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Trivia / Big Little Lies

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  • Actor Allusion:
  • Actor-Inspired Element: Adam Scott suggested the beard for his character.
  • All-Star Cast: Includes such A-listers as Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley. Also notable names like Alexander Skarsgård, Zoë Kravitz and Adam Scott.
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  • Approval of God: Liane Moriarty approved the addition of Madeline's affair in the adaptation.
  • Casting Gag:
    • In the book, Celeste's husband Perry is compared to Tom Cruise. In the miniseries, she's played by Nicole Kidman, who was married to Tom Cruise. Liane Moriarty even insisted on Nicole playing Celeste too.
    • Nicole also plays the wife of Alexander Skarsgård in an abusive relationship. She had done something similar in the film Dogville — where she starred alongside his father Stellan.
    • Laura Dern had played Shailene Woodley's loving mother in The Fault in Our Stars, and the two are good friends in real life. Here they play Renata and Jane respectively, who become rivals from the first episode.
    • For the second season, author Liane Moriarty wrote a new manuscript to be adapted into a screenplay. In order to fulfill her dream of successfully casting her favorite actress in an adaptation of one of her books, she named Meryl Streep's character Mary Louise — Streep's real name. Luckily, Streep had enjoyed the first season and happily signed on before reading any script.
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  • Creator Breakdown: Nicole Kidman says she suffered it when filming the scene where Perry throws Celeste across the room in her underwear. Later when she returned to her hotel room, she threw a rock through a glass door.
  • Dyeing for Your Art:
    • Shailene Woodley dyed her hair black and gained weight for her role as Jane.
    • Nicole Kidman told Alexander Skarsgård not to go easy on her during the domestic violence scenes — so that Celeste's bruises would be realistic.
  • Enforced Method Acting: The therapy sessions between Celeste and Perry were filmed without rehearsals to get a genuine feeling of tension and awkwardness from the actors.
  • Fake Nationality:
    • A rare aversion in an American production for Nicole Kidman, whose character Celeste is an Australian who's been in America for some time.
    • A minor example with Madeline, who is revealed to have Native American ancestry in the show (though not in the book). Reese Witherspoon, who portrays Madeline, is of mostly Irish, with traces of Scottish and Welsh, descent.
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  • Follow the Leader: Clearly following the trend of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train of stories taking place in seemingly perfect small towns, and the housewife protagonists having their dark secrets revealed.
  • Name's the Same: Nathan Carlson shouldn't be confused with the voice actor Nathan Carlson.
  • Playing Against Type:
  • Production Posse:
    • Laura Dern, Reese Witherspoon and director Jean-Marc Vallée had all worked on Wild together.
    • Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon both bought the rights to Truly Madly Guilty to collaborate again.
  • Reality Subtext: Celeste's status as a battered wife - Nicole Kidman is an ambassador for the UN, working to stop domestic violence.
  • Separated-at-Birth Casting: Reese Witherspoon and Kathryn Newton certainly look as if they could be mother and daughter.
  • Those Two Actors: Shailene Woodley has starred with Zoë Kravitz in all the Divergent films and with Laura Dern in The Fault in Our Stars.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Jean-Marc Vallée was initially going to direct just two episodes, but he remained on for the remainder of production. The miniseries was shot all in one go like a feature film.
    • Liane Moriarty suggested Australian actress Rose Byrne for the role of Jane. She ended up played by Shailene Woodley.
    • Eight episodes were planned, but in the writing process David E Kelly felt that only seven were needed. HBO agreed.
    • The trivia night scene was only scheduled for five days of night shoots, but ballooned to about two weeks by the end.
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