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Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon Continue Their TV Reign

Two of the stars of ‘Big Little Lies’ have landed intense new projects.
Big Little Lies Nicole Kidman Reese Witherspoon
By  · Published on March 13th, 2018

Two of the stars of ‘Big Little Lies’ have landed intense new projects.

Almost everyone has seen Big Little Lies at this point, or at least heard of it. The show proved to be the perfect TV project for many movie greats, including Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. Prior to Big Little Lies, Kidman’s serial work spanned Australian fare and Witherspoon had yet to fully commit to the small screen, be it in a producing or starring capacity. Now, both actresses have put down strong roots in television and are branching out.

Deadline reports that Kidman is set to star into another book adaptation for HBO from Big Little Lies creator and scribe David E. Kelley. The series, titled The Undoing, will be based on Jean Hanff Korelitz’s novel “You Should Have Known.” Kidman will play the role of Grace Sachs, a successful therapist who is about to publish her first book. Grace’s home life is seemingly picture perfect too; she, her husband, and their young son are amongst the New York elite. But Grace’s life begins to unravel when, weeks before her debut hits shelves, she encounters “a violent death, a missing husband, and in the place of a man [she] thought she knew, only a chain of terrible revelations.” Grace then has to take her son and rebuild a life amidst public disaster.

The Undoing and Big Little Lies are both mystery stories and certainly have a flair for the dramatic. The Undoing sounds like it could have found a home on the big screen in a similar vein to Tate Taylor’s The Girl on the Train — the search for the next Gone Girl is seemingly never-ending, after all. But the serial format of The Undoing would flesh out the nuances of its complicated story more proficiently. Considering the praise heaped on Big Little Lies and the number of Best Limited Series trophies the show took home this past awards season, it would seem that Kidman and Kelley are a winning TV team.

Meanwhile, Witherspoon is set to produce yet another show, according to Deadline. She has been a driving force for women-led projects for months, and a new Hulu series just adds to her impressive list of upcoming commitments.

Little Fires Everywhere will be a limited series starring Witherspoon and Scandal‘s Kerry Washington. They will both also serve as executive producers, while Liz Tigelaar (Casual) will take on writing duties on the show. Adapted from Celeste Ng’s bestselling book, Little Fires Everywhere was first announced earlier in March. Unsurprisingly, given the talent on board, it was quickly picked up for a straight-to-series order by Hulu.

Little Fires Everywhere will also operate within the mystery and drama genres: the story centers on the “picture-perfect” Richardson family, whose lives get turned upside down by the arrival of a mother-daughter duo, the Warrens, who rent a house from them. The Warrens’ enigmatic nature draw the Richardsons in. However, their subsequent rollercoaster of a relationship proves to have disastrous consequences when the mothers go against each other. This sounds very much like Big Little Lies as well, wherein parenthood — especially motherhood and the desire to protect children — is paramount to the dramatic elements and tension of the narrative. This isn’t a negative comparison by any stretch as long as the final product comes out as polished and riveting.

Witherspoon and Washington have a bunch of television projects lined up at multiple companies; deals have been made with Apple, ABC, and now Hulu. They aren’t going away anytime soon, and neither is Kidman, who will feature in three films slated for a 2018 release (Boy Erased, Aquaman and Destroyer). Ultimately, these women have managed to select stories that are equal parts intense and relevant, and we’re more than happy to have them dominate TV screens everywhere.

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)