Reese Witherspoon has an eye for books that would make excellent screen projects. Just in the past five years, the actress has stepped behind the scenes to adapt multiple novels into successful films and television shows through her production company Hello Sunshine; Witherspoon’s production includes Gone Girl, Lucy in the Sky, Big Little Lies, and the Apple TV+ original series The Morning Show. Now, she’s bringing the beloved characters in Celeste Ng’s best-selling novel Little Fires Everywhere to life.
In the upcoming limited series of the same name, drama erupts in the small town of Shaker Heights, Ohio when Mia Warren (Kerry Washington) and her teenage daughter Pearl (Lexi Underwood) rent out space in the home of the affluent Richardson family. Matriarch and picture-perfect homemaker (Witherspoon) Elena doesn't get along well with her new tenant — the women are as different as day and night in almost every way — and as their lives become inextricably intertwined, Elena and Mia's minor discomfort develops into a raging firestorm.
Little Fires Everywhere is Washington's latest television role following her successful arc as D.C. gladiator Olivia Pope on Shonda Rhimes' steamy political drama Scandal. Washington first learned of the story when Witherspoon brought it to her attention, and together, the friends and collaborators pored over Ng's text to embody the quiet tension of Shaker Heights.
"This might sound so basic, but [Reese and Kerry are] both readers,” said Beatrice Springborn, the vice president of content development at Hulu in conversation with Variety. “To be able to talk about character and theme and text in a sophisticated, sharp, heightened way is rare. And in the case of this book, when you’re dealing with so many different layers of thematic and generational stories, it’s really important to have people who know the material — which doesn’t always happen.”
Just as Ng did in the 2017 novel, the mini-series promises to explore the unexpected danger of keeping secrets as well as what happens when class, race, and gender intersect in a world that "doesn't see colour."
Little Fires Everywhere airs in the US on 18th March with a UK broadcaster yet to be announced