Susanne Bier interview: ‘The Undoing’ director
“Telling a story about that lifestyle in New York was one of the reasons why I was attracted to the project in the first place,” says director Susanne Bier about telling the story of a murder mystery among wealthy Manhattanites in “The Undoing.” The filmmaker has found herself in the city “looking up at those amazing apartments along Central Park, and I’ve been incredibly curious about what is the life there.” We talked with Bier as part of our “Meet the Experts” TV directors panel. Watch our interview above.
The story centers around Grace Fraser (Nicole Kidman), a successful therapist whose husband Jonathan (Hugh Grant), an esteemed pediatric oncologist, becomes the prime suspect in a grisly murder. The crime forces her to reconsider what she thought she knew about her family and her community. Bier “was also intrigued by portraying the rot of that world in a way. And having a murder mystery taking place in that world enabled me to do that … It was an amazingly delicious thing to be able to portray in New York.”
And though (SPOILER ALERT!) Jonathan does turn out to be the one whodunit, Bier also gets the audience to reconsider what we think of Grace herself throughout the series: “I did purposely want to make the audience suspicious of her … At the court case, we did ask the first AD just for the fun of it, asked all the extras, a big group of people, who’s actually the killer? And almost every single one of them said it was Nicole.”
But ultimately what Grace is guilty of is self-delusion. For the sake of her family and her lifestyle, she wants to believe things that aren’t true, which is something that many people can relate to, even if not under such extraordinary circumstances. “Although we are somewhat suspicious of things not really being what they seem,” says Bier, “we, just like her, want to be seduced.”