Entertainment From The Editors

‘Big Little Lies” Becomes Bigger with Meryl Streep on Board for Season 2

Yes, it’ true!

Multiple-Oscar winning actress Meryl Streep, fresh off her record 21st nomination for the 2018 Academy Awards, is all set to join Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern for the second installment of HBO’s super hit series “Big Little Lies,” the network has confirmed.

Her fans will get to see her as Mary Louis Wright, who – “concerned for the well-being of her grandchildren following her son Perry’s death” – arrives in the town of Monterey looking for answers.

Obviously, her casting makes her the mother-in-law of Kidman’s character Celeste Wright, the grieving wife of Perry.

Speaking to Fairfax Media, “Big Little Lies” writer Liane Moriarty thinks nobody was better suited for the role than Streep, not only because she’s a great actress but also because of her resemblance to Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgård) whose mother she is playing.

“When I was writing the [season two] story, I actually called her Meryl to myself because I was thinking who would be more perfect than Meryl to play Perry’s mother,” she said. “Not only is she an incredible actor, but they’re quite similar in appearance. But that was my own, secret game.”

She went on to explain how she came about the name of Mary Louise for Streep’s character. Here’s what she said.

“I then looked up her [Streep’s] middle name to see what it was and I saw her real name is Mary Louise. So that’s why I’ve called her Mary Louise. I said to the producers – not quite believing my own audacity – I have this role and I think Meryl will be really perfect for it. They were teasing me, saying I can’t believe how Hollywood you’ve become.”

Soon after Christmas, the Australian writer even received an email from Kidman saying, “Ask and you shall receive,” confirming Streep’s inclusion, in a way.

While partially based on Moriarty’s story, the scripts for all seven episodes of the new season have been written by David Kelly again.

Under the direction of celebrated British film-maker Andrea Arnold – whose credits include American Honey, Red Road and Fish Tank – the second installment of this multi-award-winning series will be all about the “malignancy of lies, the durability of friendships, the fragility of marriage and, of course, the vicious ferocity of sound parenting. Relationships will fray, loyalties will erode … the potential for an emotional and bodily injury shall loom,” says HBO.

While that doesn’t tell you much about the plot, one thing you can look forward to, though, is some powerful exchanges between Streep and her screen daughter-in-law Kidman, who is “reeling from her husband Perry’s death” and although “adrift,” she is “determined to fight for her family and find the woman she once was,” HBO says.

Meanwhile, sources have informed VARIETY that the veteran actress will be paid a cool $800,000 for each episode.

Reliable reports also have it that Kidman and Witherspoon – who were paid $250K and $350K per episode, respectively, in season one – are each set to take home $1 million an episode, this time around.
Speaking about the revival of this HBO mystery early last month, Witherspoon said that she was “thrilled” about the prospect of another season of “Big Little Lies.”

“I’m thrilled to be bringing back this talented team of artists,” said Witherspoon, who, by the way, is also one of the executive producers of the series along with Kidman and others.

“It gives us the opportunity to delve deeper into the lives of these intriguing and intricate Monterey families and bring more of their stories back to the audience who embraced and championed them.

I’m beyond excited to be working with talented and acclaimed director Andrea Arnold, who will be at the helm. Andrea’s unique storytelling style will be a welcome addition to the film-making team.”

Now, with the inclusion of Meryl Streep in the cast, Witherspoon is even more thrilled – or, maybe, she had inside information about what was coming.

Streep fans can now look forward to, not one, not two, but three forthcoming TV shows starring the champion actress, including J.J. Abram’s TV adaptation of Nathan Hill’s bestselling debut novel “The Nix,” as well as this year’s sequel “Mary Poppins Returns.”

While “The Nix” does not have a release timeline yet, fans can look forward to a 2019 premiere of “Big Little Lies” Season2.

Season 1 premiered in February last year and has twelve awards to its credit, including eight Emmys and four Golden Globes, with a SAG award each for Kidman and Alexander Skarsgård, this year, for their performances in the debut season.

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Main Characters and Cast

  • Meryl Streep as Mary Louise Wright
  • Nicole Kidman as Celeste Wright
  • Reese Witherspoon as Madeline Martha Mackenzie
  • Shailene Woodley as Jane Chapman
  • Alexander Skarsgård as Perry Wright
  • Adam Scott as Ed Mackenzie
  • Zoë Kravitz as Bonnie Carlson
  • James Tupper as Nathan Carlson
  • Jeffrey Nordling as Gordon Klein
  • Laura Dern as Renata Klein

Direction: Andrea Arnold
Based on: “Little Big Lies” by Liane Moriarty
Written by: David Kelly

Executive Producers:

  • David E. Kelley
  • Jean-Marc Vallée
  • Reese Witherspoon
  • Bruna Papandrea
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Per Saari
  • Gregg Fienberg
  • Nathan Ross

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