HBO’s The Undoing had us salivating over green coats and arguing over who killed Elena Alves (Matilda De Angelis). Was it the plain suspect, Jonathan Fraser (Hugh Grant)? The individual shockingly in possession of the homicide weapon, little Henry Fraser (Noah Jupe)? Or might it have been the present’s cagey heroine herself, Grace Fraser (Nicole Kidman)? All advised, The Undoing was a sensational piece of escapist wealth porn dropped at us by one of many best administrators working in TV in the present day: Susanne Bier.
The Danish director — identified for her international artwork home options, the Netflix hit Chicken Field, and being the primary feminine director to win a Golden Globe, Emmy, and European Movie Award for her work on The Night time Supervisor — introduced her distinctive voice to each body of The Undoing. She created the present’s haunting ambiance and championed Grace Fraser’s boho luxe type. She plotted it so we have been lulled right into a false sense of safety proper earlier than the Episode 5 homicide weapon reveal. And he or she’s the one individual we most need to break down that thrilling finale with.
Decider acquired to speak with Susanne Bier this morning and we requested her about working with helicopters on the freeway, that bonkers Episode 1 Elena nude scene, and whether or not or not she’d be down for The Undoing Season 2…
DECIDER: So I suppose my first query for you: how a lot enjoyable has it been, seeing so many individuals freak out about this present main as much as the finale? You had celebrities like Travis Scott commenting on it, my family group chat was lit up final night time. What’s it been like for you?
SUSANNE BIER: It’s been actually enjoyable. It’s been actually loopy. I’ve had mail from individuals — anyone I haven’t spoken to for 30 years all of the sudden getting my mail handle, and asking me, “Who did it?” [Laughs] But it surely’s been actually enjoyable.
Are you able to speak about the way you crafted the whodunnit angle? I assumed, for myself, it appeared too apparent to be Jonathan. As a result of that’s not how standard homicide mysteries work — it’s normally a pink herring. So I used to be curious should you type of purposefully exploited the conventions that we’re used to in telling the story, and creating extra rigidity concerning the reveal.
I don’t suppose we exploited something. I feel what we did was we have been type of making an attempt to — basically, we’re type of with Grace inside the story. We basically expertise her expertise. We’re being seduced by Jonathan — we’re realizing, “Properly, he did one thing he shouldn’t have carried out.” After which he’s acquired such regret, and he feels so dangerous that we type of need to forgive him. We wish the world to behave the way in which we predict it ought to behave, versus what is admittedly there.
And I feel the entire dance of pondering, “It’s this individual. It’s this individual. It’s this individual.” I feel all people concerned in something like that may, at occasions, behave unusual or do one thing which makes us uncomfortable. I feel we seize onto that, as a result of we so don’t need to suppose it’s Jonathan.
In a approach, the novel which the collection is billed upon is named You Ought to Have Recognized. And the entire conceit is that entire factor — our personal need to see the world we wish it to be. That was at all times the turning level. That was at all times the type of core of the collection, in addition to the e-book. So it might have by no means actually have been anybody else. However to ensure that us to make the imagine world, we have to at occasions suppose it might be another person. As a result of in any other case, that is unnecessary. So I feel — and it was enjoyable doing that entire recreation of turning from one to the opposite, from one to the opposite.
I do know that in some interviews, you’ve in contrast Matilda De Angelis to an old-fashioned magnificence like Bardot. I assumed she was such an ideal Elena. How did you discover her, and when do you know she’d be excellent for it? What was it like working along with her to create such an enigmatic determine for the present?
We have been really — we had a really exhausting time casting that individual. As a result of she’s, basically, a extreme competitor to essentially the most stunning lady on this planet. Nicole Kidman is simply so beautiful. So that you wanted somebody who can be an actual risk to her, which was troublesome. But in addition, who wanted to be very totally different. It was discovering that steadiness. But it surely was additionally — essentially the most outstanding component, for me, in Elena, is that she’s unhappy. She’s determined. She’s considerably in search of assist in her personal bizarre, unusual approach. I feel that that’s what defines the way in which she behaves.
I maintain fascinated with, all the way in which out within the premiere, that scene within the locker room is so placing. Clearly it’s a nude scene, but it surely doesn’t really feel like an attractive one. It’s about that unhappiness and that decision for assist. It’s nearly weak, but additionally concerning the rivalry. Are you able to speak about the way you wished to border that to make it appear so unsettling?
Properly, it’s precisely what it was. That is somebody who is clearly determined. That is somebody who is clearly barely unhinged. Who doesn’t perceive borders between human beings. Which is why it’s so unsettling — it’s unsettling since you don’t really feel like she’s being threatening. You are feeling she’s being mournful. And but, there’s one thing about it which makes you so uneasy. I feel if anyone have been to come back as much as me like that, I’d be very unsettled. what I imply? Even when I noticed, and possibly as a result of I noticed this individual wasn’t feeling nicely, it will be much more spooky.
Completely shifting gears, the ultimate sequence on the bridge — that was so thrilling and bombastic. How did you land a helicopter on a bridge that small? I saved questioning the way you guys pulled that off, that chase sequence.
[Laughs] Properly, it was trippy. We had rather a lot — it was like, “You might want to come down right here! You might want to come down, just a bit bit nearer!” As a result of in any other case the pictures wouldn’t work. However I imply, every thing was utterly secure. It was very — the pilot was simply sensible. It was simply that very plane factor. But it surely was additionally enjoyable to do it. And it was very relieving to do an enormous, action-like bit on the finish of that entire collection.
On that word, what was the trickiest scene within the collection to drag off?
what, in a approach, I really suppose essentially the most difficult factor was making the courtroom scenes totally different from different courtroom scenes. I really like courtroom reveals, and I’ve seen numerous them. However I at all times really feel a bit there’s one thing — by its nature, after all they’re related. And I wished these to embrace the character of a courtroom scene, and nonetheless have one thing very totally different. In case you requested me what was essentially the most difficult, it was in all probability getting the courtroom scenes proper.
Clearly individuals have been asking this, however are you in any respect tempted to possibly return to this world for one more season?
There’s been no conversations about that. I might like to, but it surely’s completely and merely wishful pondering from my viewpoint. I don’t suppose David [E. Kelley] has considered it, and there’s been no conversations about it. Yeah, it will be nice! But it surely’s not anyplace. It’s only a dream.
On that word, would you need to work with Nicole Kidman once more?
I might like to.
What was the most effective half about working along with her on this?
She’s an impressive actress. She’s like a creature from outer house who simply accesses characters. She’d come to set, she’d come within the morning and be Nicole Kidman having her cup of tea. After which she goes into costumes and make-up and comes out and she or he’s Grace. She’s nonetheless sporting a cup of tea, however she’s now holding that cup of tea in a very totally different approach. All the things she does is simply so meticulous. And truly, she’s nice as a producer. She’s numerous enjoyable. She’s the director’s greatest good friend. Yeah. I can go on.
This interview has been condensed and edited for readability.