The couple play husband and wife Jonathan and Grace Fraser, wealthy New York parents who are about to become embroiled in a disturbing crime.
In six episodes, the series will reveal the true events of that terrible night as the picture-perfect life in the Fraser household slowly falls apart …
Radiozeiten caught up with cast stars Grant and Kidman from The Undoing on their new series and relaxed with a good episode of the Antiques Roadshow.
Hugh, you played unhappy English people in love for years, but now you’ve turned to serious roles. Are your romcom days behind you?
I got too old and ugly for romantic comedies, but I feel like I got my wings spread a little with roles in films like Cloud Atlas, Florence Foster Jenkins, and Paddington 2. I really enjoy playing now. I used to go to press conferences and say, “If you want deep and dark, get Ralph Fiennes.” My role in The Undoing is pretty deep and dark – and it was fun to try. A new challenge for me.
Did you need a lot of persuasion?
The scripts were undeniable, which is incredibly rare. I generally take naps while reading scripts – but they were engaging. They also came with a very posh package of talents: Nicole Kidman, Susanne Bier [The Night Manager director] and David E Kelley [creator of Big Little Lies]. I realized that I had to go to work, which I always fear.
Have you worked with Nicole Kidman before?
Never. Even though we both tried to kill Paddington. In many ways, The Undoing could be viewed as a Paddington origin story. But I’ve known Nicole a little for 25 years. We always collide. I’ve always felt strangely comfortable with her. Maybe it is the Commonwealth? To be honest, I was a little intimidated to work with her. She is a genius. It was a bit like when I did Florence Foster Jenkins with Meryl Streep. These girls know what they’re doing. But at heart Nicole is a silly Australian girl with a great sense of humor.
How do you look back on your romcom roles from the past?
I’m proud of most of these romantic comedies because they worked and entertained people. I will not dissolve it. They are not idiotic, or the vast majority of them are not idiotic. However, I felt like I had done enough of them and I’m glad I don’t do them anymore.
In 2018 you played Jeremy Thorpe in the BBC One drama A Very English Scandal. How much do you enjoy working on television now?
My first reaction was horrified; the idea of having to lower myself for television. [Laughs] But I really enjoy it because it’s fast. I grind my teeth on movie sets. Movies can be made painfully slowly.
What TV shows do you watch at home?
I love sports on TV. I watch a little tennis and motorsport. And antiques roadshow.
Do you like to relax while doing sports? Or go to an antique market?
Happy to say my golf addiction has been addressed and is finally over, but it got really serious for a while. Golf was my top priority in life for 12 years. It was like a crack. I remember playing golf for the first time and immediately thought, “I have to do better.” I poured down the drain for 12 years. Now I’m addicted to tennis. My wife [Swedish-born TV producer Anna Eberstein] is a very good tennis player.
You are now a family man and play a father in The Undoing. How much has fatherhood changed you?
I’m trying to be a young dad in an old man’s body and it’s rough but it’s absolutely worth it. It’s just damn beautiful, isn’t it? You need a family I understand that now.
How are you as a father
At some point you will turn into your own father. You don’t realize you’re doing it, but you do. I bark the same way he barks at me. I pull a ridiculous grimace when doing very simple tasks, just like him. Stylistically, I’m probably more like my mother than my father. As a child she was pretty dumb with us with lots of dumb voices. I do this with my kids, but I’m not sure if they enjoy it. You roll your eyes half the time.
Do you like fatherhood
Anyone with young children would probably agree that it is the worst and the best time of your life at the same time. In everyday life, it is just terrible when you step on another broken toy with a hangover. However, if you look back at the photos on your iPhone, you see, “Oh, I was extremely happy. That is very nice.”
Are you taking photos on your iPhone all the time?
Oddly enough, I left my cell phone in my hotel room while working on The Undoing. I hate my cell phone. For the first time in ages, I spent 14 blissful hours at work without her. It was like 1994. Between shots I would study my lines, read a book or talk to people.
It was very nice. Phones are terrible things. They are poisonous. I think they’re killing us.
Nicole, what was the reason you got involved with The Undoing?
I received the first two scripts from David E Kelley [the creator of Big Little Lies, in which Kidman starred] and was instantly hooked. I love the fact that The Undoing is a classic thriller with a lot of cliffhangers. It leaves you guessing to the end.
How does Hugh Grant like to work?
He’s incredibly experienced, but he has a way of making everything look simple. Hugh can make me giggle like almost no one else can.
When did you first meet?
I’ve known him socially since my early 20s. We have friends in common and we have a lot in common. I remember going out to dinner with Hugh when he was with Liz Hurley. At the time I was doing The Blue Room [at London’s Donmar Warehouse]but I had first met him before he did four weddings and a funeral when he was on the way.
Hugh describes you as stupid. Are you?
I think I’ve always been goofy and funny, but mostly in the privacy of my own home. I was pretty shy when I was younger. I think the silliness comes with age and the thought, “OK, I can be myself more now.”
How would you describe Hugh?
Hugh has the sharpest wit and a love-hate relationship with acting. His interest in acting is waning – but right now he’s really loving it again. He came in very prepared and I loved his ability to create characters. There is this constant back and forth in the
Show whether you believe him or not. He worked out the machinations of the psychological trajectory of who he is, what he is and why.
They have had many film and television husbands. Who is the best?
You can’t ask me that! I can’t kiss and tell. Look, I have favorite projects, but I don’t think I have a favorite man. That’s because I have my own husband, my Keith [Urban].
I have to be very careful here. I think I was lucky that some of the greatest actors in the world were ready to act towards me. I’m very happy with it, but then I can go to my husband’s home; My real husband.
Speaking of family … what do you like most about motherhood?
Children push you out of your comfort zone. They make you do things that you don’t want to do and I am grateful for that. The introverted part of me prefers an intimate dinner, but the kids want to go to big events. You push me in a good way.
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