4:15pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Laura Dern Boards HBO's Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman Drama
HBO's Big Little Lies continues to add to its impressive cast.
Enlightened alum Laura Dern is returning to the premium cable network with a co-starring role in the upcoming limited series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The casting also marks a Wild reunion for Dern with star/executive producer Reese Witherspoon.
Big Little Lies on three mothers (Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley) of kindergartners whose apparently perfect lives unravel to the point of murder. Dern will take on the role of Renata Klein, a powerful career woman and anti-bullying crusader who is at the center of schoolyard politics on and off the playground. Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) also co-stars as Witherspoon's husband.
Based on Liane Moriarty's book of the same name, which was published in July, the comedic drama hails from David E. Kelley (Boston Legal, Ally McBeal), who is penning the limited series. HBO landed the project in May following a bidding war with Netflix.
Kidman and her Blossom Films banner, as well as Witherspoon and her Pacific Standard shingle, optioned the rights to the twisty thriller/soap and New York Times' No. 1 best-seller as a potential feature film before refocusing the drama for television. Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club) will direct multiple episodes of the series, reuniting with Dern as well.
Kelley, who most recently served as showrunner on CBS' Robin Williams-Sarah Michelle Gellar comedy The Crazy Ones, is attached via his David E. Kelley Productions banner. Exec producers include Kelley, Witherspoon and Pacific Standard's Bruna Papandrea and Kidman and Blossom Films' Per Saari. Australian novelist Moriarty will serve as a producer on Big Little Lies. She previously penned best-sellers What Alice Forgot, Three Wishes, The Hypnotist's Love Story and The Husband's Secret.
For Dern, the casting brings her back into the HBO fold following her starring role on critical darling Enlightened, which was canceled after two seasons. The actress-producer is also teaming with Bridesmaids' Annie Mumolo for an untitled saleswoman drama in the works at the premium cable network. Additionally, Dern and Witherspoon are teaming with Wild author Cheryl Strayed for Tiny Beautiful Things, which is also in development at HBO.
Dern is repped by CAA, Untitled and Gang Tyre.