Meryl Streep was not the only big addition to the Big Little Lies cast when the prestige drama returned for its second season. Shailene Woodley's character of Jane Chapman has a surprising new look this season, sporting some very hard-to-ignore bands instead of her usual hairstyle. As it turns out, Jane's bangs in Big Little Lies Season 2 were Shailene Woodley's idea, and she explained why Jane needed such a drastic hairstyle change in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
It is impossible to talk about Jane Chapman in the new season of Big Little Lies without bringing up her new blunt bangs. And actually, the idea of Jane's attention-grabbing new hairdo did not come from the writers' room, but from Shailene Woodley herself. The actor shared that she felt Jane would want to make some big change to her appearance after finally confronting and overcoming her rapist, Perry Wright, at the end of Season 1. Woodley even has a whole backstory for how Jane got her bangs, revealing that Jane impulsively cut them herself a couple weeks after Perry's death.
I felt that for Jane, she’s carried this weight of not feeling in her own body because of what happened to her for eight years. She felt disconnected from her own identity on not just an emotional and mental level, but on a physical level as well. At the end of Season 1 when Perry died, I felt like maybe two or three weeks after that incident she would have woken up one morning, looked at herself in the mirror and thought, “This isn’t who I am anymore. This monster is gone and I’m not going to let him live in me or control me any longer.” In that moment, I feel like she took a pair of scissors and cut her bangs herself. And she went through her closet and gathered up almost everything and took it to the nearest clothing swap store and donated it and got new clothes in order to reestablish and be in control of her identity again. I felt like that would have been her reclaiming her space, even if it was a subconscious decision, because this ghost who has been a part of her identity for so long had then left on the physical level.
The hair change also denotes a notable emotional change in Jane in the new season of Big Little Lies. In Season 1, Jane was haunted by the grief and anger of her rape, and although those feelings never go away, she has gotten to experience some lighter moments now that she discovered the truth about Perry and witnessed his death. Now, Jane is dancing on the beach to Sufjan Stevens songs and even opening herself up to dating again.
But sadly, the arrival of Perry's mother Mary Louise is forcing Jane to deal with Perry's assault all over again, as Meryl Streep's intrusive character finds out that Ziggy is her grandson and grossly victim-blames Jane to try to protect her son's memory. If only new bangs could fix every problem in life...
Big Little Lies airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.