By Piya Sinha-Roy
May 29, 2019 at 04:24 PM EDT
Jennifer Clasen/HBO (2)
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The first day on a new job can always be a bit daunting, but imagine what it’d be like if that first day involved working alongside the one and only Meryl Streep.

That’s just the fate that befell Reese Witherspoon on the first day back on HBO’s Big Little Lies, where she found herself opposite the three-time Oscar winner. In season 2, Streep plays Mary Louise Wright, the mother-in-law to Nicole Kidman’s Celeste who comes to Monterey, Calif., in search of answers about her son Perry’s death.

“The first day of the second season, I had to work with Meryl Streep — on the first day! — which is so exciting but also completely terrifying, and I think I barely got out words,” Witherspoon said Wednesday on Good Morning America. “She was like, ‘It’s okay.’ I had to literally go into another room and go, ‘Calm down, she’s just a person, she’s just a human being.’”

The self-prescribed pep talk worked, and Witherspoon found Streep to be “so amazing, and she’s so self-effacing and lovely and humble, but you just can’t help but think of every single movie you’ve ever seen her in as you’re staring at her beautiful, gorgeous face.”

Witherspoon was on GMA promoting the new season of Big Little Lies, which picks up a couple of months after the explosive events of the season 1 finale that saw the women in a vicious altercation with Perry (Alexander Skarsgård), resulting in his death. For season 2, Celeste, Madeline (Witherspoon), Jane (Shailene Woodley), Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz), and Renata (Laura Dern) are tied together with the secret they share over Perry’s death as they face a police investigation and the hawk-like eyes of Mary Louise. (See EW’s exclusive first look at the new season here.)

While things get dramatic for the Big Little Lies ladies on screen in the idyllic seaside town, the cast spent quality time together off screen, with dinners after work every night and even a bowling trip.

“[Meryl’s] got a great sense of humor. She loves a dirty joke,” Witherspoon told GMA. She did, however, discover one flaw of Streep’s (we can barely believe it either). “I found the one thing Meryl Streep is not good at — it’s bowling,” Witherspoon said, adding, “but she was darn cute doing it and such a good sport.”

Big Little Lies season 2 comes laden with scandal, secrets, and Streep starting June 9.

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