The deal has closed for Laura Dern to join the cast of HBO’s drama Big Little Lies. HBO had been in talks with Dern and Shailene Woodley. Woodley continues to be in negotiations with HBO and ultimately is expected to join the cast. Word had leaked out last week that both would be boarding the project, joining stars Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, along with Adam Scott in the David E. Kelley limited series.
Big Little Lies will be an adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s 2014 darkly comic novel about three mothers of kindergartners whose apparently perfect lives unravel to the point of murder. Dern will play Renata Klein, a powerful career woman and anti-bullying crusader who’s at the center of schoolyard politics on and off the playground. Scott is Ed Mackenzie, Madeline’s (Witherspoon) stable and loving husband whose approach is to play it safe.
The book was optioned by Kidman’s Blossom Films and Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard. The two actresses will exec produce with Kelley. Jean-Marc Vallée is set to direct multiple episodes.
Dern is working on two other drama projects with HBO. She has teamed with Witherspoon on Tiny Beautiful Things, a screen adaptation the book by Wild author Cheryl Strayed. The former Enlightened star also is executive producing a drama project from Bridesmaids co-writer Annie Mumolo. The untitled project, now in development, takes on the story of a pioneering American saleswoman largely responsible for the development of the home party system of marketing.