'Nine Perfect Strangers' star Manny Jacinto praises Nicole Kidman's leadership during quarantine hardship

·5-min read
Nine Perfect Strangers launches on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 20 August with new episodes launching weekly.
Manny Jacinto in Nine Perfect Strangers, which launches on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 20 August with new episodes launching weekly. (Amazon)

Nine Perfect Strangers star Manny Jacinto has praised Nicole Kidman for keeping the cast and crew afloat as they were forced to film in lockdown.

Filming for the Amazon Prime Video series commenced in Byron Bay, Australia in January 2020, with the entire country going into quarantine shortly after.

In a moment of life imitating art, the all-star cast — including Melissa McCarthy, Luke Evans and Michael Shannon — had to club together as they filmed the thriller at a remote luxury resort.

Read more: Melissa McCarthy recovering after being bitten by huntsman spider in Australia

Thankfully Kidman, who plays mysterious self-help retreat owner Masha, became their de facto leader, going out of her way to ensure the cast didn’t get too homesick.

Speaking exclusively to Yahoo, Jacinto explains: “Nicole showered us with gifts, with cupcakes and champagne. Yeah, it was a very unique experience because there was no way for us to travel back home because of Covid.

Nine Perfect Strangers launches on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 20 August with new episodes launching weekly.
Nine Perfect Strangers launches on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 20 August with new episodes launching weekly.

“We were all stuck there, and a lot of us, including myself, had to celebrate their birthdays there, be away from our significant others and our families. So — it sounds like a joke but Nicole actually did — whenever a birthday came, whenever an occasion came, an anniversary, or even if it was just like a good week, she made it extra special.

Watch: Nine Perfect Strangers trailer

“[She was] showering the crew with little treats to let us know that we're in this together, and that we're a team and that we're going to get through this. Despite the craziness that's happening around the world.”

Read more: Luke Evans thanks NHS for saving dad's hand after freak accident

In the series, Jacinto plays Yao, one of the three leading staff members at Tranquillum House, a 10-day health and self-care retreat that’s become famed for its ‘life-changing’ therapeutic methods.

He’s joined by girlfriend Delilah (Tiffany Boone), after the pair ditched life as paramedics to help Masha in her quest for spreading her message.

Nine Perfect Strangers launches on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 20 August with new episodes launching weekly.
Nine Perfect Strangers launches on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 20 August with new episodes launching weekly.

But as the nine participants arrive for their latest retreat, each with their own secret reasons for seeking out Tranquillum House, things take a dark turn with a radical new treatment.

Upon meeting Masha, all the retreaters are utterly transfixed by the smooth-talking, zen-inducing businesswoman, who convinces them she’s cracked the code to an unhappy life.

Read more: Everything new coming to Amazon Prime Video UK in August 2021

Turns out, the experience is somewhat similar to how Jacinto felt when meeting Kidman, with his time alongside the Big Little Lies star proving to be an inspiring moment.

“Meeting Nicole for the first time, that was probably the moment that I'll take away for forever and always remember,” he tells us. “There wasn't anything, describing it is nothing mind-blowing, but just meeting her, and not being disappointed.

Nine Perfect Strangers launches on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 20 August with new episodes launching weekly.
Nine Perfect Strangers launches on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 20 August with new episodes launching weekly.

“Just the fact that she's just a genuinely nice, open, and actually pretty shy person. It was like, "Oh, you're an introvert? I'm an introvert. That's cool. And you're successful, well that's cool too, so maybe I can do it too."

“It just gave me a little bit of hope and just working with her gave me a lot of inspiration in regards to what I could possibly do down the line.”

“Masha and Delilah are both very powerful women,” he continues. “I feel like what Nicole is doing, especially with this project and with the other projects, and what I admire so much about her is that, it's very much female empowerment.

“It's good stories centred around female characters, and I am always here to serve that.”

Nine Perfect Strangers launches on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 20 August with new episodes launching weekly.
Nine Perfect Strangers launches on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 20 August with new episodes launching weekly.

Jacinto describes Yao as “the calmer and more centred” person within the “Tranquillum Trio”, a role a million miles away from his most-famed role, the sweet-hearted but empty-minded Jason Mendoza in afterlife sitcom, The Good Place.

After breakdancing his way into viewers’ hearts in the comedy, Jacinto has now landed a string of grittier roles, starting with Nine Perfect Strangers and continuing later this year in Top Gun 2: Maverick alongside Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, and Miles Teller.

While his role within the action sequel remains under wraps, Jacinto still credits The Good Place for breaking his name in Hollywood, though the shift between comedy and drama was an unexpected one.

Nine Perfect Strangers launches on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 20 August with new episodes launching weekly.
Nine Perfect Strangers launches on Amazon Prime Video on Friday 20 August with new episodes launching weekly.

“I can't say whether one's more challenging or the other, it's always very different, because each project provides different challenges and different bumps in the road and then also a lot of new experiences,” he said.

“But I would say the one thing about being in a comedy, especially with Jason is that you know when something is good. You know when something is funny, you know when you're going to get a laugh, and you performed well in the scene, you get the immediate feedback.

“With a drama you don't get that, you get pure silence, and that pure silence can be either awe - or it could be utter dread and just an awful mix.

“So, for myself, I need to keep my ego in check and trust that whatever the director sees or whatever the writer sees and whatever my scene partner sees, they're honest with me and that they appreciate the performance and that I'm not doing sh***y work.

“I think that's one of the challenges going from a comedy to drama.”

Nine Perfect Strangers airs weekly and launches 20 August on Amazon Prime Video. Watch a trailer below.

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