TCA: Meryl Streep also explains how she went from a superfan of the show to its newest star.
It didn’t take long for the original limited series plan for “Big Little Lies” to fall by the wayside. But series writer David E. Kelley insists that the upcoming Season 2 is where the current plan has settled.
“We like where our closure is at the end of Season 2, so that will probably be it,” Kelley told the Television Critics Association (TCA) on Friday as part of a panel alongside cast members Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz, and Meryl Streep.
Witherspoon jumped in to say that’s roughly what Kelley told the room of reporters during the show’s last appearance at the TCA Press Tour. Kidman added that there’s “no plan for it” to come back for a Season 3, also explaining that the initial episodes’ “Greek chorus” framing would not be coming back as part of the new season.
“For some reason, that just fell away. That, I think, changes some of the tone of it,” Kidman said.
“We felt last year that the ‘Greek chorus,’ with each ensuing episode, wanted to go away a little bit,” Kelley said. “Once the show intensified as it did by [episode] 3 or 4, you kind of wanted to live and breathe with that intensity. We pick up Year Two where we left off in Year One. Tonally, it’s still a mix of comedy and drama, probably more dramatic than comedic this year than last year.”
Of course, one other massive change going into Season 2 is Streep’s joining the cast. Apparently, it didn’t take much convincing to get the legendary actress to return to a TV project.
“I loved this show. I was addicted to it. I think it’s an amazing exercise in what we know and don’t know about people…how it flirted with the mystery of things. What was unsaid, unknown was the pull of the piece,” Streep said. “I wanted to do it to be in that world, the world that was created.”
Regardless of how this season ends, Witherspoon explained that the show is far from flying blind into territory beyond Lianne Moriarty’s original book. Although Kelley is returning to write every episode this season, he was still working with some of Moriarty’s helpful insight into the women she brought to life.
“We were lucky Lianne Moriarty wrote almost a novella for us to use as a template. It really helped tremendously that these characters were alive in her mind and had these rich experiences that were just as interesting, entertaining, and in-depth as they were in the original series. So that gave us a basis from which to go on for each character,” Witherspoon said.
As HBO announced earlier on Friday, “Big Little Lies” Season 2 will be arriving in summer with a June premiere date.