Lulu Wang’s long-awaited adaptation of Janice Y. K. Lee’s bestselling novel “The Expatriates” is first traveling to TIFF before a highly anticipated Prime Video premiere.
Titled “Expats,” the six-part limited series boasts an ensemble cast led by executive producer Nicole Kidman, with Sarayu Blue, Ji-young Yoo, Brian Tee, and Jack Huston also starring. “Expats” will have its world premiere at TIFF 2023 on September 8, screening its feature-length penultimate episode before arriving on Prime Video in early 2024.
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The official synopsis for the series reads: Set against the vibrant and tumultuous tapestry of 2014 Hong Kong, “Expats” centers on three American women — Margaret (Kidman), Hilary (Blue), and Mercy (Yoo) — whose lives intersect after a sudden family tragedy. The series interrogates privilege and explores what happens when the line between victimhood and culpability becomes blurred.
“The Farewell” writer-director Wang is the creator, director, and writer for “Expats,” as well as an executive producer with Daniele Melia for Local Time. Emmy and Oscar winner Kidman serves as an executive producer with Per Saari for Kidman’s Blossom Films banner, along with Alice Bell, who was the first writer onboard the series in addition to author Lee, series creator Wang, Vera Miao, and Gursimran Sandhu.
Wang previously told IndieWire in 2020 that Kidman approached her with the project.
“I was incredibly grateful,” Wang said. “It was pretty early, in the summer, right after [‘The Farewell’] had been released. She saw the film and loved it. She said, ‘There’s this book we optioned and we’re adapting, and you’re the first person to read the scripts. You’re the only director I can see doing this. You have to do it.'”
Wang noted at the time that she had never helmed a film set in the U.S., noting it’s “always tricky” to shoot on location but worth it for the authenticity. In the COVID lockdown era, Wang assured that the cast and crew had a safer quarantine bubble abroad than if “Expats” was filmed domestically.
“In Hong Kong, it was always about safety, with the protests and everything, but now in a way, the hope is that Hong Kong will recover faster,” she said. “The nice thing about shooting abroad is that you have your team, you go together, and everyone is contained. It’s a lot easier to contain people when you travel and go to a different location. If we were in L.A., it would be very difficult to ensure the safety of people on set.”
“Expats” premieres in early 2024 on Prime Video. Check out the first look images below.
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