Fans of Big Little Lies were ecstatic when they learnt the show that was initially touted as a miniseries was instead renewed for a second season. The actors behind the characters of this intense drama need no introduction, not only because we loved them in season one, but because they’ve enthralled us for years.
Season two also sees the addition of Oscar-winning filmmaker Andrea Arnold in the director’s chair, as well as acting OG Meryl Streep. With that in mind, and in anticipation of season two, we’re taking a look at the careers of the director and cast, why we love them, and how awesome their Instagram accounts are – all while playing six degrees of separation.
Let’s look at the wonderful women of Big Little Lies.
For decades, Kidman has impressed audiences with her diversity, easing from thrillers and witchy comedies to period dramas, musicals, and superhero movies. She’s taken on bold projects like Dogville, Birth, and Stoker, and worked with some of Hollywood’s most acclaimed directors, including Jane Campion, Stanley Kubrick, Nora Ephron, and Sofia Coppola.
At the 2003 Oscars she won Best Actress for her searing portrayal of Virginia Woolf in The Hours; but it was in 2001 that she truly won our hearts. In Moulin Rouge! she perfectly blended comedy, tragedy, beauty, and romance to portray the courtesan Satine, all while blowing us away her gift for song.
Witherspoon’s natural bright energy and enthusiasm bubbled over into her star-making turn in Legally Blonde. But before that she was skillfully twisting this talent to delightfully dark effect in Election, while years later she would showcase her singing prowess in her Oscar-winning role as June Carter Cash in Walk the Line.
Throughout her career she’s also shown a penchant for taking on literary characters, appearing in adaptations of American Psycho, Dangerous Liaisons, and Vanity Fair. Her most acclaimed has been Wild, the Nick Hornby-penned adaptation based on the memoir by Cheryl Strayed, helmed by Big Little Lies' first season director Jean-Marc Vallée and co-starring her BLL co-star, Laura Dern. This literary proclivity may be unintentional, or it may be due to her innate bookworminess. Last year she released her first book, Whiskey in a Teacup, and she’s even founded a book club, Hello Sunshine.
The youngest actor in this stunning cast, Woodley nevertheless has an entire dystopian YA franchise to her name, playing the protagonist in The Divergent Series. But it was in the Oscar-winning drama The Descendants three years prior to the first movie, that she made Hollywood sit up and notice her. From a young age, she’s proved herself a YA queen. Besides her sci-fi success with Divergent, she’s also won fans with performances in TV series The Secret Life of the American Teenager and movies The Spectacular Now and The Fault in our Stars, co-starring with her Big Little Lies co-star Laura Dern in the latter.
No matter what role she takes on, you can always expect something fascinating from Dern. As a David Lynch regular she’s brought her talent to the captivating worlds of Blue Velvet, Inland Empire, and Twin Peaks. But she’s just as adept at tackling blockbusters, whether she’s escaping dinosaurs in Jurassic Park or fighting intergalactic battles in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Last year, she astounded with her sensitive portrayal in The Tale, while this year holds much promise, not only due to Big Little Lies’ second season but also thanks to her role in Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women. Dern also holds an interesting Oscar record: she and her mother Diane Ladd are the only mother-daughter pair to receive acting nominations for the same movie.
A star of sci-fi and fantasy, Kravitz has made her mark not only with Big Little Lies co-star Shailene Woodley in The Divergent Series, but also in X-Men, Fantastic Beasts, and most notably, Mad Max: Fury Road. Last year she voiced Mary Jane Watson in the award-winning animation Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. But what we’re really excited about is watching her in the TV adaptation of High Fidelity. In 2000, her mother Lisa Bonet appeared as the romantic interest in the movie adaptation of Nick Hornby’s book, but in the TV series Kravitz will take on the lead role.
In her early career, Streep stuck to her strengths and it’s paid off. Her filmography is crammed end to end with highly-lauded dramas, each involving complex characters that she tackled with passionate relish. After an early dip into the pool of the flamboyant, with her role in Death Becomes Her, she later embraced her comedic side with performances in The Devil Wears Prada and Adaptation.
She’s also flexed her vocal cords in recent years with appearances in Mamma Mia!, Into the Woods, and Mary Poppins Returns. Besides Big Little Lies, she’ll also co-star with Laura Dern in this year’s Little Women. And, as you probably already know, she’s been nominated for more acting Oscars than any other actor in history.
Arnold has directed seven films, and worked on the screenplay for each of those. Her third film, Wasp, won her an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short. She’s no stranger to television, having directed four episodes of the acclaimed drama Transparent. She takes over directing duty for Big Little Lies’ second season, taking the helm for all seven episodes.
Big Little Lies season 2 airs Mondays at 21:00 from 10 June on M-Net channel 101.
Feature image: Big Little Lies season two. Photo by Jennifer Clasen - HBO.