Alexander Skarsgård said that the therapy sessions between Perry and Celeste were filmed without rehearsal, and he appreciated that since according he and Nicole Kidman had genuine tension and awkwardness having to read the other's emotions in the scene.
Bruna Papandrea is Reese Witherspoon's producing partner and a childhood friend of Nicole Kidman. She got the two united over the project. After she approached Kidman about the novel, Kidman read the book overnight, and later went to Australia to sit down with author Liane Moriarty to obtain the rights to the book. She received it 48 hours later.
Filming of the first season took five months. The crew shot four pages a day, just like a feature. Director Jean-Marc Vallée treated "Big Little Lies" as if it were a theatrical movie, breaking the five-month shoot down into two chunks and shooting for 88 days.
Reese Witherspoon personally approached her former collaborator Jean-Marc Vallée to offer him the project, when it was only a stand-alone mini-series. By the time she called him, the production was rushing towards a start date, without a director attached. He jumped on board in order to direct only two episodes, but finally directed the entire first season, and approached it as one long movie.
Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman also both serve as producers of the show. They acquired the rights for the book adaptation in a collaboration between their own respective film companies Pacific Standard and Blossom Films.
Originally envisioned as a feature film, but then turned into a mini-series. Following the critical acclaim, award success, HBO's desire to appeal to a female audience and the cast's desire to work together again, a sequel was rumored for months, before being officially announced in December 2017. Author of the original novel, Liane Moriaty, wrote the outline for the new story and David E. Kelley adapted into a screenplay.
The soundtrack went #1 on iTunes' Soundtrack Chart and #2 on the Top Albums U.S. iTunes Chart. In June 2017, the soundtrack was officially released on CD, followed by a double Vinyl release in July the same year. The latter features new songs, including one by the director of the series, Jean-Marc Vallée. The soundtrack also features cast member Zoë Kravitz's first official single, a rendition of Elvis' "Don't".
Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon will each earn $1 million an episode for the sequel series. That's a significant bump from the reported range of $250,000 to $350,000 the pair made per episode during season one. Keep in mind, that's just for their acting duties, and does not include the money the pair makes as producers.
In the source novel, Perry (Alexander Skarsgård), Celeste's husband, is described as physically resembling Tom Cruise: "Women always took to Perry. It was that Tom Cruise, white-toothed smile and the way he gave them his full attention" (p. 81). In this adaptation, Celeste is played by Nicole Kidman, who was married to Tom Cruise from 1990 to 2001.
Of all the houses the lead characters reside in, only Celeste and Perry's seaside mansion is actually located in the Monterey Peninsula. The rest of the locations are in Malibu, Calabasas and Pasadena. Nearly all the interiors were shot on sound stages in Los Angeles.
"Avenue Q," the theatrical production that Madeline is working on (and trying to advocate for in the face of community objections) is a real musical, and, as described in the show, really performed with puppets. The real "Avenue Q" had a very successful Broadway run (from 2003 to 2009) and won the so-called "Triple Crown" of Tony Awards (Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score) in 2004. The New York production moved to the off-Broadway New World Stages in 2009, where (as of August 2017) it has been running ever since. Although the show contains puppets, it was never intended for children, so given all the awards, critical acclaim, and financial success garnered by the musical over the years, in the context of "Big Little Lies," Renata's objections are meant to be seen as baseless and vindictive.
During a March 2017 Vulture interview with Darby Camp (the child actress who played Chloe Mackenzie), Camp said that Nicole Kidman (Celeste) would play with the child actors between takes, and she once let them crawl onto her lap and play with the wig she wore for her role. Source: "Big Little Lies' Darby Camp on Playing a 'Sassy' Character and Getting Acting Tips From Reese Witherspoon" by Jen Chaney, March 28, 2017, Vulture .com
Alexander Skarsgard said that he always checked in with Nicole Kidman after filming their abusive scenes, to make sure she was okay. He further stated that he roomed with a friend during the shoot rather than staying in a hotel, so he wouldnt have to come home alone. In this way, he had an easier time shaking off the role of Perry after work.
Nicole Kidman said that she was so emotionally devastated by the scene in which Celeste is beaten by Perry in the bathroom in her underwear, she was genuinely unable to get up off the floor after the scene was over. Later that day when she returned to her hotel room she suffered a meltdown and threw a rock through a glass door.
Nicole Kidman's character is a victim of domestic violence. In real life, Kidman serves as a the spokesperson to "UN Women's Say NO-UNiTE to End Violence against Women initiative", a global advocacy effort that has galvanized millions around the issue. Kidman has traveled to countries where UN Women works to end violence against women to amplify the voices of women survivors heard through the media and has helped to raise funds for programs that address violence against women.
The climactic sequence of Otter Bay's trivia night was a grueling two weeks of night shoots for the cast, originally scheduled for five days. Reese Witherspoon said she suffered a meltdown on-set after her major confession scene was abruptly rescheduled for the next night. Alexander Skarsgård added that he was exhausted by the time it came to film Perry's final scene.
When Celeste is putting together her escape apartment after Perry has abused her, there is an IKEA instruction on the couch table for a bunk bed called SVÄRTA. In Swedish, one of the meanings of the word is 'to defile'.