The Monterey Five meet a formidable foe in Season 2 of ‘Big Little Lies’

‘Big Little Lies’ – Why Meryl Streep signed on

Nicole Kidman (left) and Meryl Streep star in “Big Little Lies,” premiering its second season Sunday on HBO.

Lies fester and relationships are tested in the wake of Perry Wright’s death as HBO’s addictive drama “Big Little Lies” returns for Season 2 with one very notable new cast member in tow.

Kicking off Sunday, June 9, the new batch of seven episodes finds the Monterey Five – Celeste (Nicole Kidman), Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Jane (Shailene Woodley), Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz) and Renata (Laura Dern) – bonding together to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives after the “accident” that claimed the life of Celeste’s abusive husband (Alexander Skarsgard) at the school fundraiser in the Season 1 finale.

As the well-heeled ladies struggle with their consciences and worry about their secret being revealed, Perry’s formidable mother Mary Louise (played by three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep) arrives seeking the truth about her son’s demise, thus ratcheting up the tension and paranoia tenfold.

The David E. Kelley-created series scored a major coup when it landed Streep, who makes her first appearance as a series regular since HBO’s “Angels in America” in 2003. The actress admits she became sucked into the show’s storyline just like everyone else.

Meryl Streep stars in the second season of “Big Little Lies,” which gets underway Sunday on HBO.

“I loved this show. I was addicted to it,” Streep told a recent gathering of journalists in Pasadena, Calif. “I thought it was an amazing exercise in what we know and what we don’t know about people; about family, about friends, how it flirted with the mystery of things. What was unsaid, unshown, unknown was sort of the pull, the gravitational pull of the piece. And it was so exciting. So, when I got the chance to join the crew, I thought, Yeah! I wanted to do it, to be in that world. The world that was created was amazing.”

Originally conceived as a one-season-and-done project, the series got extended life thanks to viewer demand and the fact that the cast had become close friends and wanted to continue working together. And while there are no plans for a Season 3, Kidman – who is also an executive producer with Witherspoon – says the communication and collaborative effort on “Big Little Lies” make it one of her most satisfying work experiences to date.

“I think we’re all in it together and we deeply care,” she says. “Nobody is in it for the wrong reasons. … We want it to be a satisfying, fantastic experience for everyone. And with that comes enormous responsibility.  But I think for us … the way in which we work together, we’re just so honest with each other. …

“I just love having fellow partners and women who go, ‘This is …’ and they’re so smart, so everyone’s contributing. And being able to be a part of that group, I’ve never had that. And it’s lovely at this stage of my life and career to be doing something that I’ve never done before.”

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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