Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington on Going ‘Toe-to-Toe’ in ‘Little Fires Everywhere’
In Little Fires Everywhere, series stars Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon play two strong-willed women and mothers, who come from vastly different backgrounds and social spheres, and whose lives become inexorably intertwined through a web of deceit, secrets and self-deception.
While their roles called for a few scenes of heated confrontation, both stars seemed to enjoy the experience of facing off against one another on screen. ET’s Kevin Frazier sat down with the pair during a junket for the Hulu drama, and they opened up about shooting some of their more intense showdowns.
“It was so much fun,” Washington recalled excitedly. “I felt a little nervous when we did it because I felt the pressure. Because people were crowding around the monitor like it was a major fight. Like it was Vegas.”
“Once we got started it felt so good to be in a scene with a scene partner who is so talented and adept and courageous in the work,” Washington added. “I mean she’s a phenom so it was really fun.”
Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere is a tale of intrigue and domestic strife, and both Washington and Witherspoon’s characters find themselves in direct conflict — with neither willing to concede ground and both strengthened by their staunchly held belief in their moral integrity.
“I feel like it was such a good [dynamic] cause it was such an equal match,” Witherspoon shared. “We really went toe-to-toe and we both had these fierce ideologies that our characters were so really dug in about.”
“We were really invested,” Washington added.
The pair explained how they also shot some of their biggest face-offs in “a couple different ways,” so they could figure out the best way to heighten the moment in post-production.
“We knew that when we got into the edit room, we were gonna want to have options,” Washington explained. “So finding where we could find options and play, but still feel true to our character, was really fun.”
More than just starring in Little Fires Everywhere, Washington and Witherspoon both served as executive producers on the series, and Witherspoon explained what it was like shepherding the series from start to finish.
“It’s a completely different set of responsibilities,” Witherspoon said. “We both share a lot of tips and we try to really encourage each other as business women and producers, so it was incredible to be able to partner with Kerry and her team to bring this to screen.”
While the stars are looking forward to the series’ upcoming release, concerns over the growing coronavirus outbreak led to the cancellation of the planned premiere event, which was originally slated for Thursday night.
Witherspooon took to Instagram last week and admitted that she was feeling “overwhelmed” by all the disasters — including the global COVID-19 outbreak, as well as the devastating tornadoes that ripped through Tennessee earlier this month.
With all the production shut-downs, outbreak developments and the spread of the virus, Witherspoon admitted to ET she feels “completely stressed and worried, just [like] everybobdy else out there.”
“I think we share that,” she said of her co-star. “We both have little children and we both have eldery parents.”
“It’s a time where we all have to strike a tricky balance between making sure that we stay informed and are getting the facts — so that we can make decisions to help take care of ourselves and the people around us — and also try not to panic,” Washington shared. “Especially at this time. Elevated levels of stress impact our immune systems, so [a] level of self-care and calm is important.”
While the premiere event may have been cancelled, Little Fires Everywhere debuts March 18 on Hulu.