Meryl Streep cast as Perry’s mother in the second season of ‘Big Little Lies’

Milan photocall for 'The Post'

When I finally saw Big Little Lies, I thought it was impressive. It was just a really well-done miniseries, with great set design and costumes and great acting and direction. I think Nicole Kidman and Alex Skarsgard deserved all of the awards they got for their roles, and I honestly didn’t even mind Shailene Woodley. To me, the worst part was Laura Dern, but that was because her character was so two-dimensional and it pissed me off that Dern was nominated for so many awards for it.

After the success of BLL, producers Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon went to author Liane Moriarty and asked if she thought these characters had a “Part 2.” They wanted to make a second series and Moriarty has apparently given her blessing, and I believe she’ll have a big say in what happens next for these characters. Previously, we’ve heard that the “Bonnie” character (played by Zoe Kravitz) will have a larger role, and that we’ll meet her parents (cross your fingers for Zoe’s real-life parents Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz!!) and now we’re getting some new casting news (SPOILERS in case you haven’t seen BLL):

HBO’s Big Little Lies is upping its star power for season two. Oscar- and Emmy-winning actress Meryl Streep has boarded the premium cable network’s second season of the drama starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman.

Streep will play Mary Louise Wright, the mother to the abusive Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgard), who (spoiler alert!) was revealed to have been the one who died during the Emmy-winning first season of the David E. Kelley drama based on the Liane Moriarty novel. (Skarsgard is said to be returning in some capacity for season two.)

Mary Louise Wright is described as a woman who is concerned for the well-being of her grandchildren following her son Perry’s death. She arrives in Monterey searching for answers. (Fun fact: Kelley told The Hollywood Reporter in October that Streep — and Tom Hanks — were his dream casting goals for Big Little Lies.)

Big Little Lies took home eight Emmys and four Golden Globes and prompted the cabler to stretch beyond Moriarty’s book. Sources say season two, officially greenlighted for seven episodes, will also feature the parents for Zoe Kravitz’s character, Bonnie. (Thus far, only Streep, Witherspoon and Kidman are confirmed to return as deals with the remainder of the cast are still being worked out. Sources note that the stars earned major salary bumps after Witherspoon’s sizable payday to star in and executive produce a morning show drama for Apple.)

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

Meryl Streep doesn’t have to be in EVERYTHING you know? There are other actresses around that age who could do interesting things with that role. But I understand it too – what producer wouldn’t want to cast Meryl if they have that choice? The whole idea of nature vs nurture will come into play with this character – was Perry an abusive monster because that was his nature, or did his mother make him that way? Also: her grandchildren… uh, she’s got one more grandchild that she doesn’t know about. Ew.

The HBO After Party 2017

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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58 Responses to “Meryl Streep cast as Perry’s mother in the second season of ‘Big Little Lies’”

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  1. Talie says:

    I was actually surprised by how much I liked Shailene in this since I’m not into her public persona at all. But after watching BLL, I could understand why she had been nominated for major awards in the past.

    • annabanana says:

      Me too! I was hesitant to watch it coz I really can’t stand watching her but was pleasantly surprised coz didn’t mind her at all even liked the character

    • LadyT says:

      I wasn’t able to separate the two myself. Every time she came on the screen I was like Ugh, Shailene Woodley. The irritation factor won out.

    • minx says:

      Same, she was surprisingly good. I resisted BLL for a long time but it really did live up to the hype.

    • Miss M says:

      I think shailene is a really good actress.
      I think I figured out what bothers me in her:
      Her voice.
      I think she could benefit from voice lessons.

      • PIa says:

        Guys did you see glammed up Shailene at the Valentino show with her athlete BF? I think the old Earth Mother Shai is dead…

    • Veronica says:

      I can’t stand Reese Witherspoon since her abuse of cops arresting her drunk driving husband, but she was terrific in this. I actually thought she was better than Kidman. I forgot how much I don’t like her.

  2. Jenns says:

    I’m not a Meryl Streep fan girl, but I **love** this casting. I can totally see her character being the “My son was a good boy” type.

  3. lightpurple says:

    I’m so excited!

  4. heh says:

    let the scene chewing commence

  5. minx says:

    I didn’t know they were doing a second season, great!

  6. Maya says:

    Don’t like Reese nor Laura so haven’t seen this show. Both women are fake as you can get.

    But if Alexander is there then I will try and give it a go.

    • minx says:

      I wasn’t a big fan of them, either, but they changed my mind with their performances.

    • A Croatian says:

      Same, but I watched it, and now Reese is one of my favourite people. I LOVE how ambitious she is and she gets stuff done, and I could see her in the character she played. Do yourself a favour, and watch it :)

      • minx says:

        Yes! I had the same reaction, I admired her tenacity as a producer. And her character was funny, irritating, endearing.

    • elimaeby says:

      It’s so good! I don’t really like any of the actors (besides Zoe Kravitz and Adam Scott), but I LOVE the show. You forget who they all are.

  7. sparrow2 says:

    Please let Lisa Bonet & Lenny Kravitz step in as Bonnie’s parents.

    • lightpurple says:

      And Stellan Skarsgard as Perry’s dad.

    • milla says:

      But the problem is they do not look like her parents. They look younger. I would love to see Lisa as some new character.

    • Brooke says:

      i dont think you want Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz to play Bonnie’s parents. if you read the book, Bonnie reacts to Perry’s abuse because her father was abusive. but maybe Lenny Kravitz could take that on

      • lucy2 says:

        Yeah, I was wondering if they’ll stay true to the book. If so, they need a good actor to do that.

  8. SM says:

    I loved the first season. And can’t wait for the second one hoping and praying it will be as good as the first one. Because we all remember what happened to True Detective after very highly evaluated first season. But since BLL doesn’t seem to have a massive self absorbed ego like Nic Pizzolatto, they should be fine. Yay for Alex coming back.

  9. Mia4s says:

    Whoa! Truly the old movies>>TV narrative is dead. We’ve been seeing it more and more recently, big stars joining subsequent seasons or HBO/Amazon/Netflix shows. New world; and I think it’s a good thing…


    Now that film stars can and will cross into TV (and get the money and awards that make it worth it) there is a certain level of actor that is getting pushed out. If Streep plays this role then the “TV actor” who would have played it gets bumped down a level and it trickles down until the level that gets bumped completely. That’s rough.

    • Neelyo says:

      That’s been going on for awhile now. It’s sad to see an actor who was once somewhat B or C level reduced to commercials and not even as a named spokesperson. Same thing with voice over actors. It’s no longer about the caliber of the voice, it’s the recognition factor.

    • Slowsnow says:

      I have a real problem with BLL and the reason why I disliked it so much I think lies not only with the writing but also with its wide eyed actresses who wouldn’t have stepped onto TV just half a year ago (I’m exaggerating) now seemingly inventing the female driven mini-series.
      It sounded opportunistic to me.
      TV has been a space of more equality for ages: see Weeds, Golden Girls, Bewitched, Girls, The Fall, In The Line of Duty, Xena, 6 Feet Under (although not female driven pretty much focused on the male and female characters equally, same with Mad Men, all about Peggy Olsen), Gilmore Girls, The Good Wife, just to name a few). And now they are getting all the prizes for a series that is not seriously better than most of the ones I quoted.
      And TV has great actors. I keep thinking about this: take any actor of Law & Order or any other series and they disappear under the characters. You don’t care who they are. They are just damn good. Whereas big names are usually not as good (with the exception of a few excellent actors such as DD Lewis, Fassbender, Viola Davis, and incredibly, Mary J. Blige for instance).
      You saw Liv Tyler in the amazing The Leftovers, Rob Lowe in parks and Rec without any fuss and suddenly it’s all about these actresses.
      I do admire their (Reese and Kidman’s) commitment to finding better roles and to speaking out about the women in the industry but it feels self-serving and celebrity worship to me.

      • Ytbtet says:

        Yeah Hollywood already had a problem of giving a hard time for actors to break out and people like Nicole Kidman just seem self serving for me. I couldn’t help but notice she didn’t mention women of color in her speech… I also thought that Nicole looks so plastic now that I don’t see any acting. Just Botox

      • Slowsnow says:

        Nicole grew on me as an actress (when I watched Rabitt Hole) but she does seem the next Meryl Streep. She is everywhere as if there were no other actresses and without botox.

      • BrandyAlexander says:

        I think they deserve all the recognition for getting this series made. From optioning the book, to selling HBO on it. And Nicole & Reese are both at an age where the movie roles are drying up for them, I have a lot of respect for Reese especially that she is taking it into her own hands to get quality, female driven projects releases, whether they are a vehicle for herself or not. And I read the book, it was never specified that Bonnie was a WOC. So kudos to them for casting Zoe Kravitz in that role, as well as expanding it from what it was in the book. I’m looking forward to season 2.

      • Slowsnow says:

        Kudos to them for having one WOC (who’s incredibly light toned and beautiful and not a great actress compared to tons of other WOC who do not have a lot of roles)?

      • BrandyAlexander says:

        @slowsnow I don’t think Zoe is a bad actress. As for her being light skinned and beautiful, I don’t think that should hurt her anymore than being dark skinned should. But I take your point overall, and concede that hollywood does need to work on that as well.

  10. Lucy says:

    I think this is a great casting choice, actually! Has Meryl ever done a tv series?

  11. Neelyo says:

    I loved it when it was A LIMITED MINISERIES and didn’t want a second season but now I’m definitely not watching. I’ve been sick of Meryl Streep for years.

    It’s like Hollywood can only have one lead actress over 50 at a time. Same thing with Katherine Hepburn. Sucks for every other talented actress in their generation.

  12. Jayna says:

    The director isn’t coming back, but Andrea Arnold, a British indie filmmaker, is going to be directing it. I loved the indie Fish Tank, shot for only $3 million. The lead was a non-actor they found I think at a bus station having an argument with her boyfriend, something like that. She was fantastic. Fassbander was great in it. I’m excited to see what Andrea does as a director for the miniseries.

    I’m not so excited about Meryl. I’m a massive fan of Meryl’s early and middle work. But in many of her movies in these later years I feel far too often she is overacting. I wish they had chosen someone else. I hope there is nuance to her character.

    • Slowsnow says:

      Oh my god. I hated BLL (sorry if I offend anyone because I get a lot of sh*t when I say this on this website) but I LOVED Fish Tank. Andrea Arnold is a great director. Oh boy. Am I going to be conflicted about this.

      Agreed about Meryl Streep. Am not psyched about this casting at all.

    • lucy2 says:

      That’s interesting about the director changing, I like the director of season 1 (he also did Wild which I really liked way more than I expected) but I’m excited a woman is directing. I wonder if they will keep the same cinematographer, because season 1 was beautifully filmed.

  13. Ashley says:

    I loved Renata/Laura Dern’s character so much. I wonder who will be Bonnies parents. I’d love Angela Bassett for her mom.

    • Imqrious2 says:

      Angela Bassett is doing a new show with Peter Krause called 9-1-1. She’s also the Exec. Producer on it. Doubt she’d have time, unless it gets cancelled.

    • lucy2 says:

      I ended up liking Renata and found her interesting, and I thought Dern did a great job with the character (don’t understand this article’s criticism).

      Angela Bassett should be in everything! She’s amazing.

      I can see Meryl as Perry’s mother, but it’s going to be a meaty role and I wish they’d given the opportunity to a lesser known but talented character actor , like they did with Robin Weigert for the therapist (she was stellar).

  14. L84Tea says:

    I’m still not understanding where the second season is coming from. The first season covered the entire book. There was no more story beyond that. So is season 2 a complete work of fiction??

    • Onerous says:

      Um… Season 1 was a complete work of fiction…

    • cr says:

      Liane Moriarity came up with a general story line. And according to Kidman it was Liane who wanted Streep.

    • Sonya says:

      Liane Moriarty wrote an outline for the season, but even if she didn’t, of course there’s so much more. You have someone dealing with the death or her husband, someone dealing with killing a man, kids dealing with their dead dad, their new sibling, etc etc etc. There are so many possible avenues.

  15. Lala says:

    I loved Shailene in “The Descendants”…so “BLL” reminded me why I adored seeing her on screen…and quite frankly…if you’re ABLE to get the opportunity to WORK with Meryl Streep…because SHE CHOOSE YOU…you work with her (I guess…though I would have LOVED to have seen Sally Fields in that role also)…I am STILL shocked at how much I LOVED the series…and the characters…

  16. Other Renee says:

    I get annoyed just looking at Meryl. Ever since she outed herself as a self-righteous hypocrite.

  17. serena says:

    Well, I hope all actresses will return for season 2. It would be a little meaningless without them, right? As we’ll see the aftermath of what they did and how they’re living it. Even though I didn’t outright loved Shailene’s character it had more dimension than Zoe’s kind of blank one.

    As for Meryl, I don’t mind. I hope the second season won’t disappoint me.

    • BrandyAlexander says:

      Bonnie was kind of a side note in the book. She barely had any presence until the end. So, the series actually did expand her a bit. But I’m looking forward to them really expanding her in season 2. You would think they would have to focus on her backstory since she was so instrumental to the end.

  18. homeslice says:

    Ugh. I’m over BLL. I enjoyed the series, it was good. I really can’t stand Reese, but I enjoyed her character. I am all for leaving a good thing alone. And lately, Meryl really rubs me the wrong way.
    Also, it anyone hasn’t read the book, it is way better IMO!

  19. xena says:

    This series really delievered more than I expected and I was so suprised how well Shailene Woodley did, because I first considered her the weak link. Meryl Streep? I don’t know, she might be able to convince me, but I am at this point just annoyed by her, so I am meh about her casting. Plus I want Shailene and Ziggy to be part of the sequel too.

  20. Dorky says:

    I’ve had Meryl Streep fatigue for YEARS now. I commented years ago on my FB page about how tired I am of her stupid face in every role of a woman over 50. There are PLENTY of other actresses – excellent actresses who don’t ham it up like Streep – who could have those roles. For instance, this role would be fantastically done by Annette Bening. I would really enjoy her in that.

    I’m so disappointed about this casting, because I was REALLY looking forward to seeing this second season, as I very much enjoyed every performance of each of the leads and secondaries in the first season. Now I will have to miss the second season since Streep’s going to be crapping it up. Oh, well.

  21. Mara says:

    Not a big fan of Meryl Streep. I don’t really have a problem with her as a person but I feel like the only person in the world who doesn’t rate her as an actor. She always seems to come across as ‘Meryl Streep playing XYZ’ on film (to me at least) rather than seemlessly disappearing into roles as other actors – but again that might just be me.

  22. Bug says:

    I wish Meryl Streep would just go away

  23. Samantha says:

    I loathe Streep and have done since Kramer vs Kramer, I think she is a woefully subpar actress who has gotten as far as she has due to hype and marketing, she is a terrible actress and is all pop culture hype. But, if this keeps her away from movies and Oscars, then I say go for it.