Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman are hoping their upcoming HBO limited series “Big Little Lies” is one small step toward big changes in Hollywood.
“The real amazing part was really digging deep into the lives of women,” Witherspoon told reporters Saturday during a panel for the show at the Television Critics Association press tour. “It wasn’t about [the characters] being good or bad, [the script] showed every spectrum and every color of women’s lives.”
The two Academy Award winning actresses are executive producers on the new show, alongside Jean-Marc Vallée (“Wild”) and David E. Kelley (“Ally McBeal”) and Bruna Papandrea (“Gone Girl”).
The project, based on the Liane Moriarty novel of the same name, centers on a group of mothers in Monterey, California whose pasts and presents intersect, with a side of murder mystery.
Shailene Woodley and Zoe Kravitz also star.
Kidman said the story was one of “women supporting each other,” which was important to her and Witherspoon as producers.
“I’m passionate [about producing] because things have to change,” Witherspoon said. “We have to start seeing women as they really are on film.”
She added: “We need to see things because we as human beings learn from art and what can you do if you never see it reflected? I feel like women of incredible talent [are constantly] playing wives and girlfriends … I’ve just had enough.”
A 2015 report from USC Annenberg’s Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative found that women played less than a third of speaking roles in the top films from 2007-14.
As a producer, Kidman added, it was a thrill to be able to approach fellow actresses with great, multi-dimensional roles.
“It’s very rare to find five roles in one piece that we’d all jump at the chance to play,” Kidman said.
“Big Little Lies” premieres February 19 on HBO.