Meryl Streep Joined Big Little Lies Without Reading the Scripts

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Meryl Streep has not appeared on TV screens since Web Therapy in 2012. 

Many were surprised to learn the Oscar-winning actress had joined the cast of Big Little Lies Season 2.

Meryl Streep Attends Premiere

But Streep was so eager to join the cast of the HBO hit that she did so without reading any of the scripts. 

The actress is attached to appear opposite the likes of Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon as Mary Louise Wright, the mother of Perry (Alexander Skarsgard). 

Related: Get HBO via Prime Video Channels for Addictive Dramas, Hilarious Comedies & Hit Movies!

Streep has opened up about why she joined the series to The Hollywood Reporter

"[My agent] said, 'There's a part that they wrote with you in mind because they called her Mary Louise' — Mary Louise is my actual legal name," she said. 

Meryl Streep Smiles

"I said, 'Yeah, I'll do it.' He said, 'Don't you want to read it?' I said, 'No'. It was the greatest thing on TV. It really was, that first season."

Liane Moriarty, the book's author and executive producer, said in the same interview that writing a role with Streep in mind was the thing that made her get on board with the idea of a second season. 

She said that she called the Perry's mom Mary Louise as a "secret, hidden joke."

Mrs. Wright - Big Little Lies

"When I was sort of agonizing over whether or not I should do it, it was actually my sister who said to me, 'Only do it if it would be fun, and why not create a role for your favorite actor?'" Liane explained.

"And that's when I came up with this role for Meryl Streep, to be Perry's mother. And it was really from there that it all came together because you bring this new character in and the storylines just emerge." 

Related: It's Official! Big Little Lies Renewed for Season 2

"I don't know how she feels about the character being named Mary Louise, but it was wonderful getting Meryl. I would have been sad to have had someone else play her."

Meryl Streep On Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies Season 2 stars Reese Witherspoon as Madeline Martha Mackenzie, Kidman as Celeste Wright, Shailene Woodley as Jane, Laura Dern as Renata Klein, Zoë Kravitz as Bonnie Carlson, Meryl Streep as Mary Louise Wright. 

"On the surface, in the tranquil seaside town of Monterey, California, everything seems the same," reads the official logline for the new episodes. 

"The mothers continue to dote, the husbands support, the children remain adorable, and the houses are just as beautiful."

Acceptance in a Warm Embrace - Big Little Lies

"But the night of the school fundraiser changed all that, leaving the community reeling as the 'Monterey Five' -- Madeline, Celeste, Jane, Renata, and Bonnie -- bond together to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives."

What do you think about Streep taking on the role without reading a script? 

Hit the comments below. 

Big Little Lies returns Sunday, June 9 on HBO. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Big Little Lies Quotes

And bring me something chocolate that won't make my ass look fat.


Come meet my knight in shining armor. She rescued me like a wounded dog in the street. And you know what else? She's funny.