Shailene Woodley is returning to the small screen.
The Divergent star is joining HBO limited series Big Little Lies, Nicole Kidman announced at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit. Sources tell THR that Woodley’s deal is near finalized; it is expected to close next week. HBO did not confirm.
Based on Liane Moriarty’s book of the same name, the drama hails from David E. Kelley (Boston Legal, Ally McBeal) who is writing the limited series. HBO landed the project in May following a bidding war with Netflix.
Starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies centers on three mothers of kindergartners whose seemingly perfect lives unravel to the point of murder. Woodley will take on the role of Jane, a single mother, and one of three leads opposite Witherspoon and Kidman.
Kidman and her Blossom Films banner, as well as Withersppon and her Pacific Standard shingle, optioned the rights to the twisty thriller/soap and No. 1 New York Times best-seller, which was published in July, as a potential feature film before refocusing the drama for television.
Kelley, who most recently served as showrunner on CBS’ Robin Williams-Sarah Michelle Gellar comedy The Crazy Ones, is attached to pen the series via his David E. Kelley Productions banner. Kidman and Witherspoon will both exec produce alongside Kelley, who currently is exploring the marketplace free of a studio-based overall deal.
Exec producers include Kelley, Witherspoon and Pacific Standard’s Bruna Papandrea, 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 Woodley, Big Little Lies marks the actress’ return to television following her breakout five-season role in ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager. On the big screen, Woodley’s credits include her starring role as Tris in Veronica Roth’s Divergent franchise, The Descendants and the upcoming Snowden feature due next year. She’s repped by UTA, Principato Young and Felker Toczek.
Big Little Lies marks the largest TV role for Woodley, Kidman and Witherspoon to date. The drama comes as A-list talent have been flocking to TV as limited fare serves as a way to take on different material with a reduced time commitment while still juggling feature films. Broadcast and cable networks have found both ratings and awards season cachet with limited fare/anthologies including HBO’s True Detective as well as FX’s Fargo, among others.
Nicole Kidman confirming Shailene Woodley for Big Little Lies at the HT Leadership Summit. pic.twitter.com/BUpIX0lQrG
— Lauren (@lfakier) December 5, 2015