Streep joins Big Little Lies cast in role designed for her

HBO has confirmed Meryl Streep will star in the second season of Big Little Lies.

The award-winning actress is set to star alongside Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. She will play a Mary Louise Wright - the mother of Alexander Skarsgard's character Perry Wright - in the world created by Australian author Liane Moriarty.

Hollywood is abuzz after the announcement given Streep, a three-time Oscar winner, rarely makes an appearance on the small screen. She most recently starred in The Post, with roles in the Mary Poppins and Mamma Mia! sequels due out this year.

Moriarty told Fairfax Media she was thrilled Streep had come on board because she wrote the character for her.

"When I was writing the [season two] story, I actually called her Meryl to myself because I was thinking who would be more perfect than Meryl to play Perry's mother?" she said. "Not only is she an incredible actor, but they're quite similar in appearance. But that was my own, secret game.

"I then looked up her [Streep's] middle name to see what it was and I saw her real name is Mary Louise. So that's why I've called her Mary Louise. I said to the producers - not quite believing my own audacity - I have this role and I think Meryl will be really perfect for it. They were teasing me, saying I can't believe how Hollywood you've become."

The Australian novelist said after Christmas she got an email from Kidman teasing some positive news. It read: "Ask and you shall recieve."

The casting announcement comes after the eye-watering cost of making Big Little Lies' second season made headlines.

Kidman, who recently snapped up a Screen Actors Guild Award for playing abused mother Celeste Wright in season one, is expected to earn around $1 million per episode according to The Hollywood Reporter. This is a significant pay rise from season one, which reportedly saw Kidman take home a six-figure sum for each Big Little Lies instalment before its Emmy and Golden Globe successes.

Moriarty also has a message for those who loved her iconic novel and don't want to see a second series of the TV show.

"They can't lose, can they?" she said. "If they don't like season two, they can say they were right. If they love season two, they can just have the joy of watching it. But I have absolute confidence with the cast and the story."

HBO has promised season two will be just as thrilling as the first, teasing the possibility of eroding friendships and loyalties.

Big Little Lies season two is expected to air on HBO in 2019.

This story Streep joins Big Little Lies cast in role designed for her first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.