Expats: Nicole Kidman Slammed After Skipping Hong Kong Quarantine

Nicole Kidman Slammed After Skipping Hong Kong Quarantine for Amazon’s ‘Expats’ Shoot

The Australian actress was able to skirt the city’s strict seven-day hotel quarantine for arrivals from Australia.


Oscar winner Nicole Kidman has sparked a backlash in Hong Kong after skipping the country’s strict COVID-19 quarantine to shoot the Amazon series Expats in the city.

Kidman took a private jet from Sydney to Hong Kong on Aug. 12 and was exempted from the city’s seven-day hotel quarantine for vaccinated people arriving from Australia, despite Sydney going into lockdown following a surge in Delta variant cases.

From Friday, vaccinated people arriving from Australia will have to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days as the country is reclassified from a low-risk to medium-risk country.

Hong Kong’s Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, “under mounting public pressure” to explain Kidman’s preferential treatment, confirmed that the Australian actress and other film crew had been granted an exemption “to carry out designated professional work.”

Nine Perfect Strangers

The Oscar-winning actress’ presence in Hong Kong after dodging some of the most stringent quarantine rules in the world has caused consternation in the press and on social media.

Despite the draconian nature of the quarantine rules, they have generally been viewed, outwardly at least, as equally applied until the Kidman incident. In recent weeks, Mark Tucker, the chairman of HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, was required to undergo a three-week hotel quarantine after flying in from the U.K.

The Hong Kong Free Press reported that Kidman has been seen out and about shopping in Hong Kong in the last week and has been a source of discussion in the city’s tabloid press.

On social media, the reaction has been negative. “Dear #HongKong friends and family, While you are locked into a hotel room for three weeks, how does it feel to know that if you are from Hollywood, you are exempt from the barbaric quarantine rules HK residents are subjected to?” wrote user @debkhk on Twitter.

“Olympic medalists are required to quarantine in HK but Nicole Kidman doesn’t because she is a Hollywood star and needs to film “EXPATS””, tweeted @wongmjane.


In July 2018, Amazon handed out a straight-to-series order for Expats, starring and executive produced by Kidman.

The series is based on Janice Y.K. Lee’s book The Expatriates about a group of close-knit wealthy women expatriates in Hong Kong.

Australian scribe Alice Bell (The Beautiful LieThe Slap) penned the script for the series which is directed by Lulu Wang and co-stars Jack Huston.

The drama is the first to stem from Amazon’s first-look film and TV deal the streamer signed with Kidman, which was announced in June 2018 as one of Amazon Studio’s chief Jennifer Salke’s first pacts.

This is not the first quarantine controversy of Kidman. In June 2020, there was a media storm after the actress and her husband, Keith Urban, were exempted by the Australian state of New South Wales’ hotel quarantine in favor of home quarantine after they flew into Sydney from the U.S. ahead of production of the miniseries Nine Perfect Strangers.