EXCLUSIVE: In what would be his television debut, Jean-Marc Vallee is in talks to direct the first episode and maybe more on Big Little Lies, HBO’s limited series adaptation of the Liane Moriarty novel that will star Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. The scripts were written by Emmy winner David E. Kelley, and the pending deal with Vallee continues its track as one of the highest-profile limited series packages to come together for HBO since True Detective and it got the same straight-to-series commitment.
As Deadline revealed back in summer, 2014, the book was optioned by Kidman and her Blossom Films production banner partner Per Saari, along with Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea and their Pacific Standard banner. They intended to fashion it as a smart screen vehicle for themselves and that has certainly turned out well.
Nathan Ross, who is Vallee’s producing partner, is joining the project as a producer. The novel is a subversive comedy that tells the tale of three mothers of kindergartners whose apparently perfect lives unravel to the point of murder.
Vallee continues to establish himself for getting high-water-mark performances out of actors. After Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto won Oscars for Dallas Buyers Club, he followed that up with the Witherspoon-starrer Wild (both Witherspoon and Laura Dern got Oscar nominations) and he most recently wrapped and premiered in Toronto the drama Demolition with Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper. Fox Searchlight will release that next spring. He is also attached to direct Amy Adams in the Janis Joplin pic Get It While You Can, but I’m hearing that he will do this early next year, first. Ross is Vallee’s manager and David Weber his attorney.