'Big Little Lies' Creator David E. Kelley on the Show's "Difficult Subject Matter" | Drama Showrunner Roundtable
"You want to make sure that you treated it responsibly," said Kelley on the show's domestic violence scenes.
"The writing [about domestic abuse on Big Little Lies] was upsetting and disturbing," writer David E. Kelly told The Hollywood Reporter during the Drama Showrunner Roundtable. "It took a toll on [Nicole Kidman], and it does for the writer as well. You don't live in that and then go whistling home to pick up your Starbucks."
"But once you've surfaced from the world and the scene itself, you put your producer hat on and ask your confidants for opinions, because you want to make sure that you've treated it responsibly."
Kelley spoke to the finale episode, and the choice to remove Bonnie's (played by Zoe Kravitz) backstory from the script, which was included in the original novel. "Filmically, we wanted to go out without dialogue. I think the last 10 minutes or so of the series, no one was saying anything. We were doing it all with the camera, and there's only so much you could do with the camera. We couldn't fill in the backstory of the character you're talking about," said Kelley.
"We ultimately all felt we didn't really need it. The pieces were there. The character, the actress playing the character knew her backstory, and as long as we were truthful to it, we could honor the book without being maybe, per se, faithful to the page."
More roundtables featuring comedy and drama actresses, actors, showrunners and reality creators will continue through July in print and online. Tune in to new episodes of Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter starting May 25 on Sundance TV, and look for clips at THR.com/topic/roundtables with full episodes on THR.com after broadcast.