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Trivia / Big Little Lies

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  • 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 with notable names like Alexander Skarsgård, Zoë Kravitz, and Adam Scott rounding out the supporting cast. Season Two sees the addition of Meryl Streep.
  • Approval of God: Liane Moriarty approved the addition of Madeline's affair in the adaptation.
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  • California Doubling: Despite the Monterey setting, only Celeste and Perry's house is actually there. The other exteriors were filmed in Malibu, Pasadena and Calabasas.
  • 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.
    • Alexander Skarsgaard had room with a friend during the shoot rather than stay in a hotel - as he had trouble shaking Perry off and didn't want to go home alone after playing an abuser.
  • Creator Couple: Larry Sullivan and David Monahan are married in real life.
  • The Danza: Meryl Streep plays Mary Louise, which is her birth name. Liane Moriarty even named the character after her.
  • Dyeing for Your Art:
    • Shailene Woodley dyed her hair black and gained weight for her role as Jane.
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    • Nicole Kidman told Alexander Skarsgård not to go easy on her during the domestic violence scenes — so that Celeste's bruises would be realistic. Averted for Celeste's hair though; she wore a wig.
  • 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.
  • Executive Meddling: HBO, Kelley, and Vallée made sure to keep season 2 to be much like the first, Andrea Arnold’s original vision be damned.
  • 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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    • Bonnie is from a mixed marriage (black mother, white father). Both of Zoë Kravitz's parents are from mixed black/white marriages.
    • Swedish Alexander Skarsgård playing American Perry.
  • 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.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Virtually most of the cast and crew said that the series was fine with one season and didn't need to be continued. However, once it won lots of awards, HBO immediately renewed it and enticed people back with higher salaries; Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon's went from $350,000 and $250,000 per episode respectively to $1 million (and that's not including the additional money they make as producers). Zoe Kravitz likewise reportedly got an 800% pay rise for the second season ($3 million).
  • Name's the Same:
    • Nathan Carlson shouldn't be confused with the voice actor Nathan Carlson.
    • Perry's last name is changed from White to Wright in the series, because Perry White is also the name of the Daily Planet's editor.
  • 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.
  • Throw It In: A lot of Renata's wisecracks are improvised by Laura Dern. The famous "I SAID THANK YOOOOOUUUUU...!!!" moment was planned between her and Valee to prank everyone on set.
  • Troubled Production:
    • For the second season, Andrea Arnold was hired to direct. The creators believed that her visual style would not be too different from what Jean-Marc Vallée had established in the first season. She was also required to consult David Kelley if she wanted to change any scenes, but believed she had a free hand for the show's look.
    • With two episodes left to film, however, Kelley and the other creators apparently grew concerned that the show was looking very different from what they had expected it would, and apparently decided to take the show's editing away from Arnold (or, depending on who you talk to, implemented a plan they had made before production even started).
    • For this they brought back Vallée, which apparently required two and a half weeks of reshoots. This may account for the complaints that the second season was choppy and uneven, with some scenes contrived in order to facilitate key plot developmentsnote . And rumor has it this was where Bonnie's death, Fauxshadowed all season, was written out in favor of an ending that leaves open the possibility of a third season.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The adaptation was first developed as a feature film, before getting turned into a miniseries.
    • 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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