Just a day after Nicole Kidman accidentally let slip that Alexander Skarsgard (whose character was killed in season one) does indeed return for season two of Big Little Lies, she joined co-stars Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern at The Wing in Soho in New York City.
The location is a famous, really beautifully designed shared work space for females and since the hit television show is written by women, for women, and stars six very prominent women, it made a lot of sense to be interviewed in a place that shares the same values. The conversation was moderated by Vanity Fair editor Radhika Jones just hours before the season two premiere on HBO. And while Streep labelled Shailene Woodley a “miracle” to work with, the biggest takeaway was… Meryl Streep hadn’t read the script before she said yes to the part.
“[My agents] asked me, ‘don’t you want to read it?’ And I said no,” the actor laughed. “The first season was the greatest thing on television.”
“For all of our lives as little girls, we grew up reading all the books that had male protagonists…we spent all our lives living through [them],” Streep said (adding later that she never wanted to be “Wendy or Tink….I wanted to be Peter Pan!”).
“The hardest thing is getting men to watch a story where they put themselves in the bodies of protagonists who are female,” Streep continued. “It’s almost an impenetrable act of imagination for any men. [But] ‘Big Little Lies’ crossed over. They could feel what you felt. That’s an amazing gift to humanity.”
The veteran actress spoke so highly of Witherspoon and Kidman. “I am of a generation that waited to be asked to dance,” Streep said. “But I’m so admiring of you for getting out in front of stuff, for being on the balls of your feet, for seeking out material.”
The end of season one coincided with the end of author Liane Moriety’s novel and was originally meant to end the series. Of the decision to write a second season, Witherspoon said it came down to the huge public response. “The year at the Golden Globes when Oprah gave that incredible speech…and we were able to go up there and talk about this show was truly one of the greatest moments of my life and career,” she said.
Kidman talked through the personal importance of not having her character get over her experiences with domestic violence too quickly in season two… “I was adamant that she wasn’t a superhero,” Kidman said. “You’re going to see her navigating that path.” We were really hoping Kidman might slip up again and tell us more!