Nicole Kidman Is So Intense On Big Little Lies Season 2 That Meryl Streep Worried She Was Harming Herself

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
After winning basically every award for her portrayal of a mother, survivor, and friend in HBO's intoxicating series Big Little Lies, it's no surprise that Nicole Kidman just upped the ante for season 2 of the hit series. In fact, things got so intense on set that series newcomer Meryl Streep worried about Kidman's well-being and safety.
As Celeste, Kidman's character is at the center of the biggest — and bloodiest — drama in the quiet, luxurious California coastal city of Monterey. Her husband Perry Wright, played by Alexander Skarsgård, was an abusive, manipulative man who used his looks, charm, and wealth to trap his wife in a terrible relationship. Season one ended with his demise at the hands of the "Monterey Five" — Celeste (Kidman), Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Jane (Shailene Woodley), Renata (Laura Dern)m and Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz). Season 2 adds Streep as Mary Louise, Celeste's mother-in-law, a woman with bangs and a mission to find out what happened to her son.
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Speaking with Vanity Fair, Streep said that from the moment season 2 starts, Kidman's gives Celeste her all, and it freaked Streep out on her first day on set. "Right off the bat she did a scene where she had to do something really, really hard, like waking up out of nothing and going right into sort of a breakdown," Streep told the magazine. "She did it over and over and over again, to the point where I thought, Is she being harmed in this process? I scurried over to the director and I said, ‘Don’t you think you have it?’ I mean, I’ve done this before with other people, because I know what it takes to do that."
The details of the scene are unclear, but anyone who watched season one knows that Kidman is capable of a total gut punch. "She was O.K.," Streep added. "It’s just like she has a kind of a placid, very quiet reserve that sits on top of this titanic power."
Season 2 will pick up where the first left off, with fresh source material from Liane Moriarty, the author of the original Big Little Lies book. At the request of the network, and the show's eager stars, Moriarty wrote a brief 200-page sequel novella, which has never been published, and it's unclear if it ever will.
What we do know for certain, thanks to Streep, is that we need to emotionally prepare ourselves for possibly even the very first scene of season 2 of BLL, because Kidman is ready to bring it. "I’m far more raw and honest now, because before I used to be so scared," she told VF of the role. "So now I’m just like, ‘What the hell. Share, share ideas, share.’ And it’s not safe to do that sometimes, because you’re suddenly exposed. But at the same time it makes you feel closer to people."
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