Meryl Streep made her Big Little Lies debut on Sunday, and fans are singing her praises. The actress appeared in the first episode of Season 2, portraying Mary Louise Wright — the mother of the late Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgard).
Not long after Streep, 69, first appeared on screen early in the HBO premiere Twitter was flooded with reactions to her performance. During the episode a grief-stricken Mary Louise is on a quest to lend a helping hand to her daughter-in-law Celeste (Nicole Kidman), and get answers about the death of her son. With her brutal honesty, and cutting wit, the character quickly won audiences over.
Within moments on-screen, Mary Louise decimated Madeline, mocking her height and assassinating her character, and whipped her misbehaving twin grandsons into shape. She also expertly encapsulated the process of grieving, letting out a guttural shriek at the dinner table with her family.
mary louise: pic.twitter.com/fmOmr5319W— ᴍɪʟᴇ 🦋 (@thegayplxce) June 10, 2019
Fans aren't the only ones blown away by Streep's acting abilities. Before the episode aired, her co-stars gushed about her casting at a premiere event. Skarsgard, who plays her deceased son, joked in an interview with Variety that Streep was an "alright" choice for the role.
"I had casting approval and I said, 'Yeah, Meryl can play my mom. That's alright. She works. She'll do," he said.
Skarsgard didn't reveal whether he got the opportunity to act alongside Streep on the show, however. His character was killed in Season 1, and he declined to tell Variety whether he'd appear in Season 2 of Big Little Lies in flashbacks. He did make several appearances in the first episode via widow Celeste's nightmares and old memories, but didn't appear with Streep's character.
"I'm very excited for people to see it — the way she comes into the dynamic of the group and asking some hard questions. It creates a lot of tension and it's great drama," Skarsgard revealed.
Laura Dern, who plays Renata on the show, told Variety working with Streep was a dream come true. She said the feeling on set with the Devil Wears Prada star was "like you're a little girl dreaming of becoming an actor and working with Meryl Streep. That's where I dreamt as a child and it's a great extraordinary gift to have come true."
Dern said she learned some important lessons working with Streep on Big Little Lies Season 2, but one stood out above the rest.
"What an incredible teammate she is. Her goal is to make all the stories, even if she's not a part of those stories, resonate and remain honest and relatable — and that is a great lesson and reminder," she said.
Adam Scott, who plays Witherspoon's character's husband, said he was still in shock about Streep's casting. He recalled their first meeting, admitting that he was gobsmacked by Streep's presence. He got through it with a little help from Dern, who assured him it wasn't as bad as he thought.
"I still can't believe that I'm on a TV show that Meryl Streep is also on. That's still weird," he admitted. "The first time I met her was at the table read and she was so sweet and we chatted for just a second and she moved on to talk to someone else, and I was just sort of standing there, and immediately, Laura Dern came up to me and she was like, 'I saw the whole thing. You did very well.'"
"Everyone knows, as an actor, you're waiting your whole life to meet Meryl Streep, let alone work with Meryl Streep and be on a show with Meryl Streep," Scott continued. "It was as incredible as you would imagine."0comments
James Tupper, who plays Zoe Kravitz's beau, echoed Scott's sentiment. He told Variety meeting her "was like meeting the Queen of England."
Big Little Lies airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.