Big Little Lies Brought in the Big Guns to Cast Meryl Streep: Nicole Kidman’s Emailing Skills

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Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Arguably the most wowza! casting announcement of 2018 so far has been Meryl Streep returning to television for Big Little Lies’ second season, which will find the actress playing Perry’s mother, Mary Louis Wright. (Remember Perry? Who was deservedly killed at the swanky school fundraiser?) Per the casting breakdown, Streep’s mama character is “concerned for the well-being of her grandchildren following her son Perry’s death,” and will likely be wreaking a lot of havoc upon her arrival in Monterey. Streep’s prestige-TV presence is certainly welcome, as is the story about how she was ultimately cast: We can thank the miniseries’s original novelist, Liane Moriarty, as well as the email-persistence of Nicole Kidman.

“I was about half way through [writing season two] and I was talking to the producers and I said, I’ve got this role of Perry’s mother and … not quite believing my own audacity, I’d like Meryl to play this character,” Moriarty explained to Australia’s Daily Telegraph, noting how she created the character with Streep in mind. “And the producers were laughing at me because they were saying, ‘You’ve become so Hollywood,’ as in, picking up the phone and saying, ‘Get me Meryl.’ They were teasing me … but then they were saying, it’s not beyond the realm of possibilities because Nicole and Meryl are friends.” Soon enough, a plan was put in motion that utilized Kidman’s cyberskills: “Nicole sent me an email saying, ‘Ask and you shall receive.’” A few weeks later, and the rest was history.

As for what type of Streep we’ll be getting with her maternal portrayal, Moriarty teased we may expect something chilly à la Devil Wears Prada. “She deeply loved her son … as much as any mother can love her son,” Moriarty said. “She had a slightly fraught relationship with her daughter-in-law, so it’s a very complicated, difficult time.”

How Meryl Streep Was Convinced to Do Big Little Lies