All the Ways Meryl Streep Changed Her Appearance for ‘Big Little Lies’
When heavyweight actors take on a high-profile role, they seem to stop at nothing to get the character just right. We saw that on full display in Patricia Arquette’s transformation for Escape at Dannemora. Given the awards buzz surrounding that performance, her approach worked.
But there’s no one greater actor than Meryl Streep, and you could argue no better show than Big Little Lies. (Streep herself thought so about the show before joining the cast.) So you probably had a feeling she was going all-in for a part written just for her.
After the first episode, it’s clear Streep wouldn’t let her physical appearance stand in the way of nailing down the character. From her hair to her mouth and glasses she wore, we’re seeing a very different Streep than the one you got to know in, say, The Devil Wears Prada.
Here’s a look at everything Streep changed to get into character as Mary Louise.
Streep’s fake teeth were the work of a company called Fangs FX.
As she settled in to interpret the character who is Perry’s mother, Streep realized she’d want to have some type of physical resemblance. A Big Little Lies producer confirmed she came up with the concept of matching his smile. “It was Meryl’s brilliant idea,” he told Page Six.
To get new teeth made, Streep turned to a company called Fangs FX. Chris Lyons, who runs the company out of England, told Vanity Fair that the Oscar-winning actress first used his services while making The Iron Lady. Lyons spoke of how his company gets excited by a project.
“When you go and see it, all the reports and critics are saying, ‘Is it her teeth? Is it not her teeth?’ That’s what we like,” Lyons said. With their relationship already established, Streep cut out the middlemen and contacted Lyons and Fangs FX directly with her BLL request.
After she made a few more adjustments, Streep was ready to dive into the actual character work.
A wig and a pair of Mary Louise glasses round out Streep’s look.
Once Streep had the dental look appropriate for Perry’s mother, it was time to finish off the character in hair and wardrobe. She may be known in real life for her dirty-blond hair that falls past her shoulders, but that wouldn’t work for Mary Louise.
As fans saw on the first installment of Big Little Lies Season Two, a brown bob that ends just before the shoulders was the replacement. For a finishing touch, Streep ditched her typically stylish frames for a pair of simple wire-rimmed glasses.
Once she had the scarf over her oxford shirt and cardigan sweater, Streep was officially Mary Louise — a woman ready to peck away at the secrets held closely by the ladies of Monterey (including her daughter-in-law Celeste, played by Nicole Kidman).
In Episode One, the majority of Mary Louise’s daggers head in the direction of Reese Witherspoon’s Maggie. Celeste will surely have her turn soon.