David Rubin Interview: ‘Big Little Lies,’ ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ casting director
Although it was certainly a major get, casting director David Rubin reveals it wasn’t difficult convincing Meryl Streep to join the second season of “Big Little Lies.” He says, “She was a huge fan of the original, and also had relationships with a number of the stars of the show.” The Hollywood veteran and Motion Picture Academy President spilled the beans at Gold Derby’s Meet the Experts panel, conducted virtually by managing editor Chris Beachum. Watch our exclusive video interview with Rubin above.
As creator David E. Kelly began mapping out Season 2 of his Emmy-winning series, it became clear that “a towering figure” would be needed to play the mother-in-law of Celeste Wright (Nicole Kidman), who fights for custody of her grandchildren after her son (Alexander Skarsgard) is killed. “Whenever you have a female role that is as towering as that, I can’t imagine that Meryl Streep doesn’t come to mind,” divulges Rubin. “I know it’s unusual for her to be in a series,” but the three-time Oscar winner “is interested in challenging opportunities, and she saw the value in the role.”
This year Rubin was also in charge of casting for “Little Fires Everywhere,” another project featuring “Big Little Lies” star Reese Witherspoon, who is also an executive producer on both shows. “I’m happy to go wherever she goes,” he says, “because she’s enterprising and has fantastic taste in material.”
For that Hulu limited series about warring mothers (Witherspoon and Kerry Washington), Rubin had to not only cast their daughters, but also had to find young actresses to play their characters in flashbacks. “When you’re casting children, time is of the essence,” he explains, “because it’s a numbers game. You have to see a lot of kids to find the ones that really rise to the top.”
Rubin has won twice at the Emmys for “Big Little Lies” and “Game Change.” His other nominations were for “Sharp Objects,” “Political Animals,” “Georgia O’Keeffe,” “Temple Grandin” and “Recount.” Wins with the Casting Society of America have been for “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” “Game Change,” “Recount” and “Fried Green Tomatoes.”