Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere” is based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestselling novel, and a teaser released Friday hints at the questions of class privilege, gender, and race explored by the story — all framed by the arson that gives the book its title. At the TCA 2020 Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, CA, stars and executive producers Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington delved into the process of bringing the acclaimed story to screen.
“We’ve been looking for a project to do with Kerry for a long time,” Witherspoon said. “When I read the book it had so many themes in it that were very complex. … My first instinct is ‘Who is going to show up and do the work?’ Because it’s a lot of work. Everything [Kerry] does she brings a grace to it. She deepens the conversation.”
For her part, Washington appreciated how the tale deals with perception created by the different lenses of experience for American women. “The book steps away from this binary we have of race in this country,” she said. “It’s a lot to unpack. It’s really exciting and fun …all of these issues are presented, but they are embodied in these characters — they’re so real and so rich and we got to dive into that.”
Creator and showrunner Liz Tigelaar (“Casual”) said from the outset she set to staff a writer’s room for the show that include a multitude of perspectives. “The writer’s room is the place I resided the most, and it’s the place I’m most proud of in the show,” she said. “I wanted to assemble a writers room that was a racial landscape that would match that of the book. That was a no-brainer going in. What was amazing about the room, and why it moves me so much, is everybody has multiple connectivity points to the show.”
According to Hulu, the series “follows the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and an enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. The story explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, the ferocious pull of motherhood – and especially the danger in believing that following the rules can avert disaster.”
With Witherspoon and Washington both behind and on the screen, “Little Fires Everywhere” awards season pedigree is apparent, and follows in the footsteps of previous dramatic Hulu Emmy successes like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “The Act.” “Our originals are all about giving TV fans stories that they love,” said Craig Erwich, Senior Vice President, Originals at Hulu, during his executive session at TCA.
“Little Fires Everywhere” premieres on Hulu on March 18. Watch the teaser below.