Meryl Streep has joined the cast of Big Little Lies. The legendary actress will be playing Mary Louise, a woman who comes looking for answers after the death of her son Perry Wright. Read on for spoilers about Streep’s character and how she impacts the narrative of season two.
Mary Louise’s quest to uncover the truth about her son’s death is driven by her concern for her grandchildren. According to the New York Post, Streep donned a wig and prosthetic teeth to play the suspicious grandmother, and immediately sets about disrupting the lives of the other characters. She asks Jane (Shailene Woodley) whether her young son, Ziggy (Iain Armitage), would submit to a paternity test. She also goes after the local police chief (Merrin Dungey), asking her: “You don’t believe my son just slipped, do you?”
Mary Louise Wright Comes Into Town to Investigate Her Son’s Death
Based on sneak peeks and production photos, however, it appears that Mary Louise has the most friction with Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) and Celeste (Nicole Kidman. She tells Madeline that she’s “short” the first time they meet, and a photo of Madeline about to throw an ice cream cone at the back of her head went viral in August. New York Post also reports that Mary Louise hovers outside of Celeste’s house at night, hoping to catch a glimpse of proof that she is an unfit mother.
Streep told Us Weekly that she accepted the part of Mary Louise without even reading a script. “[My agent] said, ‘There’s a part that they wrote with you in mind because they called her Mary Louise. … I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it,’” she revealed. “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.” Streep was the only actress that author Liane Moriarty wanted, and she named the character Mary Louise as a nod to the actress’ own life. “Mary Louise is actually my legal name,” she said.
She Wants to Take Celeste’s Children Away from Her
The rest of the cast was enthusiastic to act opposite Streep. Alexander Skarsgard, who plays her son Perry, told Variety that the actress shakes things up in the best possible way. “I’m very excited for people to see it — the way she comes into the dynamic of the group and asking some hard questions,” he said. “It creates a lot of tension and it’s great drama.”
Laura Dern, who plays Renata, said that playing scenes with Streep was a dream come true.”[It’s] like you’re a little girl dreaming of becoming an actor and working with Meryl Streep. That’s where I dreamt as a child and it’s a great extraordinary gift to have come true,” she explained. “What an incredible teammate she is. Her goal is to make all the stories, even if she’s not a part of those stories, resonate and remain honest and relatable — and that is a great lesson and reminder.”