Meryl Streep was so keen on joining the cast of Big Little Lies that she signed up without even reading the script.
The 21-time Oscar-nominated actress joins Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz and Shailene Woodley for the eagerly-awaited second of the HBO drama series.
plays Mary Louise Wright, the grieving mother of Alexander Skarsgard‘s abusive character Perry.
However, in a bizarre set of circumstances, the character actually shares the same name as the Sophie’s Choice star.
“(My agent) said, ‘There’s a part that they wrote with you in mind because they called her Mary Louise’ – Mary Louise is my actual legal name,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.
“I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it’. He said, ‘Don’t you want to read it?’ I said, ‘No’. It was the greatest thing on TV. It really was, that first season,” Meryl shared.
Liane Moriarty, who penned the book and serves as executive producer on the show, admitted she wrote the role with Meryl in mind and said she called the character ‘Mary Louise’ as a “secret, hidden joke”.
“When I was sort of agonizing over whether or not I should do it, it was actually my sister who said to me, ‘Only do it if it would be fun, and why not create a role for your favorite actor?'” Liane explained.
She added: “I don’t know how she feels about the character being named Mary Louise, but it was wonderful getting Meryl. I would have been sad to have had someone else play her.”
Big Little Lies returns to HBO in the U.S. on June 9th and Sky Atlantic in the U.K. on June 10, 2019.