Why Shailene Woodley Calls 'Big Little Lies' Season 2 a 'Bit of a Wild Card' (Exclusive)

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Shailene Woodley didn't know what she was getting into for season two of Big Little Lies, but the challenge was something she was ready to take on.

"[Season two] was a little bit of a wild card for me, actually," the 27-year-old actress told ET's Lauren Zima at the HBO drama's season two premiere in New York City on Wednesday night. "Season one, we had a book to base the entire season off of. Season two, we had a novella. So it was a little bit different, and we were all trying to figure out our characters as we were going."

"Especially Jane's character, we really wanted to pay homage to what healing can look like post-trauma," she added. "Not to ever take away the experience that she endured, but how does she move forward in a way that provides more lightness to her own path and her journey? That is what felt a little bit like a magic eight ball. I didn't know exactly how it was going to end. But I'm really so happy and so grateful on how everything has unfolded."

Shailene Woodley Big Little Lies Season 2 Premiere
ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

Another major topic on the red carpet was Meryl Streep, who joined the second season as Mary Louise Wright, the mother of Alexander Skarsgård's deceased Perry Wright, and mother-in-law of Nicole Kidman's Celeste Wright.

"Meryl is an incredible human. She's a strong, vulnerable, kind, empathetic, compassionate, generous woman, separate from her just being an actress," Woodley gushed. "And then you talk to her about being an actress, and there is a reason why she's Meryl Streep. ... She really has worked her entire life to perfect her craft. She's a craftswoman, and her skill is to be an actor."

"She immediately disarms you with her generosity and her smile and her warmth," the brunette beauty said of her first time meeting Streep on the set. "You forget that she is the amazing actress that she is, and you just get to know her on a human level. And that really is her super power: being able to just be real in every single moment."

Big Little Lies Season 2 Premiere
Nicholas Hunt/WireImage

Streep couldn't help but also marvel about the female-led cast, telling ET during the red carpet that she joined the show without reading a script. 

"I believe in these girls, and that first season blew me away," Streep shared. "Everything about it: the writing, the depth of the performances, the style, the music, the whole world. And I couldn't wait to see where it was going to go."

Hear more in the video below.

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