'I'm in bliss'

Laura Dern

Laura Dern

Award-festooned actress and producer Laura Dern is in a good place at the moment — unlike cut-throat venture capitalist Renata Klein, whose world is currently unravelling in front of millions of US viewers every Sunday night in the second season of HBO’s Big Little Lies.

“I’m in bliss as an actor,” Dern told the audience at yesterday’s Conde Nast seminar, More Is More: The Future Of Prestige Content In The Streaming Age. “Big Little Lies is the first time since I started acting as an 11-year-old that I’ve been in the company of so many extraordinary women. When I started, the only female crew member on set was the script editor — in those days, even our make-up and hair was done by men. So to be with six deeply flawed, complicated but funny characters is an unbelievable experience. And it’s the first time I’ve been with a cast who are always offering me snacks…”

Dern was sharing the stage with Robert Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment, who is responsible for the overall management of HBO. Quizzed by session moderator Radhika Jones, editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair, as to how the US premium network can increase its output without losing the secret sauce that has made it a byword for quality television, he said: “Shows take time and require the right creative energy and people to come together. In a world that’s demanding more and more volume, that’s a challenge. We’ve had to step up our output but we’ve asked everybody to do it as slowly, carefully and thoughtfully as possible. Volume is both a good thing and a bad thing — it allows you to do more but it can also force you to put things into production sooner than you should.”

Greenblatt also made the point that the world’s insatiable appetite for premium content is benefiting gender equality and diversity: “In terms of how much volume we now have to make for all our services, we couldn’t get by if we continued with the dominant white-male position.”

The excitement generated by the new season of Big Little Lies, which premiered last week on HBO, has also confirmed that appointment TV remains a thing in the age of binge viewing. “I just love appointment TV,” Dern said. “I love to long for something and have that anticipation of where a story’s going next. To me, that’s delicious and exciting.”

Delicious and exciting for the rest of us is that a third series of Big Little Lies is apparently on the cards. You heard it here first.

Harriet Palmer