big little lies

Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman Insist There Was Zero Big Little Lies Directing Drama

Photo: Jennifer Clasen/HBO

Earlier this month, a bombshell report emerged from numerous Big Little Lies sources that claimed Andrea Arnold, who took over the show’s directing duties from Jean-Marc Vallée in the second season, was taken away creative control by Vallée and his team of editors and producers as the season progressed. Per the IndieWire report, Arnold was left “devastated” by this unexpected power shift, especially as Vallée (who remained on board as an executive producer) was given free reign during the postproduction process to edit all of Arnold’s work. Now, BLL’s fellow executive producers and stars, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, are insisting these reports are without merit. In a new interview with EW, the women said they stand by the statement previously made by HBO executive Casey Bloys, which quotes him as saying the rumors were “false.”

“In our minds, there is no controversy. We just love the show. We had such a great time doing it,” Witherspoon explained. “There was a lot of misinformation and no credited sources on any of the information. This was an incredibly collaborative process for all of us and the idea that anyone was mistreated and not communicated with is completely not true. I was glad that Casey spoke so clearly about that and we are thrilled with the collaboration that yielded this season. It could have never been this show had it not been with these particular artists collaborating on this particular material.” Kidman added about Bloys:

He said it beautifully. That’s why we had Casey handle it. Obviously, he’s the head of HBO. He really said it beautifully.

In addition to rebuking the reports, Bloys said that HBO was clear with Arnold about the season’s expectations and chains of command. “As anybody who works in television knows, the director typically doesn’t have final creative control,” Bloys explained. “So the idea that creative control was taken from a director is just a false premise. For anyone who understands television, this is business as usual.” As for Witherspoon and Kidman, they’re already teasing us with the prospect of a third BLL season. “We will decide as a group,” Kidman said. “It’s a collaboration. We work as a group.”

Kidman, Witherspoon Insist There Was No BLL Directing Drama