- The ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ creator considered having Ben and Jessica break up, the director said.
- He grew too attached to the characters to actually go through with the split, though.
- Instead, Ben and Jessica save their marriage and run Tranquillum House together.
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Hulu’s “Nine Perfect Strangers.”
Ben Chandler and Jessica Chandler mend their marital issues by the final episode of the
limited series “Nine Perfect Strangers,” but their happy ending wasn’t always etched in stone.
On a recent phone call with Insider, director Jonathan Levine said that David E. Kelley, who created the series based on Liane Moriarty’s novel of the same name, grappled with alternative outcomes for the two young lottery winners, who check into boutique wellness retreat Tranquillum House for marriage counseling in the first episode.
After microdosing MDMA, a drug colloquially known as “ecstasy” or “molly,” as part of their healing curriculum, Ben (Melvin Gregg) and Jessica (Samara Weaving) decide to renew their vows. And in one of the show’s final scenes, the couple is shown assuming ownership of the luxe California retreat, welcoming new guests to embark on their own wellness journeys.
“Them growing to love Tranquillum and ending up running the place, I thought it was very funny and tracked with where they were emotionally,” Levine said.
Ben and Jessica on “Nine Perfect Strangers.”
But at one point, Kelley debated a scenario in which Ben and Jessica called off their marriage at the end of the 10 days spent evaluating their relationship at Tranquillum House, the director shared.
“It was in the cards for a while, and then David just couldn’t bring himself to do it. He grew to like them so much,” the director recalled. “He has such a love for his characters, and it’s what makes him so incredible.”
“It was really hard for him to make them break up. He really rooted for them to be together,” Levine added. “At the end of the day, he just grew to love them too much to put them through that.”
Melvin Gregg and Samara Weaving in “Nine Perfect Strangers.”
While the other guests leave Tranquillum House at the end of the retreat to return to their daily lives, each of them emerges somewhat transformed as a result of their stay. To Levine, it’s the ultimate happy ending.
“For all these people, all I root for is that they’re able to shed their past baggage and move forward fresh,” he said, continuing, “I was very happy with where everyone ended up, and I really did want to show that everyone was moving on.”
“Nine Perfect Strangers” is currently streaming on Hulu.
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