Reese Witherspoon on ‘Big Little Lies’ Season 2 Potential: “We’re Optimistic”
The actress talks to THR about the future of the limited series, the other TV character she’d like to play and the project she had to turn down because of the critically lauded HBO drama.
Ever since Big Little Lies wrapped its critically lauded run on HBO in April, there have been rumblings of a possible second season of the limited series.
Reese Witherspoon tells The Hollywood Reporter that those conversations are ongoing, and that she’s “optimistic” about doing more of the drama, which is based on Liane Moriarty’s book of the same name.
Ahead of the Emmys, the Oscar-winning actress chatted with THR about the future of the limited series, the other TV character she’d like to play and the project she had to turn down because of Big Little Lies.
There’s been talk of a potential second season of Big Little Lies. What’s the latest?
Honestly, it’s totally in [novelist] Liane Moriarty’s court. The ball is definitely in her court because these characters were born of her mind and her imagination, and we just want to see if she’s interested in creating more story about these characters. She really created an incredible road map for us that we followed almost to a T. Right now, we’re happy if this is all there is. We’re optimistic that there might be more.
And you’re talking to writer David E. Kelley about a second season as well?
Yes, he’s our producing partner.
What goes into the decision of continuing a limited series?
It just comes down to, do we have the story? It was a stand-alone book and there was nothing after that, so it’s up to the mind of the writer to create the vision for the journey of these characters. Right now, we have nothing. We don’t have a book. We’re certainly not going to create it out of thin air. [Moriarty’s] very deft at, first of all, creating tension through mystery, but also digging deep into the very intimate lives of female friendships — their relationships, their romantic relationships, their parenting styles.
Was it ultimately the success of the show that made you think, “We should maybe revisit this”?
Yeah, and also just the demand from the audience. The most important thing as actors and filmmakers and entertainers is that you want to reach people. You want to touch people’s hearts, and I think this is one of those shows that is unique in that it was very entertaining, but it was also really moving and talking about issues that are very on the forefront of everyone’s mind. So, it’s really demand from the audience that would create a second season.
If you could switch roles with another Emmy nominee in any category, who would it be and why?
I don’t think about being other people. Just characters, not real people. That would be really weird.
But was there another role you saw this year on TV and you were like, ‘I would’ve loved to try that’?
Oh! I would’ve liked to be Ewan McGregor. I would’ve liked to have been the twins that Ewan played in Fargo.
If your character in Big Little Lies were to join another show or film, which one do you think it would be and why?
I feel like my character would like to be on maybe Billions or something like that. I think she would probably like to explore the lives of billionaires and help give them advice about how to raise their children. (Laughs.) She basically would be on any show giving everyone advice on how to be a parent.
Was there something that surprised you about how fans and viewers reacted to your character?
Well, we got one really, really mean review that was super-dismissive and said it was just basically a soap opera for rich ladies, which was so diminishing and I felt like this person didn’t really watch all seven episodes of the show. We found out that they only watched three and the publication pulled his review and re-reviewed it. But that shocked me. I thought it was so dismissive and it was, you know, some crusty old white dude who doesn’t understand that women are complex and interesting and interested.
What’s a role or project you had to turn down because of Big Little Lies?
I was supposed to do a small part in Alexander Payne’s new movie [Downsizing], and that bummed me out because I wanted to be with him, but I couldn’t balance being producer and starring in and also handling three kids and two parents and everything, and then also go away and make his film. I was really bummed to miss that opportunity, but he completely understood. It was just a small part, anyway.
What’s the strangest or most surprising fan interaction you’ve had?
The one that’s really fun right now is everybody who will come up to me and tell me they’re a Renata or they’re a Madeline or they’re a Jane. (Laughs.) It’s so funny that groups of friends have all decided which character that they are. One of my favorite things is on Instagram where there are two fabulous guys who dress up as me and Laura Dern in all the moments of our career. I just think it’s really funny. Also, they did the opening sequence where all the women walk towards the camera in their Audrey Hepburn outfits. They completely reenacted it with costumes and everything at one of their dinner parties, which was fabulous.