In a competitive situation, Hulu has landed Little Fires Everywhere, a limited series based on Celeste Ng’s bestselling book, toplined and executive produced by Reese Witherspoon and Scandal star Kerry Washington. The project, which recently hit the marketplace, has received a straight-to-series eight-episode order.
Written by Liz Tigelaar (Casual), the series hails from Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, Washington’s Simpson Street and ABC Signature Studios. Based on the book, Little Fires Everywhere 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 the danger in believing that following the rules can avert disaster.
Witherspoon and Washington will star in the series, with Tigelaar serving as executive producer and showruner. Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter will executive produce for Hello Sunshine, while Washington will executive produce for Simpson Street, and Pilar Savone will oversee the project for the company.
“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,” said Hulu Chief Content Officer Joel Stillerman. “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.”
The book was discovered by Witherspoon and Neustadter prior to its publication. Witherspoon chose the book, which became an instant bestseller, as her September 2017 book club pick. She then brought the book to Washington, and together they approached Tigelaar to adapt and showrun the limited series. The project came together at ABC Signature, the cable/streaming division of ABC Studios where Hello Sunshine has a network-only deal and Simpson Street has an overall deal. Hello Sunshine and ABC Signature will serve as studio co-production partners on the project. This is Hello Sunshine’s first TV effort as a studio.
“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,” said Witherspoon. “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.”
Hello Sunshine has the Emmy-winning Big Little Lies at HBO, which is gearing up for Season 2. At Apple, the company has three series: an untitled morning show drama starring Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, which has a two-season order; a comedy starring Kristen Wiig, which has a straight-to-series order; and Are You Sleeping, co-produced by Chernin Entertainment, which is eyeing a green light.
Meanwhile, Simpson Street was behind the HBO movie Confirmation, which starred Washington. The company also has comedy pilot Man of the House, starring Alyson Hannigan and Leslie Bibb, at ABC and upcoming drama series Five Points on Facebook.
“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,” said Washington. “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.”
Published last year, Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere takes place in Shaker Heights, Ohio where Ng grew up.
“This is another example of an exciting partnership for ABC Signature as we continue to build our production slate in the streaming space,” said Patrick Moran, President, ABC Studios/ABC Signature. “We’re excited to have another project with our friends at Hulu, which is an ideal home for this project.”
At Hulu, ABC Signature also has breakout new series Marvel’s Runaways.
Little Fires Everywhere reunites Tigelaar with Hulu where she recently served as executive producer and showrunner of Casual. It earned Hulu its first Golden Globe nomination. In the limited series space, Hulu aired 11.22.63 and currently has The Looming Tower.
Witherspoon is repped by CAA, LBI and attorney Gretchen Rush. Hello Sunshine is repped by CAA and Gretchen Rush. Washington is repped by CAA, Washington Square Films, and Rush. Ng is represented by UTA and Julie Barer at The Book Group. Tigelaar is repped by UTA and Wendy Kirk at Ziffren, Brittenham.