Revolutionary Road. On the TV side, Shannon won two Screen Actors Guild Awards for his performance as part of the ensemble cast in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. After Nine Perfect Strangers, he 's set to appear in David Leitch’s Bullet Train and an untitled David O. Russell project.
Heather, the Marconi matriarch, arrives at the retreat. Keddie is best known Down Under for her role in the long-running dramedy Offspring, but Netflix subscribers may also recognize her from her performance in Stateless, a six-episode drama that was released in the United States in Summer 2020.
Grace Van Patten plays Zoe Marconi, Napoleon and Heather’s daughter. The young actress comes to Nine Perfect Strangers with an impressive resume: she first broke out in Adam Leon’s Tramps, and in 2017, she was named one of Variety’s “10 Actors to Watch” for her performance opposite Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Emma Thompson, and Dustin Hoffman in The Meyerowitz Stories. Van Patten has also appeared in Under the Silver Lake, Wilde Wedding, A Violent Heart, and Good Posture, and can next be seen in Mayday, which premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.
Fresh off a divorce, Carmel Schneider arrives at the retreat seeking help with “weight loss, esteem building, and mind and body transformation.” The optimistic divorcee is played by Regina Hall, who has little in common with her flailing character. Hall has dozens of film and TV credits under her belt, but she’s best known for her roles in the Scary Movie franchise, Girls Trip, and the Showtime comedy Black Monday. Her most critically-acclaimed performance came in 2018 comedy Support the Girls, for which she won a New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress, an African-American Film Critics Association Award, and a Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award, tying with her Nine Perfect Strangers co-star Melissa McCarthy and Olivia Colman.
The last of Masha’s Nine Perfect Strangers is Tony Hogburn (Bobby Cannavale), a rough-around-the-edges guest who claims he’s “not supposed to be here.” Apart from the bushy beard, Tony is vintage Cannavale, who excels at playing schmucks and villains. After coming up in the theater world, the actor made a name for himself as a guest star on high-profile TV shows, including Will & Grace, Sex and the City, Law & Order, and Nurse Jackie. In 2013, he landed a regular gig as Sicilian gangster Gyp Rosetti in Boardwalk Empire Season 3, winning an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor along the way. More recently, Cannavale starred in HBO's Vinyl, and logged roles in Mr. Robot and Homecoming, as well as films like The Irishman, Superintelligence, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Thunder Force.
The Good Place alum Manny Jacinto is almost unrecognizable as Yao, a Tanquillum House employee who has a special relationship with Masha. Nine Perfect Strangers and the Netflix horror drama Brand New Cherry Flavor (which dropped last week) mark Jacinto’s first major roles since the NBC comedy ended in early 2020, but it won’t be his last, as he’ll soon be seen in Paramount’s long-awaited Top Gun: Maverick sequel (in the role of Fritz), and romantic comedy I Want You Back. The Filipino-Canadian actor has also appeared in Bad Times at the El Royale, The Good Doctor, and Canadian spy thriller The Romeo Section.
Delilah, Masha’s right-hand, ensures that the guests are adhering to the guru’s strict standards. The Tranquillum House employee is played by Tiffany Boone, who appeared in Little Fires Everywhere as the young Mia Warren (played in the present-day by Kerry Washington). Boone’s other television roles include Hunters, The Following, and The Chi; on the film side, she can be seen in Beautiful Creatures, horror-comedy Detention, and opposite George Clooney in Netflix’s The Midnight Sky.
Joining Yao and Delilah on the Tranquillum House staff is Glory, played by Zoe Terakes. The actor and activist cut their teeth on the stage before making their screen debut in Australian drama Janet King in 2017. Last year, Terakes joined the cast of Wentworth, another popular Australian series, and headlined LGBTQ+ romantic comedy Ellie and Abbie (And Ellie’s Dead Aunt). They have also appeared in sketch comedy The Moth Effect as part of a large ensemble cast that includes Bryan Brown, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Miranda Otto.
The first three episodes of Nine Perfect Strangers premiere Wednesday, August 18 on Hulu.
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Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.
TOPICS: Nine Perfect Strangers, Hulu, Bobby Cannavale, David E. Kelley, Grace Van Patten, Luke Evans, Manny Jacinto, Melissa McCarthy, Melvin Gregg, Michael Shannon, Nicole Kidman, Regina Hall, Samara Weaving, Tiffany Boone