THE much-anticipated second season of Big Little Lies just got bigger with Oscar-winner Meryl Streep joining the cast.

Varietyreports that Streep will portray the character of Mary Louise Wright - the mother of Alexander Skarsgard's Perry Wright.

Perry was the abusive husband of Celeste, played by Nicole Kidman.

"Concerned for the wellbeing of her grandchildren following her son Perry's death, Mary Louise arrives in Monterey searching for answers," Hollywood industry publication Variety said, of Streep's character.

Streep was this week nominated for an Oscar for her role in The Post. It was her 21st nod, breaking her own record for the most Academy Award nominations for acting.

Big Little Lies won a string of awards this month, including Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild gongs for Kidman and Skarsgard.

Few details are known about Big Little Lies' second season, so Streep's casting is the biggest indication to date about what it will be about.

Previously, HBO announced that "most" of the cast from season one would return for the seven-episode second season, including Kidman and Witherspoon as executive producers.

The episodes will be written by David E. Kelley - who also penned season one and was an executive producer - and will be based on a story by Australian author Liane Moriarty, who wrote the book Big Little Lies.

The cast will be given massive pay rises, with Kidman and Witherspoon expected to pocket $1.2 million per episode (up from $310,000 and $435,000 per show in the first season).

Zoe Kravitz, who pocketed $470,000 for the first season, will now be paid $3.7 million for her role as hippy mother Bonnie Carlson.

New York Post reported that production on the second season would begin in March, with an air date expected in 2019.


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