Melissa McCarthy, Bobby Cannavale, Regina Hall, Samara Weaving and Melvin Gregg talk about their new Hulu series, Nine Perfect Strangers.
- Welcome to Tranquilum House. The people who come here, they come to heal.
- I don't want to suffer.
- You're already suffering.
- You guys both play characters very dissimilar from yourselves, I think we can say. But I'd love to hear how you were sort of able to relate to them. Melissa, Francis is incredibly successful like yourself, a popular author. But she's hit a wall professionally and personally, lost a book deal, fallen prey to an online romance scam. How would you say you've related to this woman?
MELISSA MCCARTHY: There's a moment with all people where we just need to be seen and we need to be valued. And I think for Francis so many of those layers start to get broken and kind of chipped away at. And when you chip away at-- if it's-- if it's real or not. If you get all of the-- sum of your parts chipped away at, it's a very frightening and challenging, I think, state of mind to be like, I don't know who I am. But something I love about the show that, like, everyone has their issues, everyone has their insecurities. And it's-- it's OK to be like, I'm broken and I need help.
- Regina, we don't glean too much about Carmel early on. She's a mom, she's desperate to improve herself, she's-- she's warm and upbeat on the outside but might-- might have some anger issues. How-- how would you say you connected to her?
REGINA HALL: Carmel is-- you know what? She is that. I think that is the fun of the character is that you can be more than one thing. And I think in today's society we kind of forget that. We think, you're this. You know, there's a tendency to sometimes label. But I do think the truth of what it is to be alive is to be many things, and Carmela is.
- You guys shot this on location, halfway across the world in Australia, smack dab mid-pandemic.
BOBBY CANNAVALE: Yeah.
- I mean, what was that experience like? Was there any sort of life imitating art going on in terms of guys sort of all coming together there under sort of the duress of the global climate, you know, under these circumstances?
BOBBY CANNAVALE: Yeah, well, you know, I mean, yeah, that's the fact of the matter is that four months into the pandemic when not a lot of people were working, I think we were one of the first things to go, we all got on a plane and we went to the only place, pretty much one of the very few places on Earth, where there was no COVID. It was-- yeah, it is something. We did talk about it. We talked about how grateful we were to get the chance to work. You know, you get to work in-- you know, these endeavors are big, you know. There's hundreds of people at work and you really are reminded about-- reminded of how important it is to go to work.
- Nicole Kidman, I mean, she's-- she's one of the most gracious cordial folks, I think, in this business from my experience with her. I mean, what was it like watching her turn into this ambiguously sinister sort of emotional powerbroker in front of your eyes?
BOBBY CANNAVALE: Yeah, it was awesome. You know, you go in knowing, of course, the story but-- you know, but you've got to be mentally prepared, of course, to play somebody who doesn't know what to expect. And we shot those scenes in order. So, like, the first day of shooting, we shot Nicole coming in to the ashram. And so, like, no-- I hadn't seen her, nobody had seen her. And so that was a really jarring experience because I didn't know what she was going to look like or sound like.
And, you know, she's so gifted and she's so-- I've got to take my hat off to her because she works so much. And, you know, I've worked a lot. I like to work a lot. And the big-- the big challenge in that when years pile up and you've done a lot of roles is like, have I done that before? You don't want to repeat yourself. So it gets a little bit harder to figure out what you're going to bring new to the table and she just does it time and time again.
- Please tell me she went method and just [BLEEP] with you guys non-stop behind the scenes.
BOBBY CANNAVALE: Well, she-- she kept the accent behind the scenes. So it did feel like you weren't talking to her, to Nicole. She's committed, man.
SAMARA WEAVING: Oh it's amazing. It was just incredible to watch her and everyone create their own characters and see how everyone worked. It was amazing. I felt really lucky. But yeah, her and Melissa, you know, they produced it and it was really awesome to see some powerhouse women, you know, taking the reins. It was really inspiring.
- What have been your own personal experiences with health and wellness retreats or establishments? I mean, have you ever gone somewhere and been like, this is not what I was expecting or what is this quackery?
BOBBY CANNAVALE: It's not my cup of tea, dude. Like, you know, I don't like getting a massage, you know. Like, I always think they're 10 minutes too long. I always want them to stop touching me. So, like, I don't think those places are for me. The closest I'll go is, like, the 10th Street baths in the East Village, you know, because it's been there for 100 years and it's weird. I don't necessarily want to go to a place where they're pampering you quite that much, you know. I kind of want to go somewhere beautiful where, you know, people leave me alone unless I need them.
MELISSA MCCARTHY: I haven't done a lot of stuff like that. And I'm a lot more-- not only after this series, but I think after the last year and a half, I'm trying to be like, yeah, maybe, like, instead of always on the hamster wheel, I'm like, maybe I should go spend a little time just to re-calibrate and be like-- be grateful for what I have instead of the to-do list. So I think it's really made me think about like, maybe you should take a little time every year to be like, OK, what am I doing? How do I feel? What am-- what good stuff am I putting into the world.
REGINA HALL: I think they're great. I've done all kinds. The strict raw food ones to the nice ones. The one thing I haven't done is, I think, something in a cave but then I thought, I don't want to be in a cave. I do like a more comfortable type dwelling when I'm going to meditate.
MELISSA MCCARTHY: I will take you to a cave.
REGINA HALL: See?
MELISSA MCCARTHY: I will take you and hold you inside of a cave and rock you.
REGINA HALL: Oh, good. At least you'll stay with me. I thought you were going to drop me off. We'll do the cave together.
MELISSA MCCARTHY: A part of it.
MELVIN GREGG: I've been gone. It's funny my fiance-- so they made us these pamphlets by Tranquilum and the template, I just brought it in the house with my scripts, set it on the table. My fiance was reading on it when I was at work. And she's like, oh my god, it sounds amazing. We should go here. And I was like, what is it? I looked at her. This isn't real. This is like a prop for the show. She's really into going into-- going there. But no, I've-- I've never been.
SAMARA WEAVING: I've-- I've never been to like a wellness-- like a retreat or like a center that's designed to, you know, help you. My-- my mom goes to, like, a 10-day silent meditation retreat, which is really intense. Like, there's no caffeine no alcohol, no sugar, and you don't speak for 10 days. Most people quit after three days but my mom does it every year. And it's-- when she comes out, she's glowing and so peaceful. And I'm too afraid to go though.