A progressive community unravels in Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere.
Reese Witherspoon and Keri Washington star as the heads of two different families from different backgrounds in the town of Shaker Heights Ohio. The trailer reveals how these lives collide in unexpected ways filled with mystery, tension, and a house fire. Witherspoon plays Helena Richardson, a prominent figure in town with a picture-perfect family. Washington plays an artist who settles into town with her daughter. Their meeting sparks a fire that burns away the facade of the society they live in and we can’t wait to find out more when the show premieres on March 18th on Hulu.
We attended a trailer screening and Q&A with Author Celeste Ng and Liz Tiglelaar. The world of the show feels so current even if it takes places in the 90’s, Ng shared that its story and setting is inspired by her childhood, “This book came about because I actually grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio.” she said, “I’d been away from home for ten years. I’d realized how in many ways it shaped me as a person who thought about class and race who wanted to make the world better but also how weird it was that a city dictated what color your house could be or how tall your grass could be and how many rules there were. It was unique in that it was almost 50/50 black and white. My parents moved there because they’d heard it was racially diverse. It’s a place that wants to talk about race and privilege and yet at the same time they struggle with race and class differences. They are trying to address and realize just like everyone else that they have blind spots. It’s a place that shaped me, I want to be racially conscious but I know I have blind spots too. This book is about recognizing we all have blind spots and we have to listen to people who don’t have those blind spots and try and learn.”
All those themes beat out loud in the trailer which is set to Alanis Morrisette’s jam “You Outta Know” as we see how both families come together and clash as the stakes of their experiences get higher.
Ng’s commentary rings through in Hulu’s take on her book, “I wanted to try and write about that experience. The families in the book came from trying to personify what this community was like.” Ng described how the 90’s felt like the first true progressive era in many places like Shaker Heights but as she went out in the world realized it wasn’t exactly the case, “We thought we had sold racism and sexism. I don’t know why we thought these things now but it was a time period where we thought we had it all together and this great thing called the internet was going to make us all rich with no downsides whatsoever. Much like the Richardson family, particularly Elena Richardson, she thinks that she’s got everything all worked out. And she finds out just like we find out, that’s not the case.”
Showrunner Liz Tiglelaar was super excited to jump on board with Hulu and Ng after reading the book. She talked about working with Witherspoon and Washington, “With Reese and Keri, I did not feel okay until they weighed in on the scripts. When they weighed in, it was with such care and thoughtfulness and questioning and specificity of their own life experience that it just made it a pleasure. When we went to shoot, we knew how excited they were about the material because we got to be in it together.”
Celeste added, “Every time they talked to me it was clear they had such respect and were so thoughtful about the book. The first time I met Reese and met Keri, they came to me and were like I want to talk to you about this book. Reese had all these highlights on her kindle and Keri started talking about growing up in her family. What it’s like to be a black woman going into the arts. I really understand why in the show she’s an artist. Every step they were bringing in that thoughtful, lived-in perspective, I knew that they were going to bring that into every fiber of what they did in this adaptation.”
Watch Little Fires Everywhere March 18th on Hulu!