what have they done?
July 12, 2019

The making of this season of HBO's Big Little Lies looks to have been just as contentious as anything happening in Monterey.

A new report from IndieWire details behind-the-scenes drama on the hit HBO series, with director Andrea Arnold reportedly having had creative control "yanked away" from her after all of the episodes were shot. Rather than Arnold, it was reportedly Jean-Marc Vallée, who directed every episode of Big Little Lies' first season, who oversaw post-production this season and has shaped the final product.

Arnold, the report says, began working on season two after being promised she'd get to do things her way. Despite this, "it had always been the plan, although unbeknownst to Arnold, for Vallée to become re-involved." Big Little Lies producers, who were concerned about whether season two would feel enough like season one in the hands of a new director, reportedly recruited Arnold because Vallée was busy, but they felt that Vallée could simply take her footage and turn it "into the show's distinctive style in post-production."

Yet no one told Arnold this might happen, and she fully expected she'd be involved during the entire process, the report says. Evidently, no concerns were ever voiced during the shoot that the series wasn't adhering to Vallée's style, either, and Vallée and Arnold never actually spoke, even though he would go on to remove her "signature contributions" in editing.

After the season wrapped, producers also reportedly called for 17 more days of shooting, at which point Vallée became "extremely hands-on" and the story was reworked quite significantly. Edits also reportedly involved chopping down longer episodes into the short 40-minute outings viewers have seen; apparently, far more than that now infamously cut ice cream scene has been getting excised.

HBO in a statement praised Arnold and said it is "extremely proud of her work," but Arnold has reportedly been "heartbroken" by the "devastating" experience. Read the full report at IndieWire. Brendan Morrow

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