It’s been less than a week since Big Little Lies Season 2 finished its run and the story still isn’t over. On Wednesday, HBO Programming President Casey Bloys addressed the explosive allegations the network took creative control from Season 2 director Andrea Arnold. Bloys went on the record to talk about the allegations during the summer Television Critics Association tour.
Previously, Indiewire issued a report on July 12 detailing allegations from unnamed sources that HBO had been deceptive with Arnold about the amount of creative control she would have while filming Big Little Lies season 2. It was reported Arnold signed on believing she would have total creative control while HBO and showrunner David E. Kelley had planned ahead of time to limit her artistic influence on the series. Those claims also extended to season 1 director Jean-Marc Vallée, who sources alleged re-edited all of the footage Arnold had shot to turn them into episodes more in line with the creative style he’d established in past episodes.
As reported by Deadline, Bloys addressed the allegations head-on. When asked about them, Bloys told reporters,
There’s a lot of misinformation around that subject. To clarify a couple of things. There would not be a second season without Andrea. We’re indebted to her. She got an extraordinary performance out of the cast. As anyone who works in TV knows, the director doesn’t have final creative control. That creative control was taken from a director is a false premise.
He continued his explanation, indicating Arnold may have known specifically about the plans for Vallée to come on board and edit.
For Andrea to do her director’s cut, and then when they were turned over to the producing team. When they went to Jean-Marc, he is an editor and has a team of editors he works with. He’s particular as to who he works with.
Bloys’ statements uphold HBO’s previous statement released in the wake of the allegations: “There wouldn’t be a season two of Big Little Lies without Andrea Arnold. We at HBO and the producers are extremely proud of her work. As with any television project, the executive producers work collaboratively on the series and we think the final product speaks for itself.”
Outside of HBO’s statement, nobody named in the report — Arnold, Vallée, Kelley, etc. — has issued a statement to address the claims.