The long rumored second installment of HBO’s Emmy-winning limited series Big Little Lies has been officially greenlighted with a seven-episode order, matching the length of the first season. As expected, back for the followup are stars/executive producers Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon as well as writer David E. Kelley who again is penning all seven scripts partially based on a story by Liane Moriarty, author of the Big Little Lies book that the original mini was based on.

American Honey helmer Andrea Arnold has been tapped to direct all seven episodes, stepping in for Emmy-winning Season 1 director Jean-Marc Vallée, who will remain an executive producer.

Most of the original cast, which included Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgard and Laura Dern, are expected to return, and negotiations are underway.

Per HBO, the subversive, darkly comedic drama Big Little Lies will explore the malignancy of lies, the durability of friendships, the fragility of marriage and, of course, the vicious ferocity of sound parenting. Relationships will fray, loyalties will erode…the potential for emotional and bodily injury shall loom.

“I’m excited to announce the return of Big Little Lies,” said Casey Bloys, president, HBO programming. “David Kelley wrote beautiful scripts and Reese and Nicole were, once again, a force to be reckoned with, reuniting the cast and recruiting the talented Andrea Arnold to direct. We look forward to working with this amazing group of artists.”

Executive producing are Kidman and Per Saari through Blossom Films, Witherspoon through Hello Sunshine, Kelley via David E. Kelley Prods., Bruna Papandrea, Vallée, Nathan Ross, Gregg Fienberg and Arnold. Moriarty is a producer.

 

HBO

“I’m thrilled to be bringing back this talented team of artists,” said Reese Witherspoon. “It gives us the opportunity to delve deeper into the lives of these intriguing and intricate Monterey families and bring more of their stories back to the audience who embraced and championed them.”

Added Kidman, “This is inspired by the overwhelming response by audiences around the world, conceived once again by Liane Moriarty, realized by David Kelley and now in the hands of visionary filmmaker Andrea Arnold. What a journey this has been.”

No production start date has been announced but a spring 2018 filming kickoff had been eyed, before Witherspoon segues to her newly announced morning show drama series for Apple.

Big Little Lies Emmys
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The drumbeat for a second season of Big Little Lies had been growing since the first installment of the adaptation of Moriarty’s novel cleaned up a the Emmys, winning eight in all including Best Limited Series (Witherspoon earned a statuette as an executive producer) and Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for star/exec producer Nicole Kidman.

Moriarty, Witherspoon, Kidman and Vallée all hinted backstage at the Emmys that a Season 2 was a strong possibility. The main obstacle had been the lack of source material as the novel was a one-off. But sources at the time said that Moriarty — who had acknowledged she had been approached by HBO and the producers about a second season — had written a short novella that picked up the story and envisioned what happens next with the main characters.

Based on that Kelley, who adapted Big Little Lies, came on board for the followup. As for Vallée, who won an Emmy for BLL, between BLL and HBO’s upcoming series Sharp Objects, which he is still working on, he has done two big TV shows back-to-back. Segueing to another installment BLL would have been taxing also wouldn’t have worked for him schedule-wise.

British director Arnold has helmed features American Honey and Wuthering Heights. She most recently collaborated with Jill Soloway as director on her Amazon series Transparent and I Love Dick. She won a Best Short Film, Live Action Oscar in 2005 for Wasp.