In a hotly-contested bidding war, Hulu has landed the Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon-fronted limited series, Little Fires Everywhere. The series is an adaptation of Celeste Ng’s book, which both the actresses will produce.
It has received an eight-episode, straight-to-series order at the streamer. The project is from Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, Washington’s Simpson Street and ABC Signature Studios.
The series chronicles 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 the danger in believing that following the rules can avert disaster.
The series is written by Liz Tigelaar, who will be showrunner.
“Celeste wove a beautiful, riveting story that spoke to all of us, and when we heard the vision Reese, Kerry and Liz have for the series, we knew immediately that we had to bring it to Hulu. We’re honored to bring this powerful story to the screen with Hello Sunshine, in their first studio project. This is exactly the type of compelling and culturally relevant content that embodies our Hulu Originals brand,” said Hulu chief content officer Joel Stillerman said in a statement.
Here’s the official description of the book: In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.
“As producers, we at Simpson Street are so proud to be part of this team to tell this extraordinary story inspired by Celeste Ng’s phenomenal novel and we are thrilled to be embarking on this journey with Hulu. As an actress, I am floored to have the opportunity to work alongside Reese Witherspoon exploring the rich themes of this story playing these dynamic characters,” said Washington.
“At Hello Sunshine, we strive to shine a light on female-driven stories that are rooted in inspiration, emotion and truth – all of which form the bedrock of Celeste Ng’s ingenious work. Hulu has a rich history of transforming groundbreaking literature into groundbreaking television, and we are confident that their talented team will use this story to spur a long-overdue dialogue around race, class, and what it means to be a mother. With Kerry Washington, Liz Tigelaar and now Hulu, Hello Sunshine has brought together a dream lineup of creative collaborators, and we are privileged and humbled to have the opportunity to work with them to bring this important project to life,” said Witherspoon.
The book was discovered by Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter prior to its publication. She chose the book as her September 2017 book club pick; it became an instant bestseller and has remained on countless top ten lists since its publication. Witherspoon then brought the book to Kerry Washington, and together they approached Tigelaar to adapt and showrun the limited series. Hello Sunshine and Simpson Street then approached ABC Signature to bring them into the fold, and Hello Sunshine and ABC Signature became studio co-production partners on the project.
Both Washington and Witherspoon are on fire behind and in front of the lens. This is Washington’s first post-Scandal role she has selected. She will wrap up her Emmy-nominated turn as Olivia Pope (the first time a black woman was nominated for lead actress in a drama series in 18 years) on April 19. She is producing a Chicago-set teen drama, Five Points, for Facebook Watch and the ABC comedy pilot, Man of the House.