Big Little Lies Behind-the-Scenes Drama: Was Director Andrea Arnold Sidelined After Filming Wrapped?

Big Little Lies Season 2 Episode 6 Renata Madeline

Forget all the drama of the Monterey school system: HBO’s Big Little Lies has plenty of drama off-camera as well.

According to a bombshell report from our sister site Indiewire, the current Season 2 of the Emmy-winning drama featured a major power struggle behind the scenes, with director Andrea Arnold being pushed out after filming wrapped in favor of Season 1 director and executive producer Jean-Marc Vallée. Arnold’s footage was reshaped by Vallée to more closely match the visual style of Season 1 — despite the fact that Arnold was assured she’d have creative control over the look and feel of Season 2 — and a whopping 17 days of additional shooting were scheduled, with Vallée unofficially taking the reins from Arnold.

The result, as Indiewire terms it, is “slightly disjointed,” with eleven credited editors (!) working in Vallée’s hometown of Montreal to reconcile the two sets of footage, adding more Season 1 flashbacks and chopping down the original 60-plus-page scripts to 40-minute episodes. Arnold is reportedly “heartbroken” by the experience, especially after the cast and EPs — including writer David E. Kelley — were so effusive in their praise of Arnold during production. (Season 2 of Big Little Lies wraps up next Sunday, July 21 at 9/8c on HBO.)

HBO responded to Indiewire’s report with a statement: “There wouldn’t be a Season 2 of Big Little Lies without Andrea Arnold. We at HBO and the producers are extremely proud of her work. As with any television project, the executive producers work collaboratively on the series. and we think the final product speaks for itself.”

Is the off-camera tension on Season 2 of Big Little Lies showing up on screen? Let us know how this season compares to Season 1 so far in the comments.

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