Why Reese Witherspoon’s Little Fires Everywhere looks set to be the next Big Littles Lies

A bestselling book about an adoption case that divides a town is Reese Witherspoon's next big project for Hulu

Are we heading to a point where all the best TV will be made by Reese Witherspoon? Among the 30-something projects Witherspoon has on the boil with her production company Hello Sunshine is a comedy series starring Kristen Wiig, Jennifer Aniston’s first return to the small screen since Friends (NO BIGGIE) and of course a Meryl Streep-ed second round of Big Little Lies. The latest on Witherspoon’s exhaustive list? An adaptation of Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere.

Witherspoon announced earlier this month that she’d teamed up with Kerry Washington to adapt the bestselling book. Now, after a very fierce bidding war, Hulu has won the rights to broadcast.

But what’s it all about and why should we be excited?

What is Little Fires Everywhere By Celeste Ng about? (Without giving too much away)

Little Fires Everywhere Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng (surname pronounced ‘ing’)’s bestseller is set in the late 90s in an Ohio town called Shaker Heights, one of America’s first pre-planned communities – think neatly trimmed Desperate Housewives lawns and colonial architecture.

The action of the story centres on two families: the Richardsons, with their four children and large house, and artist Mia Warren and her daughter Pearl, tenants living in Mrs Richardson’s flat.

Much like Ng’s previous book, Everything I Never Told You, the book opens with a catastrophic event, a huge fire that that destroys the Richardson house. We then jump back to a year earlier to find out what’s happened.

Without giving too much away, part of the action involves a pretty sticky adoption case that divides the whole town.

Should we read Little Fires Everywhere before the series comes out?

It’s a seriously good book, so we’d say definitely do. Reese originally featured the novel in her Reese Witherspoon X Hello Sunshine book club (though how she has any actual time to read is beyond us).

What are the parallels with Big Little Lies?

Their coincidentally similar titles aside, Little Fires Everywhere taps into many of the themes which inspired Witherspoon to adapt Big Little Lies. Namely, a network of interesting female characters, an in-depth exploration of motherhood and the nuances of female friendship.

There’s also the whole outwardly-idyllic-but-with-growing-tensions-below-the-surface setting.

Though it must be said, Little Fires Everywhere is also very much its own beast, with a brilliant tangle of characters and plenty of 90s context – the action is set in the same year the Lewinsky/Clinton scandal broke.

What else should we know?

Another sign this will be a goodie: Witherspoon has teamed up with Kerry Washington to make the show, expanding her professional network of powerhouse Hollywood women. ‘I can’t wait to finally collaborate with one of my favourite actresses’ Reese said in an Instagram post on 2nd March.

With backing from Hulu, the two will now no doubt be beavering away with casting and pre-production decisions before the show can begin shooting. Expect a pretty punchy cast.

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