‘You Knew Right From The Start’: A Family Affair’s Director Talks About Why Nicole Kidman And Zac Efron Are The Perfect Pair For the Netflix Rom-Com

 Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron looking into each other's eyes in a grocery store in A Family Affair.
Credit: Aaron Epstein/Netflix

When it comes to the best rom-coms I’ve seen, oftentimes it all comes down to the chemistry between its leading actors. Netflix’s latest entry into the genre enlists perhaps an unlikely pair in A Family Affair. In the project on the 2024 movie schedule, Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron’s characters sneak around behind the back of Joey King’s character, and it turns out these two are rather endearing together! And the movie’s director could see that from day one!

A Family Affair’s director Richard LaGravenese has a knack for movies with great pairings, between 2007’s P.S. I Love You to 2014’s The Last Five Years. Here’s what he shared with CinemaBlend when I asked him why Kidman and Efron were the perfect pair for the new Netflix release:

To be honest, I came into it and the cast was already set, so I knew their chemistry as soon as our first day rehearsals on set and they saw each other and embraced and talked about old times and their friendship was apparent right from the start and their ability to connect and work off of each other was so easy and so graceful. You knew right from the start.

Zac Efron and Nicole Kidman actually worked together over a decade prior on 2012’s The Paperboy, but it was under much different circumstances than a romantic comedy. The Lee Daniels movie was a crime drama set in the '60s that definitely doesn’t have a happy ending for the pair.

As LaGravenese observed, Efron and Kidman’s chemistry was apparent to him from the first day working with them, which makes sense.

A Family Affair has Zac Efron playing an actor named Chris Cole who Joey King’s Zara is the assistant to. When Zara gets furiously up-to-here with Chris’ treatment of her, she quits, leading him to show up on her doorstep in hopes of getting her back. But when he does, he instead meets Kidman’s Brooke Hargrove (Zara’s mom), who he immediately gets enraptured with. During the interview, LaGravenese shared what scene he chose to have the actors work against each other for the first time on A Family Affair:

The couch scene, where they first sit down and start talking about their lives and about how they're getting to know each other.

Given the pair’s nearly 20-year age gap along with the movie’s focus on celebrity, it’s sure to draw some comparisons to Amazon’s The Idea Of You. When I asked the director his thoughts about the two movies coming out in the same year, he said this:

When we were making the movie, the age disparity never came into question. I never thought of it because she's Nicole Kidman and she's kind of ageless. And, the two of them just have this great connection. I think it's one of those cultural things where we hit a wave of a common idea, but it wasn't conscious, you know, it just sort of happened. It wasn't on purpose.

Nicole Kidman certainly is ageless. Did you see her with Joey King at the A Family Affair premiere? As the movie leads Chris and Brooke to sneak behind Zara’s back, a lovely romance forms, and truly I found myself believing and rooting for this new Hollywood coupling!

A Family Affair hits Netflix on June 28. You can also check out what Zac Efron told CinemaBlend when I asked him about what roles he gets stopped about (hint: I was not expecting what he had to say about Hairspray)!