What it’s really like working with Meryl Streep
She played a witch in Into The Woods - and the men of Big Little Lies fell under Meryl Streep's spell as she took on a new role, that is frighteningly threatening in another way.
The Oscar-winning actress joins the stellar cast of the TV juggernaut's second season as Mary Louise Wright, who comes to Monterey seeking answers over the untimely death of her son, Perry (Alexander Skarsgard).
Adam Scott (Ed Mackenzie), James Tupper (Nathan Carlson), Jeffrey Nordling (Gordon Klein) and newcomer Douglas Smith (Corey Brockfield) today said they were all beyond nervous to work with arguably the world's greatest living actress.
Scott says the male actors in the show are well aware they are the support act in a cast where the women only need to use their first name to be recognised. (He calls the Big Little Lies blokes the "beta males").
However, the reverence was at another level when Streep appeared at the first table read with Nicole Kidman.
"I remember there was a tap on my shoulder and it was Nicole and she was like 'I want you to meet someone'," Scott says.
"So I turn around and see Nicole Kidman and then she backs away and it's Meryl Streep.
"It is like 'Holy sh*t what is happening'.
"I get to meet her and I meet her quickly and she was lovely and she moves on and I am just standing there and Laura Dern walks up to me and she says 'I saw the whole thing, you did fine, you did very well actually'.
"It's that sort of thing where everyone there knows how incredible that special moment is when you get to meet Meryl Streep because we are all actors. She's the best there is, the best there ever was and we get to be on a show with her."
Scott says the women of Big Little Lies have good reason to be wary of Streep's character exposing their secrets as she quickly starts quizzing Celeste (Kidman), Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Jane (Shailene Woodley), Renata (Laura Dern) and Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz) over Perry's death.
"She can smell it. She knows something's not right," he says. "Mary Louise is a very smart person. She is a huge, scary threat for everyone."
Nordling says the hype around Streep is warranted both on and off screen.
"She is also the kindest human being walking the face of the year," he said. "When Meryl had wrapped (filming) and was done she stayed for an hour and a half afterwards and took selfies, listened to stories, signed autographs with anyone who wanted to."
Tupper says he rarely gushes over other actors but that Streep came to set knowing the script better than anyone.
"She came to the read through and everyone else was exploring a little bit with their characters and being like 'OK we're not performing right now, we aren't shooting' and she was like, done. She blew me away and that doesn't come easily with me," he said.
Smith, who joins Big Little Lies as Corey, said he was in awe to meet all the powerhouse women in the cast.
"The hardest thing when you are meeting all these people is you kind of have to act all normal cause they are like 'Hi, nice to meet you, I'm Nicole' and I am like, 'I know your name already but OK'.
"It is kind of odd. You just have to be cool," he said.
Big Little Lies screens on Foxtel from June 10.