VULTURE – The stars have aligned, and season two of Big Little Lies is finally here. After Sunday night’s premiere, Shailene Woodley, a student of astrology, explained that she actually considers the stars in how she approaches her characters. In a conversation at 92nd Street Y on Monday night, Woodley told the audience that ever since she started studying astrology a few years ago, she builds an entire star chart for her characters, including Monterey’s favorite newcomer and secret keeper, Jane Chapman. “It really helps me understand their psychology. I’m like, Oh, that’s why she’s so shy,” she said.
So what’s on Jane’s chart? Taurus with a touch of Sagittarius and Aquarius. “I really see her sun sign as a Taurus,” said Woodley, “but then having some Sag in there somewhere. I think she can be really funny. I think she’s got some Aquarius in there as well because I think the way she sees the world and its possibilities is a little different. The biggest thing for her that is interesting in building a chart is that she — because of the trauma that she had and the trauma that she still has, it changes the way that those things are fired off.”
Woodley laughed off any haters to her process. “I love it so much. It’s such a woo-woo thing,” she says. “Sometimes people think it is, but I think it’s actually really cool.” Woodley says that she had her own chart read when she was in a major moment of depression. “I was like, ‘You, witch lady, are not teaching me anything,’” she says, “and she knew me better than anyone, and it really freaked me out. But to me, astrology just gives you permission to be yourself without judgment. That’s what I’ve been able to help build my characters from.”
But did the stars reveal anything about Jane’s new hairdo? Woodley says she actually suggested Jane get bangs in season two. “After what happens in season one, I sort of felt like Jane had this cataclysmic release,” says Woodley. “I feel like for myself when something extreme happens, I’ll get a piercing or I’ll cut my hair or I’ll do some weird body-morphing thing. It’s a way to mark my new territory of self within my own psyche. I felt like for her, it was a way to redefine her identity as her own identity separate from the event that occurred in season one.”
Woodley says she couldn’t dye her hair because of a project she was doing after BLL, “so I was like, ‘What if we give her bangs?’ because it’s dramatic.
It’s a big change, and also something that when you have these breakup haircuts sometimes you look in the mirror two weeks later and you’re like, What the fuck did I do with my hair? I wanted to do something where in a couple of weeks she could have had the opportunity to be like, That was dumb, but glad I have these bangs now. Cool.”
DEADLINE – The Shailene Woodley serial killer thriller Misanthrope has presold around the world for FilmNation here in Cannes following a buyer presentation that included the Big Little Lies actress and director Damian Szifron (Wild Tales).
Woodley will star as a talented but troubled cop recruited by the FBI to help profile and track a murderer. Szifron has scripted with Jonathan Wakeham, with additional casting underway and filming due to take place in Atlanta later this year.
Deals have closed with France (Metropolitan), Germany (Tobis), Italy (BIM), Spain (Vertigo), Eastern Europe (Vertical), CIS (Volga), Benelux (via the company’s output deal with The Searchers), Greece (Feelgood), Iceland (Sam Films), Israel (Lev), Middle East (Italia), Portugal (Nos), Switzerland (Pathé) and Latam (Sun).
Terrence Malick’s ‘A Hidden Life’ Snapped Up By Fox Searchlight In 8-Figure Deal After Late-Night Bidding War – Cannes
Also closed were Hong Kong (Edko), India (PVR), Indonesia (PT Prima), Japan (Gaga), Philippines (Pioneer), Singapore (Shaw), South Korea and Thailand (Joyncinema), Taiwan (Moviecloud), Vietnam (Blue Lantern), Pan Asia Pay TV (Fox Networks Group), Australia/NZ (Roadshow, also via an output) and South Africa (Empire). UK is under negotiation.
FilmNation once again rode high on the Croisette and for a second successive year had three movies pitch sellouts in the shape of Down Under Cover, sold to Paramount for the world; Mincemeat, which sold to Warner Bros for a handful of markets and to indies in others; and Misanthrope, which went the indie route.
In 2018, the company saw excellent business on 355, Ironbark and this year’s well-received Cannes competition drama Pain and Glory.
We have updated the gallery with Shailene’s various appearances throughout this year’s edition of the Cannes Film Festival. The festival also marked some great news for her upcoming role in Misanthrope, which received a worldwide distribution deal with FilmNation as a result of its presentation earlier in the week. We still don’t know a lot about the film, but it promises to be a complete departure from anything Shailene has done before.
VOGUE – Fresh off the news that our favorite show, Big Little Lies, will be returning for a second season, it crushed the Golden Globes announcements Monday morning. It scored six nominations, dominating the television categories, part of a whopping 12 that went to HBO. Netflix followed with nine nominations, and FX trailed with eight. It looks like the addictive formula established by BLL—female friendship plus gorgeous houses, a costume party, PTA meetings, a great soundtrack, and a dash of murder—worked on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, too. We get it, obviously. And we can’t wait to see Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman go head-to-head for best actress in a limited series: Imagine the backstage Instagrams!
Elsewhere in the Globes TV nominations, the drama category looked largely the same, with four returning contenders from last year: The Crown, 2017’s winner; Game of Thrones; Stranger Things; and This Is Us. Only newcomer The Handmaid’s Tale shook things up and dragged the category into political territory. In comedy, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Master of None, SMILF, and Will & Grace will be battling Black-ish to win best series. In film, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water received seven nominations, with Steven Spielberg’s The Post and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri getting six each.
Last Sunday (Sep 17), Shailene attended the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, where Big Little Lies won several awards, including Best Limited Series. We have uploaded a large batch of photos of Shailene’s appearance at the ceremony to the gallery, so be sure to take a look.
The first reviews for Big Little Lies, which premieres next Sunday, 19th, on HBO, are out. Here’s the one from TVLine.com:
It’s tempting to take one look at the multimillion-dollar homes and luxury cars the characters have in Big Little Lies, and ask: “How can these people have any problems?” But as one character says, “You can’t make a perfect world. No matter what, s—t happens.”
S—t most certainly does happen in the star-studded HBO miniseries (debuting Sunday, Feb. 19 at 9/8c), including a grisly homicide that sends shockwaves through the seaside community of Monterey, California. But the great thing about Big Little Lies is: The murder is almost beside the point. The vicious battle for power and status waged between the Monterey moms is gripping enough, and serves as a showcase for some fantastic female performances.
Monterey is a town of big fake smiles and passive-aggressive politeness, and its filthy-rich moms take the term “helicopter parent” to a whole new level. (As one neighbor puts it, they’re more like “f—king kamikazes.”) That includes Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), a hard-charging “super mom” whose parenting isn’t all that super, and Celeste (Nicole Kidman), whose picture-perfect marriage is developing some cracks around the edges. The sense of place here is excellent, immersing us in a pristine yuppie utopia where these alpha moms rule with an iron fist.
The arrival of Jane (Shailene Woodley), an unpolished single mother with a checkered past, sparks a savage rift between the moms — with their kids getting caught in the crossfire. And we know someone ends up dead, with flash-forwards to a crime scene and nosy neighbors eagerly telling cops all the local gossip they’ve overheard. But the four episodes screened for critics not only don’t reveal the killer; they don’t even reveal who died. And it’s actually a brilliant storytelling choice, because you start to look at everyone as a potential suspect and victim.
Top to bottom, the Big Little Lies cast is stacked. We already know how good Witherspoon is at playing the chipper overachiever (see: Election; Legally Blonde), and she absolutely shines here as Madeline. The brittle vulnerability that Kidman brings to Celeste makes it some of her best work in years. And the deep bench of supporting actors includes Laura Dern as Madeline’s bitter rival Renata, Alexander Skarsgard as Celeste’s protective husband Perry and Adam Scott as Madeline’s “Mr. Sensitive” husband Ed. Everywhere you look, there’s an Emmy nomination waiting to happen.
TV veteran David E. Kelley wrote all seven episodes (based on Liane Moriarty’s bestselling novel), and he clearly knows how to write for women, deftly balancing the comedy of the moms’ bitchy verbal sparring with the drama of the very real problems they’re facing. The direction from Jean-Marc Vallée (Wild) is a bit chilly, clinically viewing the Monterey moms from a safe distance. But that fits the subject matter, as does the series’ washed-out color palette. (It acts like a forgiving Instagram filter, hiding every shameful flaw.) Plus, the fact that one writer and one director handled all seven episodes helps the miniseries feel like it’s all of a piece.
If the story sags at all, it’s when Woodley’s Jane is the focus — only because her dark backstory is so far removed from the rest of the moms, it feels like it’s from a different series altogether. Big Little Lies is at its best when it plunges us into the trenches of the Monterey moms’ social warfare, fought on the battlefields of elementary-school functions and kids’ birthday parties… where words can cut almost as deeply as knives do.