Two of film's biggest names, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, have come together on screen to champion female empowerment in HBO's "Big Little Lies." The Oscar-winning actresses both star in and executive-produce the seven-part limited TV series, based on the 2014 novel of the same name, after seeing the opportunity to put diverse women on the screen.
"Australians and Americans can work together!" joked HBO programming president Casey Bloys when introducing Big Little Lies at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on Tuesday night.
Joining him at the front of the packed theater was the show's creator David Kelley, director Jean-Marc Vallee, Australian native and the author of the book by the same name Liane Moriarty, fellow Australian and executive producer Bruna Papandera and the show's stars and executive producers Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon.
"This is a premiere for a TV series? For feature films we don't even have a premiere this big," said Vallee. While introducing the show he called for all of the "big little liars" and cast members Zoe Kravitz, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern in the audience to stand up.
As for what Woodley hopes viewers take away from the series, the actress told The Hollywood Reporter, "Not everyone can relate to living in Monterey, California, a super white, super privileged area, but everyone can relate to being a mother or having been mothered or being in a relationship. Whether those relationships are between their children, or their lovers, infidelity, monogamy, all of these are issues we relate to."
Added Kidman, "Artistically I think you put art out into the world and sometimes it's divisive, sometimes it's embraced, sometimes people cry, people laugh. When I was working with Stanley Kubrick he would say, "You never tell the audience what to feel. Let them choose to have their responses."
As for Papandrea she hopes the series reaches an audience beyond just a female demographic, "The most important thing for me is that it doesn't get defined as a show just for women. My husband loved it. The men I've shown it to, love it. The problem that women face a lot is if it has women in the center it gets targeted as just for women. I hope when people talk about it they'll realize it's not just a show for women."