Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman became very close during filming the first season, to the extent that Witherspoon bought the residence next to Kidman's house in her hometown of Nashville.
After collaborating on this project, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon re-teamed to obtain the rights for an adaptation of "Truly Madly Guilty", also a novel by Liane Moriarty.
Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon will each earn $1 million an episode for the sequel series. That's a significant bump from the reported range of $250,000 to $350,000 the pair made per episode during season one. Keep in mind, that's just for their acting duties, and does not include the money the pair makes as producers.
In order to work on the first season, Reese Witherspoon backed out of Downsizing (2017), while Nicole Kidman turned down a part in Wonder Woman (2017), both because of scheduling conflicts.
Bruna Papandrea is Reese Witherspoon's producing partner and a childhood friend of Nicole Kidman. She got the two united over the project. After she approached Kidman about the novel, Kidman read the book overnight, and later went to Australia to sit down with author Liane Moriarty to obtain the rights to the book. She received it forty-eight hours later.
Laura Dern has previously portrayed the mother of her two co-stars Shailene Woodley and Reese Witherspoon in films released in 2014, The Fault in Our Stars (2014) and Wild (2014) respectively. In this, she plays a fellow mother at the primary school.
Alexander Skarsgård said that the therapy sessions between Perry and Celeste were filmed without rehearsal, and he appreciated that, since accordingly he and Nicole Kidman had genuine tension and awkwardness having to read the other's emotions in the scene.
Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman also both serve as producers of the show. They acquired the rights for the book adaptation in a collaboration between their own respective film companies Pacific Standard and Blossom Films.
Filming of the first season took five months. The crew shot four pages a day, just like a feature. Director Jean-Marc Vallée treated "Big Little Lies" as if it were a theatrical movie, breaking the five-month shoot down into two chunks and shooting for 88 days.
The novel is set in a seaside suburb of Sydney, Australia, but the setting was changed to America for the series. Nicole Kidman is the only Australian among the cast other than Gia Carides.
Reese Witherspoon personally approached her former collaborator Jean-Marc Vallée to offer him the project, when it was only a stand-alone mini-series. By the time she called him, the production was rushing towards a start date, without a director attached. He jumped on board in order to direct only two episodes, but finally directed the entire first season, and approached it as one long movie.
The series is being filmed in Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, and Carmel Highlands, California.
Originally envisioned as a feature film, but then turned into a mini-series. Following the critical acclaim, award success, HBO's desire to appeal to a female audience and the cast's desire to work together again, a sequel was rumored for months, before being officially announced in December 2017. Author of the original novel, Liane Moriaty, wrote the outline for the new story and David E. Kelley adapted into a screenplay.
Alexander Skarsgård first met Nicole Kidman on the set of Dogville (2003) in which her character is raped by a character played by Stellan Skarsgård, Alexander's father. And it was the day of filming the rape scene that he visited the set.
Zöe Kravitz, specifically, will get a reported $3 million for the entire second season, a raise of almost 800 percent of what she was previously paid.
Shailene Woodley and Laura Dern previously co-starred in The Fault in Our Stars (2014), while the series also reunites Woodley and Zoë Kravitz, co-stars of the Divergent (2014) franchise.
Shailene Woodley was seriously thinking of quitting acting and had been refusing scripts for a year before this one came her way and she fell in love with the character of Jane. A phone call of encouragement from her friend and co-star Laura Dern solidified her decision to take the role.
In the source novel, Perry (Alexander Skarsgård), Celeste's husband, is described as physically resembling Tom Cruise: "Women always took to Perry. It was that Tom Cruise, white-toothed smile and the way he gave them his full attention" (p. 81). In this adaptation, Celeste is played by Nicole Kidman, who was married to Tom Cruise from 1990 to 2001.
While Madeline is helping her daughter with her family tree project, some of the pictures on the table are pictures of Reese Witherspoon's own family.
The original order for the first season was 8 episodes, but when David E. Kelley was writing them he realized that 7 was enough, so he asked HBO about it and they agreed with him.
Meryl Streep's character was written with her in mind. Liane Moriaty named the character after Streep's real-life name, Mary Louise.
The soundtrack went #1 on iTunes' Soundtrack Chart and #2 on the Top Albums U.S. iTunes Chart. In June 2017, the soundtrack was officially released on CD, followed by a double Vinyl release in July the same year. The latter features new songs, including one by the director of the series, Jean-Marc Vallée. The soundtrack also features cast member Zoë Kravitz's first official single, a rendition of Elvis' "Don't".
Larry Sullivan and David Monahan are also a couple in real life and have one child together. They previously played a married same-sex couple in a commercial for Campbell Soup.
The first season reunited Laura Dern, actor/producer Reese Witherspoon and director Jean-Marc Vallée who all previously collaborated on Wild (2014).
The song "Something Stupid' has been sung by both Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon in a separate official recording of the song. Kidman collaborated with Robbie Williams and Witherspoon sang alongside Michael Bublé.
Of all the houses the lead characters reside in, only Celeste and Perry's seaside mansion is actually located in the Monterey Peninsula. The rest of the locations are in Malibu, Calabasas and Pasadena. Nearly all the interiors were shot on sound stages in Los Angeles.
"Avenue Q," the theatrical production that Madeline is working on (and trying to advocate for in the face of community objections) is a real musical, and, as described in the show, really performed with puppets. The real "Avenue Q" had a very successful Broadway run (from 2003 to 2009) and won the so-called "Triple Crown" of Tony Awards (Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score) in 2004. The New York production moved to the off-Broadway New World Stages in 2009, where (as of August 2017) it has been running ever since. Although the show contains puppets, it was never intended for children, so given all the awards, critical acclaim, and financial success garnered by the musical over the years, in the context of "Big Little Lies," Renata's objections are meant to be seen as baseless and vindictive.
Zoe Kravitz lived with Nicole Kidman when Kravitz was 13, during the time Kidman was engaged to her father Lenny Kravitz.
During a March 2017 Vulture interview with Darby Camp (the child actress who played Chloe Mackenzie), Camp said that Nicole Kidman (Celeste) would play with the child actors between takes, and she once let them crawl onto her lap and play with the wig she wore for her role. Source: "Big Little Lies' Darby Camp on Playing a 'Sassy' Character and Getting Acting Tips From Reese Witherspoon" by Jen Chaney, March 28, 2017, Vulture .com
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban's two daughters, Rose and Faith, were extras on the show.
Season 1 finished the entirety of the one book. Reese Witherspoon confirmed that Season 2 is based off a short novella written by author Liane Moriarty. The novella was written specifically to map out the direction for the characters for another season. The novella will not be published.
Meryl Streep, set to join the show's second season, has starred alongside producers and stars Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman. She starred with Witherspoon in Rendition, and Kidman in The Hours.
Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, and Shailene Woodley have all starred in films directed by Alexander Payne.
Alexander Skarsgard's younger brother Bill starred in the Divergent sequel Allegient- with Shailene Woodley and Zoe Kravitz.
Laura Dern and Sarah Burns also acted together in HBO's "Enlightened (2011). Ms. Burns portrays pregnant characters in both series.
The Monterey setting was something of a homecoming for Adam Scott, who grew up in Santa Cruz, less than an hour north.
Ivy George and Kathryn Newton played in 2 different Paranormal activity movies. Kathryn Newton in Paranormal Activity 4 (2012) and Ivy George in Paranormal Activity The Ghost Dimension (2015)
It's revealed that Madeline has Native American ancestry, while in the book, it's never disclosed on that. Her actress, Reese Witherspoon, is of mostly Irish, Scottish, and Welsh descent.