This post contains spoilers for Big Little Lies Season 2.
In Season 2, Episode 2 of Big Little Lies, Ziggy (Iain Armitage) discovers the truth about his father. Its a sneak twist in the episode, whih comes after Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) realizes that her daughter Chloe has overheard her talking about Ziggys parentage on the phone. Chloe then blabbed the secret to some of her classmates—Ziggy included.
When Jane (Shailene Woodley) finds this out, she gently confronts Ziggy, crying and embracing her son as she tells him the truth about everything. Its the most emotional, tender scene in the episode, one that Big Little Lies stars Witherspoon and Meryl Streep teased at a pre-season event at the Wing in New York City. “Shailene is just a miracle in this,” Streep gushed as Witherspoon clutched her heart in agreement.
For Woodley, it was the ultimate praise: “It feels really good, I cant hide behind it,” she said, laughing, in a recent phone interview. “I cant lie—it fills me with warmth.”
The scene is a standout moment for Jane, one that sees her break down almost instantly. In order to amp herself for that performance, Woodley didnt do much preparation. Instead, she opened herself up and waited to see which emotions rushed out.
“Intense scenes like that, those are the scenes I prepare the least for,” Woodley said. “I really just go into it with my lines memorized. Sometimes I memorize lines for scenes the morning of, so its fresh in my brain, and then I just immediately surrender to what can happen. A script can tell you all day long to cry . . . [but] to be honest, I didnt know I was going to be that emotional until I walked into that room and saw Iains face.”
Though the source material was extremely sensitive—a rape survivor telling her son, a product of that assault, the truth about his father—Woodley opted not to consult outside experts, because she felt that would be truer to what Jane would do in her own life. “She very much, I think, feels alone in her cause and feels she can do it better” than any of the other parents in her friendship circle, Woodley said. “For me in that scene, it really was, how do you allow yourself to be in complete shock and be an adult in a situation where you yourself feel like a vulnerable child?”
If Woodley had wanted to consult anyone, she could have made a quick phone call to one person in particular: her own mother, Lori, an actual counselor. “She literally teaches how to be a parent for a living,” the actor said. Meanwhile Armitage, who is 10, was prepped by his own mother, Lee—whom Woodley praised for being extremely communicative and for keeping the child actor, a TV star in his own right thanks to Young Sheldon, grounded.
Despite this heavy moment, Jane also gets a fresh start this season. Shes now happily working at the Monterey Aquarium and sporting sharp new bangs, a choice Woodley made for the character after the traumatizing events of Season 1. “That was Jane going, I do not identify with who Ive been for the last eight years of my life, and Im now claiming a new space of my identity, the way I choose to look and the way I choose to be,” she said.
The first episode of Season 2 also saw her dreamily dance on the beach to Sufjan Stevens “Mystery of Love,” from the Call Me By Your Name soundtrack—a choice that drew attention on social media. On the day that scene was filmed, Woodley was actually dancing to a completely different song. “Had it been the song I danced to on the day, I would have danced totally differently,” she said. But for the actor, who didnt see the episode until it premiered (she has decided to watch each episode week by week, just like the fans), it was a pleasant surprise; shes a “huge Call Me By Your Name fan, huge! That scene between the dad and the son at the very end, ugh! Its one of the most iconic, beautiful scenes in cinema history.”
Despite the occasional surprise, like that music change, Woodley said this season has been more collaborative than Season 1 since its not based on a published book. (Original Big Little Lies author Liane Moriarty plotted out this season as well, whipping up a novella expressly for series creator and writer David E. Kelley.)
Woodley also gives credit to director Andrea Arnold for the seasons collaborative feel. “Andrea always lets you do the first take how you want to do it,” Woodley said.
Typically, the director also says “Off you go” rather than “Action.” But for the reveal scene in Episode 2, she didnt even say that much, instead just quietly getting the cameras rolling as Woodley settled into character and launched into the scene, which they completed in three or four takes. It didnt take long for the actor realize her performance was having the desired effect.
“Andreas so present in her own emotion that if she's genuinely really touched by something, shell start sobbing on set and that was one of those days,” Woodley said. “Ill never forget. She wRead More – Source