Big Little Lies Author Liane Moriarty Isn’t Ruling Out Season Two
It’s not just you—the Big Little Lies withdrawal symptoms are setting in for all of us. We’ve analyzed the fashion, lusted after the real estate, obsessed over the soundtrack, mulled over the show’s potent and timely themes about toxic masculinity and female friendship, and are now just left craving more.
Though all seven episodes of Big Little Lies were scripted by David E. Kelley, the bulk of the series —its core storyline, its sharply defined characters, and much of its distinctive dialogue—came directly from Liane Moriarty’s original 2014 novel. And Reese Witherspoon revealed on Friday that she is in discussions with Moriarty about developing a story for season two.
ELLE.com caught up with Moriarty this week to get some intel on the adaptation process, how she felt about the numerous changes made from page to screen, and those season two rumors.
When Nicole Kidman approached her about optioning the novel, Moriarty had only one stipulation.
“When I first spoke to Nicole Kidman in Sydney about the series and she said she wanted to play Celeste, I was thrilled. I thought she’d be perfect for the role, and it turns out she couldn’t have been more perfect. I said to her that it was very important to me that her character doesn’t just take the abuse—she hits back. That was my only stipulation. I didn’t want her to be a passive, pretty victim. I wanted to show how these relationships become tangled and confused.”
She had no qualms about switching the setting from the novel’s fictional Australia beachside town to the real city of Monterey, California.
“Over the years, readers have often written to me commenting on how playground politics are the same the world over! I thought the Californian setting was beautiful and very similar to the Australian setting I’d imagined. In a way, I think changing the setting helped me ‘let go,’ which I think every author has to do when their work is adapted. If it had been set in Australia, I might have resisted changes to the book, which I’ve always known and understood were necessary in an adaptation.”
She loved some of the changes that were made—and accepted others.
“I really loved some of the changes—I thought the wardrobe choice for Madeline at the trivia night was better than my own. I wish I’d thought of that. My Madeline would not have had an affair, but I do understand why the Madeline in the series did, and I was prepared from the beginning for there to be changes. I think it’s a mistake when adaptations try to stick too closely to the original source material. There were a number of scenes which were entirely new, created by David E. Kelley, and I actually loved watching those scenes because I could enjoy them more freely, in a way, as I wasn’t comparing them to the book.”
With that being said, certain scenes were dizzyingly true to Moriarty’s vision.
“One in particular was Celeste’s therapy session—even the therapist’s office was exactly as I had described it in the book, and there were a number of lines straight from the page. The way Nicole played those scenes was extraordinary. I also especially enjoyed seeing Reese deliver the line about ‘tending to her grudges like little pets.’ I keep replaying that over and over. She delivers it with exquisite comic timing, as she does all her lines.”
Her perception of the book’s core theme changed after the writing process.
“I set out to write a book about bullying—from the innocent bullying in the schoolyard to the subtle, malicious bullying that can take place at the school gate, right through to the violence that goes on behind closed doors. It wasn’t until I’d finished writing it that I thought, actually, this was a book about friendship between women.”
Witherspoon and Kidman’s adaptation of her 2016 novel, ‘Truly Madly Guilty,’ may be a movie.
“That is still going ahead, though it’s not yet decided whether it will be a movie or a series. Having seen what they did with Big Little Lies I am so, so excited to see what they do with Truly Madly Guilty.”
She’s not ruling out a second season of ‘Big Little Lies.’
“It’s all up in the air at the moment. I’ve never written a sequel for any of my books, so my first reaction was that there should not be a season two—I always tend to think I’ve put my poor characters through enough! Having said that, season one was so fantastic and I do understand the desire not to let these characters go. Right now, I’m having fun thinking broadly about ideas for how the storyline could possibly continue, but so many talented people would have to say ‘yes’ for it to go ahead, I have no idea whether it will happen or not.”