Movies

Big Little Lies’ Laura Dern teams up with Elizabeth Debicki for haunting TV movie

There's no better time for The Tale to be told.

The Big Little Lies-shaped hole in our lives is about to be filled by another Laura Dern-led drama, and she's collaborated with another Aussie to do it.

The American star has teamed up with Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby, The Kettering Incident) for a haunting dive into the life of documentary filmmaker Jennifer Fox.

It's a semi-autobiographical film for writer/director Jennifer, who is portrayed by Laura in The Tale.

It details an older Jennifer discovering a short story she wrote about her relationship with her 40-year-old running coach, Bill (Jason Ritter) and her horseback riding instructor Mrs G (Elizabeth Debicki).

The kicker? She was just 13 years old at the time, and believed it to be love.

"[She] faces life-altering questions when a short story she wrote for school at age 13 forces her to re-examine her first sexual relationship — and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive," the HBO press release reads.

Laura (left) and Elizabeth share a disturbing relationship in *The Tale*.
Laura (left) and Elizabeth share a disturbing relationship in The Tale.

In reliving that early time, Jennifer comes to realise it wasn't a relationship but years of grooming and, bluntly, child sex abuse.

"What was so crazy for me was when I read this story I wrote at 13 about the relationship I had with my two coaches, as an adult I saw sexual abuse all over it, and as a child I didn't," Jennifer tells news.com.au.

"I really was describing a relationship and that's the way I remembered it, but the words on paper really shocked me."

The film is set in the 1970s and Jennifer reveals she met with both her abusers when making the movie to try and understand their motivations, but didn't confront them directly.

"It was the love story of the girl, but there's another story, which is horrible abuse, which was never allowed to exist because it would have killed me," Jennifer adds.

The Tale, and Laura Dern's performance, has garnered critical acclaim since its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January. It has since been purchased by HBO and will air in the US on May 26.

The Tale does not yet have an Australian airdate.

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