Murder roils oceanfront town in HBO’s ‘Big Little Lies’
Looking for bare-knuckle politics? There’s no need to go all the way to Congress. Just visit your local school.
That’s where the moms of HBO’s Big Little Lies (Sunday, 9 p.m. ET/PT) take out the big guns — verbally, at least — when the arrival of a new family and an accusation of bullying disrupts a California seaside community where beautiful family facades aren’t as sturdy as they appear.
The fighting is vicious, but sometimes hilarious, especially when local firebrand Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon) and no-nonsense businesswoman Renata Klein (Laura Dern) go at it.
“I always say there’s girl politics,” Witherspoon says, “but I don’t think we’ve seen as much of the girl-politicking and mother-politicking world on film. This is how women really speak to each other: candidly, raw. They say filthy, dirty, disgusting things to each other. Then, they smother each other in love and admiration. It’s a very interesting thing to see, and I think we worked really hard on making that grounded and natural.”
Maternal power runs through the seven-episode miniseries, with the five women at its center expressing deep love but also darker emotions when it comes to their children, husbands and jobs in beautiful Monterey. And that’s before a mysterious murder — a future incident that plays in the background as the story recounts the days leading up to it — rocks the community like a tidal wave.
The star-studded drama, based on the instant (and durable) 2014 bestseller by Liane Moriarty, digs into the lives of the women, all with first-graders attending a model public school, and shows how outward appearances can deceive.
February 17, 2017 • Category: "Big Little Lies", Articles & Interviews •
Comments Off on LA Times: Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon on bringing the female-driven ‘Big Little Lies’ to life
Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon on bringing the female-driven ‘Big Little Lies’ to life
She had learned not to get excited. Australian author Liane Moriarty had gone through the process of having a book optioned for a movie or TV series before and had endured the realities of it getting lost in Hollywood development purgatory.
Moriarty, though, had never done business with Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman.
“When I met with Nicole, she was like, ‘No, no, no. If we option it, get excited. We don’t option things just for the sake of it. We don’t have time for that,’ ” Moriarty said by phone when recalling her midmorning coffee meeting with Kidman in a Sydney suburb about 18 months ago.
“She kept her word.”
Moriarty’s 2014 bestseller “Big Little Lies” is now a seven-episode limited series on HBO. And it boasts the Oscar-winning actresses as leads and executive producers.
It continues in the HBO tradition of drawing marquee feature film stars to the small screen. And it serves as a bit of an antidote to the premium network’s recent tent-pole attraction, “Westworld,” and the unusual religious drama “The Young Pope.”
“Not since ‘Big Love’ have we had a drama that is this female-centric,” said Casey Bloys, HBO’s president of programming. “The issues they get into on the show are things people deal with in life, and it was nice to have this framework to put these stories forward.”
February 17, 2017 • Category: "Big Little Lies" •
Comments Off on Big Little Lies’ Stephen Graybill Reveals What It’s Really Like Working with Reese Witherspoon
Big Little Lies’ Stephen Graybill Reveals What It’s Really Like Working with Reese Witherspoon
Walking onto the Big Little Lies set for the first time was a daunting task for actor Stephen Graybill.
“It was like being shot out of a cannon. I was thinking, ‘These are incredible actresses!’ That can be really intimidating,” the actor tells PEOPLE of working with Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley on the new HBO limited series. “They are big names and you never know how people are going to be.”
“I thought they might be a little distant, but that theory was quickly dispelled on the first day,” he continues. “Very quickly after arriving, I found myself saying, ‘Hey, Reese. How are you?’ and I’d think, ‘Wow. They cold not have been more welcoming and generous.’ ”
Graybill — a British American Drama Academy graduate and veteran of the New York theater scene who stars in Lies as Saxon Baker, a character pivotal to the secrets revealed in the HBO series — worked closely alongside Woodley and says that the actress was “unexpectedly vulnerable.”
“She has an incredible breadth of emotional availability to her,” Graybill says of Woodley. “She was able to go different ways and give the director different options: intense, crying, unsure. ”
Graybill says he appreciated the improv-friendly nature of the set.
“It was really exciting,” he says. “I’m so honored to be in this project with all of them. I’m blown away and am so grateful to have done this with such amazing people.”
Big Little Lies premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.
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