Big Little Lies is an American TV drama that first aired on HBO in February 2017. Season one consisted of seven episodes and the storyline was based on Liane Moriarty’s mystery novel of the same name. The series won tons of critical acclaim and multiple awards, with all of the actors involved winning praise for their performances.
The main story follows three emotionally troubled women – Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and Jane (Shailene Woodley) – who end up becoming embroiled in a murder investigation in Monterey, California. Although it was initially billed as a mini-series, the show’s popularity meant that it was renewed for a second season, and casting is currently underway for the next dose of Big Little Lies which is due to arrive some time in 2019. Meryl Streep has been confirmed as a new character for season two, just in case there weren’t enough acting heavyweights on hand!
To make the wait a little easier, we’ve put together a list of ten things you didn’t know about Big Little Lies…enjoy!
1. Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon have ‘Something Stupid’ in common with one another
C. Carson Parks first wrote the song ‘Something Stupid’ in 1966 and it was later recorded by Frank Sinatra and his daughter Nancy the following year. In 2001, Nicole Kidman (who plays Celeste Wright on the show) famously recorded a cover version of the song with pop star Robbie Williams, and the track was so popular that it reached number one in the UK. Funnily enough, her co-star Reese Witherspoon – who portrays Madeline McKenzie – also recorded a version of ‘Something Stupid’ alongside contemporary crooner Michael Bublé!
2. Oren and Bernard are married in real life
Fans of the show might be surprised to learn that Larry Sullivan (Oren) and David Monahan (Bernard) are actually a couple in real life! The pair are married and adopted a child together. As well as their recurring roles on Big Little Lies, the two men previously played a married same-sex couple in an advert for Campbell Soup which showed them feeding their son Cooper.
3. Shailene Woodley nearly quit acting before joining the show
Lead actress Shailene Woodley, who plays Jane Chapman on the show, had grown frustrated with acting and was thinking of quitting the business for good. In fact, she had been refusing scripts for over a year before Big Little Lies was presented to her. Woodley soon fell in love with the character of Jane, and after receiving a phone call of encouragement from her friend Laura Dern (aka Renata Klein), Woodley decided to accept the role.
4. The domestic violence scenes took their toll on both actors
Alexander Skarsgard plays Perry, Celeste’s physically abusive husband. Some of the scenes involving violence were traumatising not only for the viewers at home, but also the actors involved. Skarsgard said that he always checked in with Kidman after filming any scenes of abuse. He also preferred to live with a friend during shooting of Big Little Lies, rather than staying in a hotel, because it meant that he could rid himself of Perry’s loathesome character more easily after work.
Nicole Kidman claims that the scenes devastated her emotionally, and that after filming the moment where Celeste is beaten by Perry in the bathroom in her underwear, she was unable to get up off the floor after the scene was over. When she returned to her hotel room she suffered a meltdown and ended up throwing a rock at a glass door. Interestingly, Kidman previously played opposite Skarsgard’s father, Stellan, in Dogville (2003), a film in which the couple had a similarly violent relationship.
5. Perry is supposed to look like Tom Cruise in the original book
In the source novel by Liane Moriarty, Perry is described as physically resembling the blockbuster movie star Tom Cruise. One line from the book reads as follows:
“Women always took to Perry. It was that Tom Cruise, white-toothed smile and the way he gave them his full attention.”
In the TV adaptation, Celeste is played by Nicole Kidman, who was famously married to Cruise from 1990 to 2001.
6. Nicole Kidman hadn’t done any TV work in a very long time
Nicole Kidman has been wowing cinema audiences for years with her performances. Her films have grossed more than $3.9 billion at the global box office and she won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2003 for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in The Hours. However, it took a very special script to get her to return to the small screen. Before playing Celeste, Kidman hadn’t done a television series since Bangkok Hilton in 1989 (we’ve never heard of it either).
7. Laura Dern has previously portrayed the mother of two of her co-stars
Laura Dern is a veteran actress who has had a career in film and TV spanning decades, and in Big Little Lies she appears as the powerful career woman Renata Klein. In the past, she has previously portrayed the mother of not one but two of her co-stars on Big Little Lies. In 2014, she starred alongside Shailene Woodley in The Fault in our Stars, before playing Reese Witherspoon’s mum the same year in Wild. On the HBO series she plays a fellow mother at the primary school who is on a campaign to stop bullying.
8. Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman became very good friends thanks to the show
Leading ladies Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman became such good friends during filming of the first season that Witherspoon bought the house next door to Kidman’s home in Nashville, Tennessee. The two were first introduced by Bruna Papandrea, who happened to be both Witherspoon’s producing partner and Kidman’s childhood friend. The two actresses got together after Witherspoon approached Kidman with Liane Moriarty’s novel – the Aussie actress read the book overnight and later went to her country of birth to meet with Moriarty and obtain the rights to the book. She received them 48 hours later.
9. The therapy scenes were filmed without rehearsal
Usually actors like to run lines with one another before filming a scene together, but that wasn’t the case for Skarsgard and Kidman. Skarsgard revealed that the therapy sessions between Perry and Celeste were shot without any prior rehearsal. However, he believed that this worked out for the best, because it meant that the pair had genuine tension and awkwardness in having to read each other’s emotions spontaneously.
10. Kidman used to be engaged to Zoë Kravitz’s dad
Kidman used to be engaged to singer and musician Lenny Kravitz some time in the early 2000s. They’re keeping things in the family with Big Little Lies because Zoë Kravitz, who plays Bonnie on the show, is none other than Lenny’s daughter! Filming wasn’t awkward at all, though, because even though it didn’t work out for them romantically, Kidman and Lenny remain friends to this day.