The Expatriates, Janice Y.K. Lee’s best-selling novel about a close-knit group of female expats living in Hong Kong, is set to become a new TV series. Produced by Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films, it was revealed over the weekend that the small-screen adaptation will be released on Amazon Prime’s streaming service. Though it was announced last year that Kidman had optioned the book for TV, it was only this past weekend that news of the Amazon Prime deal was made public. As for whether or not the movie star will appear in the series, Deadline previously reported that there is a “potential role for Kidman to star.”
The news was announced Saturday at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour by Jennifer Salke, the new head of Amazon Studios. “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,” Salke said.
In a statement after the announcement, Kidman said, “I’m so thrilled about the Blossom-Amazon collaboration. The Expatriates is just the beginning of our shared goal in making delicious stories with something meaningful to say about the world.”
When it was released in 2016, Lee’s novel became an instant hit due to its humorous and heartfelt look into the sometimes strange, often entertaining, always complex lives of Hong Kong’s expats. The New York Times called the novel “vibrant social satire” and noted that “Lee’s eye for the nuance and clash of culture, class, race and sex is subtle and shrewd.”
According to Amazon: “Set against the backdrop of ‘The Vertical City’ of Hong Kong, The Expatriates is a drama series that explores the lives of a close-knit expatriate 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.”
The announcement of the new series follows the runaway success of HBO’s Big Little Lies, which also starred Kidman and was made by her production company. (That series will return for a second season in 2019.) The Expatriates is expected to have a similar feel, and will no doubt feature plenty of drama and intrigue that will captivate an international audience and prompt many a discussion about life here in Hong Kong, “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.”
Though an episode count and premiere date aren’t available yet, the only question we care about is: Will you be watching?