HBO's Big Little Lies was the surprise smash of the season, following a group of women whose children's conflicts echoed some much darker issues under the surface of each family.
The show and its cast received several Emmy nominations — including two pairs of competing nominations for Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon in the Lead Actress in a Limited Series/TV Movie category and Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley in the Supporting Actress slot — so by and large, it was a winning career move for each of these actresses to star in the series.
But according to Naomi Watts, she had the chance to star in one of those roles and passed it up.
The Gypsy star told The Guardian that she'd discussed the series with Kidman, her friend and fellow Australia native, before the show had fully come together, saying "we talked about doing that together — I might have been in it."
Watts didn't specify which of the central roles she might've been up for on the show, but a look at the actresses' behind-the-scenes involvement might narrow down that list pretty easily. Kidman served as an executive producer on the series, and Witherspoon was the one who originally optioned the show for production in the first place. Although Witherspoon has produced projects that she didn't star in (like the big screen adaptation of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl), chances are, her role was secure from the start.
That leaves Dern's character, a mom whose daughter is being systematically assaulted and can't figure out who the young assailant is, along with Woodley's Jane, whose son is being accused of the same. There's also Zoe Kravitz's Bonnie, a yoga junkie who's regarded as "the other woman" who entered into a relationship with Witherspoon's ex shortly enough after/during their demise that their child is the same age as hers. More likely than not, it was Dern's Renata Klein that might've been Watts' for the taking, but that's just speculation.
For what it's worth, Watts doesn't begrudge the ladies who are now receiving so much praise for the show, admitting that she found it to be "so good" even without her.
Big Little Lies is available to stream on HBO. Watts can currently be seen in Netflix's Gypsy and Twin Peaks (Sundays at 9/8c, Showtime).