Nicole Kidman, Director Jane Campion and Jane Campion’s daughter, Alice Englert (who is also Nicole Kidman’s real-life god daughter) drew in the crowds at the Sydney Opera House for the premiere of new TV series, Top of the Lake China Girl, on Tuesday, 1 August 2017.
Top of the Lake: China Girl stars Elisabeth Moss, who is Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie, and Nicole Kidman. It is a crime mystery about Detective Robin Griffin (Moss) who recently returned to Sydney from New Zealand and is trying to rebuild her life. When the body of an Asian girl washes up on Bondi Beach, there appears little hope of finding the killer, until Robin realises “China Girl” didn’t die alone.
While working the case, and trying desperately to restore her professional standing, Robin also deals with meeting her own biological daughter, given up at birth and raised in Sydney by her adoptive parents (including Kidman as mum, with an unconventional lifestyle of her own). The interaction and tension between Moss and Kidman are highlights that will live long into memory.
Housed in the iconic Opera House, and with unprecedented access to the show’s stars and creators, the event was a mesmerising mix of fashion, entertainment and insight. Most notable during the screening was the mix of shock and laughter from the audience. Campion and her team’s ability to find humour in such dark subject matter is not only a credit to their renowned talents, but also vital in allowing the audience to experience the journey without getting overwhelmed by the harrowing nature of the events under investigation.
A Q&A session followed the two-episode screening, with Campion, her co-writer and the director all exploring the creative process as if they were having a chat in their own front room, rather than having a theatre full of patrons hanging on their every word. It is clear that exhaustive research went into the project, from understanding the seedy world that is presented to us, to the detailed recreation of the police station and crime investigative process.
Our evening concluded with drinks and canapes, with several of the actors and creative forces staying until the bitter end. Kidman had quietly slipped out by that stage, but after making herself available for more than three hours, we can forgive her an early night!
Catch Top of the Lake China Girl on BBC First on Foxtel, starting from Sunday, 20 August 2017.