With the continued success of limited/anthology series in shows like Fargo and True Detective, the format is becoming increasingly appealing to networks who want to attract talented actors and directors, with the goal of gaining traction with an audience. HBO has applied the formula for many years now, dating back to shows like Band of Brothers and John Adams, and aims to add yet another one with the hope of similar results.
As we previously reported, HBO is adapting the 2014 book Big Little Lies into a miniseries set to star Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman. The two actresses will also serve as executive producers alongside David E. Kelley, who will tackle screenwriting duties.
Now, according to Deadline, HBO has announced that Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) will serve as director for the entire series, which consists of seven episodes. Vallée has previously worked with Witherspoon on Wild, which received critical praise and earned Witherspoon a Best Actress nomination at the Oscars. Of course, Vallée also directed Matthew McConaughey to a Best Actor win for his turn in Dallas Buyers Club, so he certainly knows how to get the best stuff out of his actors, which makes the inclusion of Vallée in Big Little Lies that much more enticing.
The format of the limited series enables more time to explore the story and delve into the characters than a feature film would allow. In fact, Witherspoon and Kidman initially optioned it as a film before reconsidering. They must see potential in the story, and with Vallée’s track record, that potential has certainly increased.
Speaking of the story, it is based on author Liane Moriarty’s dark comedy centered on three mothers with kindergarten-aged children whose “apparently perfect lives unravel to the point of murder.” The book received high praise when it came out in 2014, and with a team like this behind its adaptation, perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check it out.